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• • VIENNE, METROPOLIS OF THE ALLOBROGES The Allobroges were probably the first to establish a settlement on the site of Vienne which dates from the end of the Vth Century BC on a promontory at the junction of the Gère and the Rhône. They made it their "metropolis", even if it was only the size of a village, if we are to believe Strabius. About 15 metres above the Rhône, this port site occupied a natural stronghold which was easy to defend to the north and south thanks to two deep valleys. The Pipet heights, to the east, could, if required, provide a solid defence system. All that we know of this period of Antiquity (through three exploratory trenches!) is several very deep layers (between 5 and 9 metres beneath the present surface) which have been dated by a handful of ceramic fragments (Athenian cup decorated with red figures), imported from the Mediterranean, no doubt more specifically from the Greek port of Marseilles which exported wine and olive oil (amphorae). Up till now we have been unable to uncover any building from before the IInd Century BC. Starting from the IInd Century BC there a few more archaeological findings. A very big sanctuary was built at that time on the Sainte-Blandine Hill. A large quantity of objects, particularly metal ones is evidence of this : some seem to have been intentionally destroyed for the purpose of sacrifices. Houses began to grow up on the banks of the Rhône at the foot of the promontory. This extension of the settlement was probably due to the progressive retreat of the Rhône and the development of the activity of the port, which is evident, again, from the ceramic fragments originating from the Mediterranean (Campanian ceramics).
The Vienne City Wall surrounds the hills on the left bank of the Rhône : Mount Salomon, Mount Arnaud, le mont Arnaud, les collines de Sainte. Blandine the Sainte-Blandine Hills and the Saint. Just Hills. It runs down to the Rhône both on the north and south. It can still be easily seen in certain places, particularly on Mount Salomon. It encircled the political and administrative heart of the city : the forum, theatre, and the Odeum. The tops of the hills, where only a few buildings have been found, were perhaps, as was often the case in Rome, occupied by gardens; at least two sanctuaries stood on the Sainte-Blandine Hill. A great part of the residential and commercial districts were situated outside the walls, to the south and on the right bank. There we find very large buildings which needed vast areas of flat ground such as the Circus, the warehouses, and the bath complex of the "Mirror Palace".
http: //www. culture. gouv. fr/fr/arcnat/ vienne/en/forum 5. htm http: //www. culture. gouv. fr/fr/arcnat/vienne/f r/index. html
http: //gooseberriesandwalnuts. blogspot. com/ 2010/02/roman-town-of-vienne-gallialugdunensis. html
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http: //www. historyguru. com. au/Blog/Ju ne-2010/Vienne