(Chartres) Dept. Eure-et-Loir, France.
Located 96 km SW of Paris on the Eure (Autura) river, Autricuin was the capital of the Carnutes (Ptol.
2.8.10), who at first resisted the Romans (as shown in the
death of Tasgetios) in the massacre of some Roman
merchants and a Roman officer at Cenabuin (Orléans)
and in their sending 12,000 men to relieve Alesia, but
they were submissive after the defeat of Vercingetorix.
(Caes. BGall. 5.25
; 6.3; 7.3, 75; 8.4, 31, 38, etc.)
Autricuin became one of the six allied Lyonese cities.
Governed by a legatus Augusti pro praetore assisted by a
procurator Augusti, and with a full complement of
judges, Autricum suffered the counterblows of the great
barbarian invasions (A.D. 275); it was taken in 742 by
the Norman Thierry.
Very little is known of the Carnutian settlement (a
hammer of polished stone and Late Iron Age pottery)
and not very much was known except by chance finds, at
least until 1962, of the Gallo-Roman city. This city
occupied the end of the plain of Beauce and the slopes
which go down to the Eure; suburbs and cemeteries surround it at the NE, at the SE and at the S, bordering
the Roman routes which connect it to Dreux, Sens, and
Orléans, Blois, Le Mans, and Verneuil. The plan of the
city seems to be preserved in the orientation and spacing
of several present-day streets. Their direction N-NE—S-SW
would seem confirmed by the discovery in 1968, at the
foot of the Chapel Saint-Piat, of a white marble base of
what perhaps was a temple, and ca. 150 in to the N of
a building of small stones with a series of square rooms
and a doorway opening on a court (perhaps a forum
with small shops). This orientation is the same as that
of walls observed here and there in the same quarter, of
three walls discovered in 1962 under the ancient Chapel
Saint-Serge, or the well-known walls of the crypt of the
cathedral thought mistakenly to be part of the Roman
enclosing wall. This latter has been the subject of different hypotheses; for example, with a trapezoidal plan, the
wall would have surrounded the whole of the old quarter
of the present city, but the discovery of large exterior
walls to the SE and SW does not substantiate this layout.
Among recent discoveries, the most interesting is that
in 1965 to the E in the quarter of Saint-André of an
amphitheater (unfortunately reduced to the foundations:
three concentric walls joined by radiating ones). If the
sustaining walls attached to the slope mark the outline of
the cavea, the ellipse would have been about 117.5 x
102.5 m; the street, Cloître Saint-André, reproduces more
or less the outline of the amphitheater. It seems that
there was no scaena; one can then assume a separate
Numerous remains have been found accidentally
(aqueducts, drains, hypocausts to the S and SW, kilns,
columns and capitals, cornices, mosaics with figures, some
funerary sculpture, coins, a very few inscriptions), but
the non-systematic nature of the excavations makes any
interpretation of them hazardous. Autricum needs further
The Musée Municipal preserves many of the finds. In
addition there are archaeological storehouses at the Société Archéologique and at the cellar of Loëns.
“Procès-Verbaux,” Bull. Soc. Arch.
(1856-1935) passim; G. Boisvillette, Statistique arch. d'E-&-L
. (1864); P. Buisson & P. Bellier
de la Chavignerie, Tableau de la Ville de Ch. en 1750
(1896); L. Bonnard, in REA
15 (1913) 60-72; C. Challine, Recherches sur Ch
. (1918); “Mémoires,” Bull. Soc.
. 23 (1968) 260-67; 21 (1957-61) 279-88;
“Chroniques,” ibid. 2 (1966) 18-39; Report in Gallia