Autun

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Autun
Roman ramparts
Roman ramparts
Coat of arms of Autun
Coat of arms
Autun is located in France
Autun
Autun
Coordinates: 46°57′06″N 4°17′58″E / 46.9517°N 4.2994°E / 46.9517; 4.2994Coordinates: 46°57′06″N 4°17′58″E / 46.9517°N 4.2994°E / 46.9517; 4.2994
Country France
Region Burgundy
Department Saône-et-Loire
Arrondissement Autun, Bourgogne - France
Canton Autun, Bourgogne - France
Intercommunality Autunois
Government
 • Mayor Rémi Rebeyrotte
Area
 • Land1 61.52 km2 (23.75 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Population2 16,082
 • Population2 density 260/km2 (680/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 710014 / 71400

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.

Autun is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in Burgundy in eastern France. It was founded during the early Roman Empire by Emperor Augustus as Augustodunum to give a Roman capital to the Gallic people Aedui, who had Bibracte as their political centre. In Roman times the city could be home to 30,000 to 100,000 people according to different estimates.[1]

Early history[edit]

Augustodunum (present day Autun) was founded during the reign of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, after whom it was named. It was the civitas capital of the Celtic Aedui, who had been allies and fratres ("brothers") of Rome since before Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul. Augustodunum was a planned foundation replacing the original oppidum or hillfort Bibracte, located some 15 miles away. Several elements of Roman architecture such as walls, gates, and a Roman theatre are still visible in the town.

Roman theater

In 356 AD, Autun came under siege by a force of Alamanni. The disrepair of the walls left the city in danger of falling. Autun was saved by the arrival of the Emperor Julian in one of his early military successes.

In late antiquity, Autun became famous for its schools of rhetoric. A world map famous for its size was displayed in the portico of one of the schools and may have survived until early modern times.[2]

Janus Temple

The area lies in the area of Burgundy.

In 725, the Umayyad general Anbasa ibn Suhaym Al-Kalbi (عنبسة بن سحيم الكلبي) marched up the Saône valley to Autun. On 22 August 725 he captured the town after defeating forces led by the local bishop, Emilian D’Autun, who was slain during the course of the battle. Autun marks the easternmost extent of the Umayyad campaign in Europe.[3] However, the position was never retained, and Anbasa died soon after. The Umayyads are known to have raided the lower Rhone during the next decade, but Uzès was their northernmost stronghold and possibly Marseille the easternmost coastal stronghold.

In 880 the Count of Autun, Richard of Autun, became the first Duke of Burgundy.

Modern Times[edit]

In 1788, Talleyrand became bishop of Autun. He was elected member of the clergy for the General states of 1789.

The High School plays an important role in the history of the city and even France since Napoleon Bonaparte, who gave it its current name and his brothers Joseph and Lucien have studied there . This school continues to operate today. You can admire the wrought iron gates erected in 1772, the subjects taught in this place are indicated by various representations of objects along the top of these grids .

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Garibaldi chose the city as its headquarters .

Main sights[edit]

Saint-André gate
Arroux gate

The city boasts two ancient Roman gates (the Porte St.-André and Porte d'Arroux) and other ruins dating to the time of Augustus. One of the most impressive remains is that of the ancient theatre, which was one of the largest in the western part of the empire with a 17,000 seat capacity. To the northwest of the city is the so-called Temple of Janus, only two walls (faces) of which remain. To the southeast is the mysterious Pierre de Couhard, a rock pyramid of uncertain function which may date to Roman times.

Couhard Pyramid

Autun Cathedral, also known as St. Lazare's cathedral, dates from the early twelfth century and is a major example of Romanesque architecture. It was formerly the chapel of the Dukes of Burgundy; their palace was the actual episcopal residence. The cathedral was originally built as a pilgrimage church for the veneration of the relics of Lazarus, Lazare d'Aix, a Christian martyr who was archbishop of Aix-en-Province. Autun's 12th-century bishop, Étienne de Bâgé, probably built the church in response to the construction of Ste. Madeleine at nearby Vézelay, home to the French cult of Mary Magdalene. St. Lazare was only later elevated to the rank of cathedral, replacing the former cathedral dedicated to St. Nazaire.[4]

Autun Cathedral is famous for its architectural sculpture, particularly the tympanum of The Last Judgment above the west portal, surviving fragments from the lost portal of the north transept, and the capitals in the nave and choir. All of these are traditionally considered the work of Gislebertus, whose name is on the west tympanum. It is uncertain whether Gislebertus is the name of the sculptor or of a patron. If Gislebertus is in fact the artist, he is one of very few medieval artists whose name is known.

Other notable connections[edit]

Sister Cities[edit]

Autun has sister city relationships with:

City Country Year
Stevenage United Kingdom United Kingdom 1975
Ingelheim am Rhein Germany Germany
Kawagoe Japan Japan
Arévalo Spain Spain

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://books.google.dk/books?id=C19glZh7zfoC&pg=PA47&dq=roman+gaul+cities+population+50,000&hl=da&sa=X&ei=CM9HU_LqIszy7Aa87YHQAQ&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=roman%20gaul%20cities%20population%2050%2C000&f=false
  2. ^ John Brian Harley, David Woodward, The History of Cartography Vol I p290
  3. ^ Septimania
  4. ^ Linda Seidel, Legends in limestone: Lazarus, Gislebertus, and the Cathedral of Autun (University of Chicago Press, 1999), p. 35 online.
  5. ^ Laherrère, Jean (2005). Review on oil shale data (PDF). Hubbert Peak. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Westermann, Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte (in German)
  • INSEE
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

External links[edit]