previous next

ENTREMONT Bouches-du-Rhône, France.

Situated 3 km N of Aix-en-Provence (Aquae Sextiae Salluviorum), at the crossing of the natural routes, E-W from Italy to Spain, N-S from the Durance to Marseille. It was the capital of the Celto-Ligurian confederation of the Σάλυες or Salluvii, which controlled a vast territory bordered by the Rhône, the Durance, the lower Argens valley, and the Mediterranean. We do not know the ancient name of this polis (Diod. 24). The date of its founding no doubt goes back to the 4th c. B.C. It was probably destroyed during the campaigns carried out between 125 and 123 B.C. by the Roman legions commanded first by M. Fulvius Flaccus, then by C. Sextius Calvinus. Entremont's king, Teutomalius, took refuge among the Allobroges; its inhabitants were deported, except for a small pro-Roman party which may have included 900 native (Diod. 24; Appian, Hist. rom. 4.12; Livy, Ep. 61). This dating of Entremont's destruction has sometimes been questioned in favor of a later one (90-80 B.C.).

The oppidum occupies a triangular plateau, with an area of some 35,000 sq m, protected by two cliffs. The N side, a gentle slope, is protected by a strong rampart 380 m long. The walls consist of two fairly regular ashlar faces, tending towards opus quadratum. They are filled with earth and rubble and are more than 3 m thick. At regular 19 m intervals, rounded towers were attached to the rampart. A second wall, in the S corner of the plateau, encloses a quadrilateral about a ha in area, slightly higher than the rest of the oppidum. It is not known if this “acropolis” corresponds to the earliest stage of the settlement (which later would have expanded) or if it consists of a quarter separated from the rest of the town (an aristocratic quarter?).

Excavations have brought to light a regular town plan, arranged with respect to the orientation of the ramparts. The cobbled streets are relatively wide and have ruts attesting the passage of carts. Near the enceinte a system of stone channels crossed under the walls and let the run-off water out. The dwellings were arranged in blocks, and they too had stone walls. Mostly they were long, narrow (5-8 x 2.50-3.50 m) structures with a hearth and dolium. Some, however, are larger and consist of two to five rooms. Some pieces of decoration have been found: remains of a paving with a crude mosaic, clay plaques decorated with fluting and triglyphs. Oven apertures, pieces of oil presses, millstones, spindles, and various tools record farming and crafts. Many Massaliot coins, wine amphorae, and imported pottery indicate extensive commerce with Massalia.

A large dwelling, in the form of a portico, dating to the last period, reutilized parts of older buildings: a pillar with representations of human heads with closed eyes, a lintel of the same kind, but also including sockets in which the mummified heads of vanquished enemies were placed, according to the rite reported by Diodoros (5.29) and Strabo (4.4,5). Moreover, skulls with spikes have been found on the floor of this building. In the fill of the main street of the oppidum, which passed in front of this portico, important pieces of statuary have been found, pillars carved in relief depicting severed heads (but with a much less crude technique) and a horseman. Most important are the remains of statues in the round: heroes crouching in the position seen at Roquepertuse and Glanum (St. Rémy de Provence), heads, torsos adorned with a breastplate and the Gallic torque, etc. The Helleno-Etruscan influence on this art is evident. All these features show that Entremont, a political capital, offered its heroes a cult, probably of an oracular nature. These sculptures are now on exhibit at the Musée Granet at Aix-en-Provence.


F. Benoît, Gallia 5 (1947) 81-98; 26 (1968) 1-31P; id., Entremont (1957); id., L'Art primitif méditerranéen dans la vallée du Rhône (1955).


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: