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CAESAROMAGUS (Beauvais) Oise, France.

The capital of the civitas of the Bellovaci. It is not yet known whether Caesaromagus of the ancient itineraries supplanted the city of Bratuspantium, last refuge of the Bellovaci after their defeat by Caesar, or whether it was a city created by the Romans. No trace of the Gallic fortifications has been found at Beauvais, while such remains exist elsewhere in the civitas of the Bellovaci (Vendeuil-Caply, Bailleul sur Thérain), and indeed no vestiges of any kind from the Gallic period have been discovered there.

The plan of the town is not known in detail, but its limits are indicated by the Gallo-Roman necropoleis, three of which have been found: Notre Dame du Thil to the N, one to the S near the Thérain, and the third to the NE at the rue du Pressoir Coquet. The extent of the ancient city under the Early Empire seems to have been about that of the modern one. The dwellings were for the most part individual houses with porticos, widely dispersed and often remodeled (in the first two centuries A.D. the ground level rose 1-2 m).

Some of the buildings are better known. On Mt. Capron, N of the city and E of the road to Amiens, stood a temple discovered in the 18th c. which has completely disappeared although its plan is known. On the site of the modern church of Saint-Étienne stood a bath complex which was excavated at the beginning of the 19th c. A circular ensemble of the Severan period located at the chevet of the cathedral has recently been excavated. It was built between two Roman streets, on the site of an Early Empire district demolished to permit its construction. The nature of this half-ruined ensemble is uncertain, but probably it is a large semicircular portico surrounding a public square. The forum, the theater, and the circus, however, have not been located.

In the Late Empire the city was completely destroyed and a strong rampart was built. The rampart is partially preserved along with some of its towers at the rue Racine and the rue Philippe de Dreux, and its line is well known. The fortified sector represented only a tenth of the area of the Early Empire city. The wall had two gates, the Porte du Chatel to the E and the Porte du Limaçon to the W.

Artifacts were lost in the destruction of the museum in 1940, but recent excavations have uncovered a number of carved blocks reused in the Late Empire fortifications, as well as much Gallo-Roman and particularly Carolingian pottery, for which Beauvais appears to have been an important center.


G. Archer & V. Leblond, La balnéaire gallo-romain de Beauvais (1906); V. Leblond, “La topographie romaine de Beauvais et son enceinte au IVème siècle,” BAC (1915) 3-39; P. Durvin, “Un coup de sonde à travers les vestiges gallo-romains de Caesaromagus,” Ogam 15 (1963) 49-64; G. Matherat, “La première campagne de César contre les Bellovaques et le geste passis manibus,” Hommages A. Grenier, Latomus 58 (1962) 1134-50; E. Will, “L'activité archéologique dans les régions Nord et Picardie,” Revue du Nord 199 (1968) 677-79; C. Pietri, “Informations,” Gallia 29, 2 (1971) 224-26.


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