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Encyclopedia > Nîmes
Location within France

Nîmes is a city and commune of southern France, préfecture (capital) of the Gard département. Population (1999): 133,424. Download high resolution version (1804x1689, 163 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Nîmes Categories: GFDL images ... Download high resolution version (1804x1689, 163 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Nîmes Categories: GFDL images ... The commune (in French: commune, word appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, gathering of people sharing a common life, from Latin communis, things held in common) is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. ... In France, a préfecture is the capital city of a département. ... Gard is a département located in the south of France named after the river Gardon (or Gard). ... The départements (or departments) are administrative units of France, roughly analogous to British counties and are now grouped into 22 metropolitan and four overseas régions. ...

Contents

History

The city derives its name from Nemausus'The Nile'. The contemporary symbol and shield of the city of Nîmes, a crocodile chained to a palm tree with the inscription 'COLNEM' or short version of 'Colonia Nemausus', is a reference to the colony of Roamn legions veterans in Caesar's Nile campaigns. At the end of fifteen years of soldiering, the veterans were given plots of land to cultivate on the plain of Nîmes. Nemausus is often said to have been the Celtic patron god of Nemausus (Nîmes). ...


Nîme was located on the Via Domitia, a Roman road constructed in 118 BC, connecting Italy to Spain. The Via Domitia was the first Roman road built in Gaul, which is in modern day France. ... A Roman road in Pompeii The Romans, for military, commercial and political reasons, became adept at constructing roads. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC - 110s BC - 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC Years: 123 BC 122 BC 121 BC 120 BC 119 BC - 118 BC - 117 BC 116 BC...


The Origins of Nimes

Prehistory

The site on which the built-up area of Nimes has become established in the course of centuries is part of the edge of the alluvial plain of the Vistrenque River which buts up against low hills: to the North-East, the Mr. Duplan; to the South-West, Montaury; to the West, Mt. Cavalier and the knoll of Canteduc.


From 4000 to 2000 BC

The site know as Serre Paradis belongs to the New Stone Age (Neolithic). This deposit reveals the presence of semi-nomadic cultivators in the period 4000 to 3500 BC on the future emplacement of Nimes. The population of the site increased during the thousand-year period of the Bronze Age. The menhir of Courbessac (or La Poudriere) stands in a field, near the airstrip. This limestone monolith of over 2 metres in height dates to about 2500 BC, and must be considered as the oldest monument of Nimes.


From 1800 to 1 BC

The Bronze Age has left us traces of a village of huts and branches.


From 600 BC to 49 BC

The Warrior of Grezan is considered to be the most ancient indigenous sculpture in southern Gaule. The hill named Mt. Cavalier was the site of the early oppidum: city which gave birth to the city. In the 3rd to 2nd century BC a surrounding wall was built, closed at the summit by a dry-stone tower, which was later incorporated into the masonry of The Tor Magne. The Wars of Gaule and the fall of Marseilles (49 BC) allowed Niems to regain its autonomy under Rome. (4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events The first two Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome over dominance in western Mediterranean Rome conquers Spain Great Wall of China begun Indian traders regularly visited Arabia Scythians occupy... (3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events BC 168 Battle of Pydna -- Macedonian phalanx defeated by Romans BC 148 Rome conquers Macedonia BC 146 Rome destroys Carthage in the Third Punic War BC 146 Rome conquers... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC - 40s BC - 30s BC 20s BC 10s BC 0s BC 0s Years: 54 BC 53 BC 52 BC 51 BC 50 BC 49 BC 48 BC 47 BC 46 BC...


The Gallo-Roman Period

It was about 50 BC that Nimes became a Roman colony, as witness the earliest coins which bear the abbreviation NEM. COL, "Colony of Nemausus". Some years later a sanctuary and other constructions connected with the fountain were raised on the site. Nimes was already under Roman influence, though it was Augustus who made the city the capital of Narbonne province, and gave it all its glory. Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC - 50s BC - 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC 10s BC 0s BC Years: 55 BC 54 BC 53 BC 52 BC 51 BC 50 BC 49 BC 48 BC 47...


Augustus gave the town a ring of ramparts six kilometres long, reinforced by fourteen towers, with gates of which two remain today, the Porte Auguste and the Porte de France. He had the Forum built and perhaps also the aqueduct. Nothing remains of certain monuments, the existence of which is known from inscriptions or architectural fragments found in the course of excavations. It is know that the town had civil basilica, a curia, a gymnasium and perhaps a circus. The amphitheatre dates from the end of the 2nd century AD. The family of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius was originated in Nemausus. (1st century - 2nd century - 3rd century - other centuries) Events Roman Empire governed by the Five Good Emperors (96–180) – Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. ... Roman Emperor is the title historians use to refer to rulers of the Roman Empire, after the epoch conventionally named the Roman Republic. ... Emperor Antoninus Pius Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius (September 19, 86 - March 7, 161) was Roman emperor from 138 to 161. ...


This prosperity was to stay with the town until the end of the 3rd century. Already there was risk of invasion, and the decadence of Rome allowed the barbarian hordes to be even more audacious. Visigoths, Burgunds, and Ostrogoths came one after the other to pillage the riches of the Empire. (2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century - other centuries) Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ...


From the 4th to 5th century

After the Gallo-Roman period, in the days of invasion and decadence, the Christian Church, already established in Gaule since the 1st century AD, appeared be the last refuge open to civilisation. Remarkably organised and directed by men of great worth, it took bit by bit a preponderant place in the march of time. After the barbarian invasions the population had to face incursions by Moors from Spain (AD 710). This occupation, strange to say, was beneficial for the Nimes region. It came to an end in 754 under Pepin the Short. The town, ruined by so many troubles and invasions was now only a shadow of the opulent Gallo-Roman city. The local powers installed themselves in the amphitheatre. Carolingian rule brought relative peace with it, but feudal times in the 12th century brought local troubles which lasted until the days of St.Louis. During this period Nimes was jointly administered by a lay power resident in the old amphitheatre, where lived the Viguier and the Knights of the Arena, and the religious power based in the Bishop's place complex, around the cathedral, its chapter and the Bishop's house; meanwhile the city was represented by four Consuls who sat in the Maison Carree. Despite incessant feudal squabbling, Nimes saw a certain progress both in commerce and industry as well as in stockbreeding and associated activities. After the last effort by Raymond VII of Toulouse, St. Louis managed to base Royal power in the region which became Languedoc. Nimes thus entered finally into the hands of the King of France. (1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century - other centuries) The 1st century was that century which lasted from 1 to 99. ... Events End of the Asuka period, the second and last part of the Yamato period and beginning of the Japan. ... Events Pope Stephen III crowns Pepin the short King of the Franks at St. ... (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ...


The Time of Invasions

During the 14th and 15th centuries the Rhone Valley underwent an uninterrupted series of invasions which ruined the economy and brought about famine. Customs were forgotten, there were religious troubles and epidemics, all of which affected the city. Nimes, which was one of the Protestant strongholds, felt the full force of repression and fratricidal confrontments which continued until the middle of the 17th century, adding to the misery of periodic outbreaks of plague. (13th century - 14th century - 15th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 14th century was that century which lasted from 1301 to 1400. ... (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ...


From the 17th Century to the Revolution

In the middle of the 17th century Nimes experienced a period of prosperity. Population growth caused the town to expand, and slum housing to be replaced. Also to this period dates the reconstruction of Notre-Dame-Saint-Castor, the Bishop's palace and numerous mansions (Hotels). This 'renaissance' strengthened the manufacturing and industrial vocation of the city, the population rising from 21000 to 50000 inhabitants. Also in this period the Fountain gardens were laid out, the areas surrounding the Maison Carree and the Amphitheatre were cleared, whilst the entire population benefited from the atmosphere of prosperity.


From the Revolution to the Present Day

Following the European economic crisis which hit Nimes with full force, the Revolutionary period awoke slumbering demons of political and religious antagonism. The White Terror added to natural calamities and economic recession, produced murder, pillage and arson until 1815. Order was however restored in the course of the 19th century, and Nimes became the metropolis of Bas-Languedoc, diversifying its industry towards new kinds of activity. At the same time the surrounding countryside adapted to market needs and shared in the general increase of wealth. Nimes is already prepared to face the oncoming century and, having withstood the burden of two world wars, on the eve of the third millennium, is perhaps on the threshold of a new Golden Age. 1815 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Sights

The Roman amphitheatre in Nîmes.
Amphitheatre.
The Maison Carrée in Nîmes.

Nîmes may have been one of the richest and finest Roman cities of Gaule. Several important remains of the Roman Empire can still be seen in and around Nîmes: Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 412 KB)View of the exterior of the Amphitheatre at Nimes, France. ... Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 412 KB)View of the exterior of the Amphitheatre at Nimes, France. ... Download high resolution version (1167x876, 186 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (1167x876, 186 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Side view of the Maison Carrée, Nimes Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Side view of the Maison Carrée, Nimes Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Maison Carrée at Nimes, France, is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire. ... The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Caesar Augustus. ...

  • The elliptical Roman amphitheatre, of the 1st or 2nd century AD, is the best-preserved Roman arena in France. It filled with medieval housing, when its walls served as ramparts, but was cleared under Napoleon. It is still used today as a bull fighting and concert arena.
  • The Maison Carrée (Square House), a small Roman temple dedicated to sons of Agrippa was built c. 19 BC. It is one of the best-preserved Roman temples anywhere.
  • The nearby Pont du Gard, also built by Agrippa, is a well-preserved aqueduct that used to carry water across the small Gardon river valley.
  • The nearby Mont Cavalier is crowned by the Tour Magne ("Great Tower"), a ruined Roman tower.

Later monuments include: The name amphitheatre (alternatively amphitheater) is given to a public building of the Classical period (being particularly associated with ancient Rome) which was used for spectator sports, games and displays. ... (1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century - other centuries) The 1st century was that century which lasted from 1 to 99. ... (1st century - 2nd century - 3rd century - other centuries) Events Roman Empire governed by the Five Good Emperors (96–180) – Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. ... Rampart may mean: A type of defensive wall consisting of a low earthen embankment topped by a parapet or palisade. ... Bonaparte as general, by Antoine-Jean Gros. ... Bull attacking a matador Bullfighting or tauromachy (Spanish toreo, corrida de toros or tauromaquia; Portuguese corrida de touros or tauromaquia) is a blood sport that involves, most of the times, professional performers (matadores) who execute various formal moves with the goal of appearing graceful and confident, while masterful over the... The Maison Carrée at Nimes, France, is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire. ... The numbers and architecture of Roman temples reflect the citys receptivity to all the religions of the world. ... Marcus Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (63 BC-12 BC) was a Roman statesman and general. ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC - 10s BC - 0s 10s 20s 30s 40s Years: 24 BC 23 BC 22 BC 21 BC 20 BC 19 BC 18 BC 17 BC 16 BC 15 BC 14 BC... Pont du Gard, France The Pont du Gard is an aqueduct in the south of France constructed by the Roman Empire, and located near Remoulins, in the Gard département. ... Pont du Gard, France, a Roman era aqueduct circa 19 BC, it is one of Frances top tourist attractions at over 1. ... The Gardon (or Gard) is a river of southern France. ...

  • The cathedral (Saint Castor), occupying, it is believed, the site of the temple of Augustus, is partly Romanesque and partly Gothic in style.

There is modern architecture at Nîmes too: Norman Foster conceived the Carré d'art (1986), a museum of modern art and mediatheque; Jean Nouvel the Nemausus, a post-modern residential ensemble, and Kisho Kurokawa a building in the form of a hemicycle to reflect the Amphitheatre. A cathedral is a Christian church building, specifically of a denomination with an episcopal hierarchy (such as the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican churches), which serves as the central church of a bishopric. ... Romanesque St. ... Gothic architecture characterizes any of the styles of European architecture, particularly associated with cathedrals and other churches, in use throughout Europe during the high and late medieval period, from the 12th century onwards. ... Reichstag, German parliament The Armadillo, Sir Norman Fosters Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, OM (born 1 June 1935) is a British architect. ... Jean Nouvel (born August 12, 1945) is a French architect. ... Postmodernism (sometimes abbreviated pomo) is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism. ... Entrance to the Nagoya City Art Museum The Nakagin Capsule Tower Kurokawa Kisho (In Japanese, family name first: 黒川 紀章, Kurokawa, Kisho)(b. ...


Tree-shaded boulevards trace the foundations of its former city walls. The defensive wall of Braşov, Romania. ...


Miscellaneous

Nîmes is historically known for its textiles. Denim, the fabric of blue jeans, derives its name from this city (Serge de Nîmes). Part of a pair of denim blue jeans Denim closeup Denim, in American usage since the late 18th century, denotes a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- double) or more warp fibers, producing the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric... Blue Jeans Overview Jeans are trousers made from denim. ... Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. ...


The asteroid 51 Nemausa was named after Nîmes, where it was discovered in 1858. An asteroid is a small, solid object in our Solar System, orbiting the Sun. ... 51 Nemausa is a large Main belt asteroid similar to 1 Ceres in composition. ... 1858 is a common year starting on Friday. ...


People born in Nîmes

Domitius Afer (died 60) was a Roman orator and advocate, born at Nemausus (Nîmes) in Gallia Narbonensis. ... For other uses, see number 60. ... Jean-Paul Rabaut Saint-Etienne (1743 - December 5, 1793), French revolutionist, was born at Nîmes, the son of Paul Rabaut, the additional surname of Saint-Etienne being assumed from a small property near Nîmes. ... Events February 14 - Henry Pelham becomes British Prime Minister February 21 - - The premiere in London of George Frideric Handels oratorio, Samson. ... 1793 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The period of the French Revolution in the history of France covers the years between 1789 and 1799, in which democrats and republicans overthrew the absolute monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church was forced to undergo radical restructuring. ... François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (October 4, 1787 -September 12, 1874) was a French historian, orator and statesman. ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1874 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Jean Elias Benjamin Valz (May 27, 1787 – April 22, 1867) was a French astronomer. ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1867 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Alphonse Daudet (May 13, 1840 - December 17, 1897) was a French novelist. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1897 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1871 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The term Paris Commune originally referred to the government of Paris during the French Revolution. ...

Mayors

  • Jean Bousquet (1983-1995)
  • Alain Clary (1995-2001)
  • Jean-Paul Fournier (2001- )

External link

Wikimedia Commons has more media related to:
Nîmes
  • City council website (http://www.nimes.fr/)
  • Visiting Nimes (http://france-for-visitors.com/languedoc/nimes/index.html) - In English

 
 

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