Sites & cities that bear the name of Augusta Viromanduorum

Augusta Viromanduorum

Today in : France
First trace of activity : ca. 1st century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 3rd century C.E
Recorded names : Αὐγούστα Οὐερομανδύων, Aug Veromand, Aouste

Description : Augusta Viromanduorum is at the origin of the current city of Saint-Quentin (department of the Aisne region Hauts-de-France ). It was founded by the Romans, at the beginning of our era, to replace the oppidum of Vermand as the capital of theViromandui(Celtic Belgian people occupying the Vermandois). This is proved by three sources. In the 2nd century AD, the geographer Ptolemy (II, 9, 6) states: Μεθ ους Ουιρομανδυες, ων πολις Αυγυστα Ουιρομανδυων: Viromandui, which city is Augusta Viromanduorum. In the middle of the 3rd century, two inscriptions found in Rome, are dedicated by Praetorians. The first one ( Corpus inscriptionum latinarum VI, 32550 = 2822, before 244), says : ex Belgica provincia [civitatis Avg] Veromand (orvm); the second (CIL VI, 32551 = 2821 = H. Dessau,Inscriptiones Latinae selectae, Berlin: Weidmann, 3 t. in 5 vol., 1892–1916, No. 2096), dated 246, is more comprehensive: civ (itatis) ex prov (incia) Avg Belgica (vstae) Viromandvorv (orum). It received the name Augusta Viromanduorum, Augusta of the Viromandui, in honor of the Emperor Augustus. The site is a ford which allowed to cross the Somme river. Several main roads crossing it, coming from Reims, Soissons, Amiens and Cambrai. The discoveries and archaeological excavations are still too few to well known that town. However, it appears that it occupied an area of 40 to 60 hectares, which puts it among the medium cities of Gaul. From an historical perspective, the main question is what was its status in Late Antiquity. The name of the small Roman town (close to 11 km) Vermand, which seems to come from Veromandis has led to a debate about a possible loss of the rank of civitas capital in the Late Roman period. Archaeology, in the current state of knowledge (which remains incomplete, it must be pointed out) tipped the balance in favour of the "transfer", as the city of Augusta Viromanduorum seems like the deserted in 4th century. On the contrary, the remains of this period are abundant in Vermand, well known site in the archaeological literature for its late Roman necropolis (800 tombs excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries). Camille Jullian, in his Histoire de la Gaule, had decided in favour of the move, but this question is still being discussed.

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