|The walls of Bibracte|
|A map of Bibracte showing the earlier outer wall |
and the newer inner wall
Bibracte was not just the home of the local chief and a few grain silos, rather it was a city of at least 20,000 people and was larger than most of the Roman provincial cities built afterwards. Many of the houses in the Aeduan capital were built of timber - rectangular cottages inhabited by the thousands of artisans, metal workers and merchants who drove the Aeduan urban economy. However at the centre of Bibracte was a town square known as the 'Horse Park' surrounded by much larger Roman influenced stone villas that included hypocausts and sewers. One of these villas covered some 12,000sq-ft. The city also featured large urban fountains that may have had civic or religious purposes - or both. There is no doubt that prior to Julius Caesar's conquest, Bibracte was one of the most sophisticated cities in northern Europe - and after the Gallic wars Bibracte maintained its importance for several more decades. Within two years of the 'Great Rebellion' - when the Aedui had turned against Caesar's legions and had hosted proclamation of the Arvernian, Vercingetorix, as the King of the Gauls - Bibracte had a brand new Roman basilica from which the region was governed until 15BC. The Romans then established the new regional capital of Augustodunum (Modern Autun) 16-miles to the west - this move was the beginning of the end of Bibracte - as it was for several other Gallic hilltop cities, particularly the Arvernian capital of Gergovia...but that's another story.
|Central Gaul in 52BC|
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