Soissons

Last updated

Soissons
Soissons-hotel-de-ville.jpg
Soissons hôtel de ville (city hall)
Blason ville fr Soissons (Aisne).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Soissons
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Soissons
Hauts-de-France region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Soissons
Coordinates: 49°22′54″N3°19′25″E / 49.3817°N 3.3236°E / 49.3817; 3.3236 Coordinates: 49°22′54″N3°19′25″E / 49.3817°N 3.3236°E / 49.3817; 3.3236
Country France
Region Hauts-de-France
Department Aisne
Arrondissement Soissons
Canton Soissons-1 and 2
Intercommunality Soissonnais
Government
  Mayor (2014-present) Alain Cremont
Area
1
12.32 km2 (4.76 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01)2 [1]
29,417
  Density2,400/km2 (6,200/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
02722 /02200
Elevation38–130 m (125–427 ft)
(avg. 55 m or 180 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting : residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Soissons (French pronunciation:  [swasɔ̃] ) is a commune in the northern French department of Aisne, in the region of Hauts-de-France. Located on the Aisne River, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of Paris, it is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones. Soissons is also the see of an ancient Roman Catholic diocese, whose establishment dates from about 300, and it was the location of a number of church synods called "Council of Soissons".

The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.

In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.

Aisne Department of France

Aisne is a French department in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. It is named after the river Aisne.

Contents

History

Soissons enters written history under its Celtic name (as later borrowed in Latin), Noviodunum, meaning "new hillfort". At Roman contact, it was a town of the Suessiones, mentioned by Julius Caesar (B. G. ii. 12). Caesar (B.C. 57), after leaving the Axona (modern Aisne), entered the territory of the Suessiones, and making one day's long march, reached Noviodunum, which was surrounded by a high wall and a broad ditch. The place surrendered to Caesar.

Recorded history historical narrative based on a written record or other documented communication

Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative based on a written record or other documented communication. It contrasts with other narratives of the past, such as mythological, oral or archeological traditions. For broader world history, recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world around the 4th millennium BC, and coincides with the invention of writing. For some geographic regions or cultures, written history is limited to a relatively recent period in human history because of the limited use of written records. Moreover, human cultures do not always record all of the information relevant to later historians, such as the full impact of natural disasters or the names of individuals. Recorded history for particular types of information is therefore limited based on the types of records kept. Because of this, recorded history in different contexts may refer to different periods of time depending on the topic.

Celtic languages Language family

The Celtic languages are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used to describe this language group by Edward Lhuyd in 1707, following Paul-Yves Pezron, who made the explicit link between the Celts described by classical writers and the Welsh and Breton languages.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

From 457 to 486, under Aegidius and his son Syagrius, Noviodunum was the capital of the Kingdom of Soissons, [2] until it fell to the Frankish king Clovis I in 486 after the Battle of Soissons.

Aegidius was ruler of the short-lived Kingdom of Soissons from 461–464/465 AD. Before his ascension, he became magister militum per Gallias serving under Aetius, in 458 AD. An ardent supporter of Majorian, Aegidius rebelled against Ricimer when he assassinated Majorian and replaced him with Libius Severus; Aegidius may have pledged his allegiance to Leo I, the Eastern Roman Emperor. Aegidius repeatedly threatened to invade Italy and dethrone Libius Severus, but never actually launched such an invasion; historians have suggested he was unwilling to launch an invasion due to the pressure of the Visigoths, or else because it would leave Gaul exposed. Aegidius launched several campaigns against the Visigoths and the Burgundians, recapturing Lyons from the Burgundians in 458, and routing the Visigoths at the Battle of Orleans. He died suddenly after a major victory against the Visigoths; ancient historians say that he was assassinated, but do not give the name of the assassin, whereas modern historians believe it is possible that he died a natural death. After his death he was succeeded by his son Syagrius, who would be the second and last ruler of the Kingdom of Soissons.

Syagrius Ancient Roman general

Syagrius was the last Gallic military commander of a Roman rump state in northern Gaul, now called the Kingdom of Soissons. Gregory of Tours referred to him as King of the Romans. Syagrius's defeat by king Clovis I of the Franks is considered the end of Western Roman rule outside of Italy. He inherited his position from his father, Aegidius, the last Roman magister militum per Gallias. Syagrius preserved his father's territory between the Somme and the Loire around Soissons after the collapse of central rule in the Western Empire, a domain Gregory of Tours called the "Kingdom" of Soissons. Syagrius governed this Gallo-Roman enclave from the death of his father in 464 until 486, when he was defeated in battle by Clovis I.

Noviodunum is a name of Celtic origin, meaning "new fort": It comes from nowyo, Celtic for "new", and dun, the Celtic for "hillfort" or "fortified settlement", cognate of English town.

Part of the Frankish territory of Neustria, the Soissons region, and the Abbey of Saint-Médard, founded in the 6th century, played an important political part during the rule of the Merovingian kings (A.D. 447–751). After the death of Clovis I in 511, Soissons was made the capital of one of the four kingdoms into which his states were divided. Eventually, the kingdom of Soissons disappeared in 613 when the Frankish lands were amalgamated under Chlothar II.

Neustria western part of the kingdom of the Franks

Neustria, or Neustrasia, was the western part of the Kingdom of the Franks.

The Abbey of Saint-Médard de Soissons was a Benedictine monastery, at one time held to be the greatest in France.

Clovis I first king of the Franks (c. 466–511)

Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.

The 744 Council of Soissons met at the instigation of Pepin the Short and Saint Boniface, the Pope's missionary to pagan Germany, secured the condemnation of the Frankish bishop Adalbert and the Irish missionary Clement. [3]

There have been several church synods called Councils of Soissons:

Pepin the Short King of the Franks

Pepin the Short was the King of the Franks from 751 until his death. He was the first of the Carolingians to become king.

Saint Boniface 8th-century Anglo-Saxon missionary and saint

Saint Boniface, born Winfrid in the Devon town of Crediton, England, was a leading figure in the Anglo-Saxon mission to the Germanic parts of the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He organised significant foundations of the Catholic Church in Germany and was made archbishop of Mainz by Pope Gregory III. He was martyred in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others, and his remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Boniface's life and death as well as his work became widely known, there being a wealth of material available—a number of vitae, especially the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, legal documents, possibly some sermons, and above all his correspondence. He became the patron saint of Germania, known as the "Apostle of the Germans".

During the Hundred Years' War, French forces committed a notorious massacre of English archers stationed at the town's garrison, in which many of the French townsfolk were themselves raped and killed. [4] The massacre of French citizens by French soldiers shocked Europe; Henry V of England, noting that the town of Soissons was dedicated to the saints Crispin and Crispinian, claimed to avenge the honour of the saints when he met the French forces at the Battle of Agincourt on Saint Crispin's Day 1415.

Between June 1728 and July 1729 it hosted the Congress of Soissons an attempt to resolve a long-standing series of disputes between the Kingdom of Great Britain and Spain which had spilled over into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727–1729. The Congress was largely successful and led to the signing of a peace treaty between them.

During World War I, the city came under heavy bombardment. There was mutiny after the disastrous Chemin des Dames offensive at the Second Battle of the Aisne. A statue erected with images of French soldiers killed in action in 1917 is behind the St Peter's Church, next to the Soissons Courthouse.

Panorama of Soissons in ruins in 1919 Soissons, France, 1919 panorama.jpg
Panorama of Soissons in ruins in 1919

On 16 June 1972, 108 passengers were killed when two passenger trains hit the debris of a collapsed tunnel.

The town was on the main path of totality for the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999.

Population

Historical population
YearPop.±%
17937,675    
18007,229−5.8%
18068,126+12.4%
18217,765−4.4%
18318,149+4.9%
18368,424+3.4%
18419,152+8.6%
184610,143+10.8%
18519,477−6.6%
18567,875−16.9%
186110,208+29.6%
186611,099+8.7%
187210,404−6.3%
187611,089+6.6%
188111,112+0.2%
188611,850+6.6%
189112,074+1.9%
189612,373+2.5%
190113,240+7.0%
190614,334+8.3%
191114,458+0.9%
192114,391−0.5%
192617,865+24.1%
193118,705+4.7%
193620,090+7.4%
194618,174−9.5%
195420,484+12.7%
196223,150+13.0%
196825,890+11.8%
197530,009+15.9%
198230,213+0.7%
199029,829−1.3%
199929,439−1.3%
200828,523−3.1%
201228,309−0.8%

Sights

Today, Soissons is a commercial and manufacturing centre with the 12th century Soissons Cathedral and the ruins of St. Jean des Vignes Abbey as two of its most important historical buildings. The nearby Espace Pierres Folles contains a museum, geological trail, and botanical garden.

Landmarks

Cathedral

Panoramic view of the Cathedral Soissons-cathedrale-pano.jpg
Panoramic view of the Cathedral
The ruins of the Abbey of St Jean des Vignes. Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes 2, Soissons, Picardy, France - Diliff.jpg
The ruins of the Abbey of St Jean des Vignes.

The Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais de Soissons is constructed in the style of Gothic architecture. The building of the south transept was begun about 1177, and the lowest courses of the choir in 1182. The choir with its original three-storey elevation and extremely tall clerestory was completed in 1211. This was earlier than Chartres, on which the design was supposed to have been based. Work then continued into the nave until the late 13th century. [5]

Abbey of Notre Dame

The former abbey of Notre Dame, former royal abbey, founded in the Merovingian era, famous for its rich treasure of relics, including the "shoe of the Virgin." The abbey was prestigious abbesses like Gisèle, sister of Charlemagne, or Catherine de Bourbon, aunt of Henry IV.

Saint-Médard Abbey

The Saint-Médard Abbey was a Benedictine monastery of Soissons whose foundation went back to the sixth century. Today, only the crypt remains.

Hôtel de ville

Since 1833 the city hall has been housed in a chateau built by architect Jean-François Advyné between 1772 and 1775 at the request of the Intendant Pelletier Mortefontaine on the site of a previous one belonging to the counts of Soissons.

Arsenal: contemporary art exhibitions. UK Monument (1914–1918)

La passerelle des Anglais Bridge

The Gateway Anglais Bridge is a concrete casson built cantilevered from an abutment against-weight with an isostatic central beam of 20.50 m in length. The floor has a width of 3.50 m between railings. The original bridge was destroyed in 1914. It was rebuilt by British soldiers, and logically took the name of the English bridge. Again destroyed during World War II, the bridge was rebuilt in 1950 as a footbridge. The covered market, built in 1908 by architect Albert-Désiré Guilbert (1866–1949).

Personalities

See also

Related Research Articles

Merovingian dynasty dynasty

The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulish Romans under their rule. They conquered most of Gaul, defeating the Visigoths (507) and the Burgundians (534), and also extended their rule into Raetia (537). In Germania, the Alemanni, Bavarii and Saxons accepted their lordship. The Merovingian realm was the largest and most powerful of the states of western Europe following the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Clotilde saint and second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I

Saint Clotilde, also known as Clothilde, Clotilda, Clotild, Rotilde etc., a princess of the kingdom of Burgundy, supposedly descended from the Gothic king Aþana-reiks, became in 492 the second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I (r. 481–509. The Merovingian dynasty to which her husband belonged ruled Frankish kingdoms for over 200 years . Venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church as well as by the Eastern Orthodox Church, she played a role in her husband's famous conversion to Christianity and, in her later years, became known for her almsgiving and penitential works of mercy. She is credited with spreading Christianity within western Europe.

Austrasia

Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian Kingdom of the Franks during the 6th to 8th centuries. It was centred on the Meuse, Middle Rhine and the Moselle rivers, and was the original territory of the Franks, including both the so-called Salians and Rhineland Franks, which Clovis I conquered after first taking control of the bordering part of Roman Gaul, now northern France, which is sometimes described in this period as Neustria.

Chlothar II King of Neustria

Chlothar II, called the Great or the Young, was King of Neustria and King of the Franks, and the son of Chilperic I and his third wife, Fredegund. He started his reign as an infant under the regency of his mother, who was in an uneasy alliance with Clothar's uncle Guntram, King of Burgundy. Clothar assumed full power over Neustria upon the death of his mother, in 597; though rich this was one of the smallest portions of Francia. He continued his mother's feud with Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia with equal viciousness and bloodshed, finally achieving her execution in an especially brutal manner in 613, after winning the battle that enabled Chlothar to unite Francia under his rule. Like his father, he built up his territories by moving in after the deaths of other kings.

Chlothar I King of the Franks

Chlothar I, was a king of the Franks of the Merovingian dynasty and one of the four sons of Clovis I.

Francia territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks, or Frankish Empire was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. It is the predecessor of the modern states of France and Germany. After the Treaty of Verdun in 843, West Francia became the predecessor of France, and East Francia became that of Germany. Francia was among the last surviving Germanic kingdoms from the Migration Period era before its partition in 843.

Abbécourt Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Abbécourt is a French commune in the Aisne department in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France.

Gallia Belgica Roman province

Gallia Belgica was a province of the Roman empire located in the north-eastern part of Roman Gaul, in what is today primarily France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, along with parts of the Netherlands and Germany.

Suessiones

The Suessiones were a Belgic tribe of western Gallia Belgica in the 1st century BC, inhabiting the region between the Oise and the Marne, around the present-day city of Soissons. They were conquered in 57 BC by Julius Caesar.

Crispin and Crispinian 3rd-century Christian martyrs and saints

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the Christian patron saints of cobblers, curriers, tanners, and leather workers. They were beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; the date of their execution is given as 25 October 285 or 286.

Kingdom of Soissons former country

In historiography, the Kingdom or Domain of Soissons refers to a rump state of the Western Roman Empire in northern Gaul, between the Somme and the Seine, that lasted for some twenty-five years during Late Antiquity. The rulers of the rump state, notably its final ruler Syagrius, were referred to as "Kings of the Romans" by the Germanic peoples surrounding Soissons, with the polity itself being identified as the Regnum Romanorum, "Kingdom of the Romans", by the Gallo-Roman historian Gregory of Tours. Whether this title was used by Syagrius himself, who claimed to be governing a Roman province and not a state independent from central imperial authority, or was applied to him by the barbarians surrounding his realm in a similar way to how they referred to their own leaders as kings is unknown.

Franks people

The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with later Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.

Medardus Bishop of Vermandois

Saint Medardus or St Medard (456–545) was the Bishop of Vermandois who removed the seat of the diocese to Noyon.

Vedast Frankish bishop and saint

Vedast or Vedastus, also known as Saint Vaast or Saint Waast, Saint Gaston in French, and Foster in English was an early bishop in the Frankish realm.

Saint Crispins Day

Saint Crispin's Day falls on 25 October and is the feast day of the Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian, twins who were martyred c. 286.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Soissons diocese of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Soissons, Laon, and Saint-Quentin is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Reims and corresponds, with the exception of two hamlets, to the entire Department of Aisne. The current bishop is Renauld Marie François Dupont de Dinechin, appointed on 30 October 2015. In the Diocese of Soissons there is one priest for every 4,648 Catholics.

Acy, Aisne Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Acy is a French commune in the department of Aisne in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France.

References

  1. "Populations légales 2016". INSEE . Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Soissons"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 352.
  3. Dierkens, Alain (1984). "Superstitions, christianisme et paganisma à la fin de l'epoque mérovingienne: A propos de l'Indiculus superstitionem et paganiarum". In Hervé Hasquin (ed.). Magie, sorcellerie, parapsychologie. Brussels: Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles. pp. 9–26.
  4. "At Agincourt : Chapter XIX. Agincourt by G. A. Henty @ Classic Reader". classicreader.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  5. John James, The Template-makers of the Paris Basin, Leura, 1989.