(Valence) Drôme, France.
of the Segovellauni in Gallia
Narbonensis, situated on
the Rhône at an important crossroads where the N-S
road of Agrippa branched off towards Italy by way of
the Drôme valley, and secondary roads led towards
the Isère valley and the Vivarais region. The Roman
colony, which may have been founded by Caesar, is
mentioned in Pliny's list of cities that received Roman
citizens. At the latest it was founded in Augustus' reign.
Traces of Roman city planning are still to be seen in
the grid plan of the old quarter of the modern town;
remains of the cardo maximus pavement and the S city
gate have been found. The decumanus and cardo probably met near the modern Place de la Visitation. Several
Roman burials have been discovered in the Saint-Jacques
suburb, indicating that the area of the ancient city was
ca. 30 ha. The city had a number of surrounding walls:
the first one, dating from the Republican era, was razed
and reused in the foundations of the second, which goes
back to the Early Empire. The foundations of a tower
7 m in diameter have been unearthed; the walls were 1.6 m thick.
Almost nothing is known of the forum, temples, baths,
or houses. However, the outer theater wall has been
found near the Place Saint-Jean in the modern Saint-Ursule quarter, and perhaps a trace of an amphitheater. The cathedral apparently stands on the remains of a pagan temple, as does the Chapelle Saint-Martin. A
Temple of Kybele and a Mithraeum are known from inscriptions.
Christianity was introduced at the end of the 2d c. by
the priest Felix and his deacons Fortunatus and Achilleus,
martyred in 212. The first bishop, as evidenced by the
texts, was Saint Aemilian (362-374). The only known
Christian monument of the period is the baptistery (13 x
17 m), discovered in 1886 and explored in 1952, near the
modern cathedral. Designed in the form of a cross around
an octagonal pool, it was probably built in the 4th c., of
material from Roman baths (?); mosaics were added in
the 5th-6th c., and in the 7th-8th c. it was made into a
chapel by the addition of an apse (mosaic of Eve).
Finally, in the Early Middle Ages it was covered by the
Chapelle des Penitents.
The museum has architectural remains, fragments of
statues, a Christian sarcophagus and bas-relief, altars,
A. Blanc, “Valence romaine,” Cahiers