Chariot ruts in the Via Domitia
|Location||Briançon, France to La Junquera, Spain|
|Builder||Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus|
The Via Domitia was the first Roman road built in Gaul, to link Italy and Hispania through Gallia Narbonensis, across what is now southern France. The route that the Romans regularised and paved was ancient when they set out to survey it, so old that it traces the mythic route travelled by Heracles.
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age that was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, Netherlands, and Germany, particularly the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in Southern Europe, and it is sometimes considered as part of Western Europe. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.
Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces. Under the Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispania Ulterior was divided into two new provinces, Baetica and Lusitania, while Hispania Citerior was renamed Hispania Tarraconensis. Subsequently, the western part of Tarraconensis was split off, first as Hispania Nova, later renamed "Callaecia". From Diocletian's Tetrarchy onwards, the south of remaining Tarraconensis was again split off as Carthaginensis, and probably then too the Balearic Islands and all the resulting provinces formed one civil diocese under the vicarius for the Hispaniae. The name Hispania was also used in the period of Visigothic rule.
The construction of the road was commissioned by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, whose name it bore, following the defeat of the Allobroges and Averni by himself and Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus. Gnaeus Domitius also established a fortified garrison at Narbo (modern Narbonne) on the coast, near Hispania, to guard its construction. It soon developed into a full Roman colony Colonia Narbo Martius.The lands on the western part of the route, beyond the River Rhône had been under the control of the Averni who, according to Strabo, had stretched their control to Narbo and the Pyrenees.
Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus was consul of Rome in 122 BC. He was the son of the Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus who was consul in 162 BC.
The Allobroges were a Gallic tribe of ancient Gaul, located between the Rhône River and Lake Geneva in what later became Savoy, Dauphiné, and Vivarais. Their cities were in the areas of modern-day Annecy, Chambéry and Grenoble, the modern departement of Isère, and modern Switzerland. Their capital was today's Vienne.
Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus, was a Roman statesman and general who was elected consul in 121 BC.
The Via Domitia connected Italy to Hispania. Crossing the Alps by the easiest passage, the Col de Montgenèvre (1850 m), it followed the valley of the Durance, crossed the Rhône at Beaucaire passed through Nîmes (Nemausus) then followed the coastal plain along the Gulf of Lion. At Narbonne, it met the Via Aquitania (which led toward the Atlantic Ocean through Toulouse and Bordeaux). Thus Narbonne was a crucial strategic crossroads of the Via Domitia and the Via Aquitania, and it was an accessible, but well-defensible, port at that time. This "cusp point" in the Roman westwards expansion and ensuing supply, communication and fortification was a very important asset, and was treated as such (see Narbonne). In between the cities that it linked, the Via Domitia was provided with a series of mansiones at distances of a day's journey for a loaded cart, at which shelter, provender and fresh horses could be obtained for travellers on official business.
The Col de Montgenèvre is a high mountain pass in the Cottian Alps, in France 2 kilometres away from Italy.
The Durance is a major river in south-eastern France.
The Rhône is one of the major rivers of Europe and has twice the average discharge of the Loire, rising in the Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the far eastern end of the Swiss canton of Valais, passing through Lake Geneva and running through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhône and the Little Rhône. The resulting delta constitutes the Camargue region.
The route as it was in Late Antiquity is represented in schematic fashion on the Tabula Peutingeriana .
Tabula Peutingeriana, also referred to as Peutinger's Tabula or Peutinger Table, is an illustrated itinerarium showing the layout of the cursus publicus, the road network of the Roman Empire.
This route can be traced on topographical maps overprinted with the ancient route, in G. Castellve, J.-B. Compsa, J. Kotarba and A. Pezin, eds. Voies romaines du Rhône à l'Èbre: Via Domitia et Via Augusta (DAF61) Paris 1997.
Briançon is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.
Chorges is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France.
Gap is a commune in southeastern France, the capital and largest town of the Hautes-Alpes department. At a height of 750 m above sea level, it is France's highest prefecture.
At Ruscino, the road separates in two: the Inland Route and the Coastal Route, which rejoin at La Junquera.
Here the Via Augusta begins.
There are the remains of several Roman bridges along the road, including the Roman Bridge of Saint-Thibéry, the Pont Ambroix at Ambrussum, the Pont Julien and the Pont Serme.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Via Domitia .|
AD 40 (XL) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus without colleague. The denomination AD 40 for this year has been used since the Early Middle Ages, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
This article concerns the period 19 BC – 10 BC.
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Occitanie region. It lies 849 km (528 mi) from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. It is located about 15 km (9 mi) from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and was historically a prosperous port, but declined from the 14th century following a change in the course of the Aude River. It is marginally the largest commune in Aude, although the prefecture is the slightly smaller commune of Carcassonne.
Beaucaire is a French commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France.
Gallia Aquitania, also known as Aquitaine or Aquitaine Gaul, was a province of the Roman Empire. It lies in present-day southwest France, where it gives its name to the modern region of Aquitaine. It was bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis, and Hispania Tarraconensis.
Ambrussum is a Roman archaeological site in Villetelle, Hérault département, in southern France.
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Provincia Nostra, from its having been the first Roman province north of the Alps, and as Gallia Transalpina, distinguishing it from Cisalpine Gaul in northern Italy. It became a Roman province in the late 2nd century BC. Its boundaries were roughly defined by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Cévennes and Alps to the west and north. The western region of Gallia Narbonensis was known as Septimania.
The Via Aquitania was a Roman road created in 118 BC in the Roman province of Gaul. It started at Narbonne, where it connected to the Via Domitia. It then went toward the Atlantic Ocean, via Toulouse and Bordeaux, covering approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi).
The Volcae were a tribal confederation constituted before the raid of combined Gauls that invaded Macedonia c. 270 BC and fought the assembled Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae in 279 BC. Tribes known by the name Volcae were found simultaneously in southern Gaul, Moravia, the Ebro valley of the Iberian Peninsula, and Galatia in Anatolia. The Volcae appear to have been part of the late La Tène material culture, and a Celtic identity has been attributed to the Volcae, based on mentions in Greek and Latin sources as well as onomastic evidence. Driven by highly mobile groups operating outside the tribal system and comprising diverse elements, the Volcae were one of the new ethnic entities formed during the Celtic military expansion at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Collecting in the famous excursion into the Balkans, ostensibly, from the Hellene point of view, to raid Delphi, a branch of the Volcae split from the main group on the way into the Balkans and joined two other tribes, the Tolistobogii and the Trocmi, to settle in central Anatolia and establish a new identity as the Galatians.
The TricastinFrench pronunciation: [tʁikasˈtɛ̃] is a natural and historic region in the southern Rhône valley of southeastern France comprising the southwestern portion of the Drôme department and the northwestern portion of Vaucluse and centered on the modern town of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.
The Vocontii were a Gallic people who lived to the east of the River Rhône in modern south-eastern France.
The Pont Ambroix or Pont d'Ambrussum was a 1st-century BC Roman bridge in the south of France which was part of the Via Domitia. It crossed the Vidourle at Ambrussum, between today's Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard department and Villetelle in the Hérault department.
Fourques is a commune and a village in the southeastern corner of the Gard department in southern France, some 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Arles. The village is located at the confluence of the Rhone and the Little Rhone and sprang up adjoining a bridge across the latter built by the Romans. A historic suspension bridge was constructed across the Little Rhone early in the nineteenth century.
The Canal du Rhône à Sète is a canal in southern France, which connects the Étang de Thau in Sète to the Rhône River in Beaucaire, Gard. The canal is made up of two previously constructed canals, the Canal des Étangs and Canal de Beaucaire. It connects with the Canal du Midi through the Étang de Thau.
Capestang is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France.
The Roman Bridge at Saint-Thibéry was a Roman segmental arch bridge on the Via Domitia in southern France. The partly surviving structure crossed the river Hérault in Saint-Thibéry, 17 km east of Béziers.
The gens Domitia was a plebeian family at Rome. The first of the gens to achieve prominence was Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus, consul in 332 BC. His son, Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus Maximus, was consul in 283, and the first plebeian censor. The family produced several distinguished generals, and towards the end of the Republic, the Domitii were looked upon as one of the most illustrious gentes.