previous next

ESSAROIS Côte d'Or, France.

Sanctuary near the source of the small Cave river dedicated, according to inscriptions (CIL XIII, 5644-46), to Apollo Vindonnus and Apollo of the Springs.

Recent excavations have corrected earlier accounts, and have demonstrated that the temple was not a single building with a double cella, but consisted of two distinct structures with no wall connecting them but similar in plan. There are two fana, each of which contained a rectangular cella with a gallery around it, set in a court. The cella of the NW temple was 7.4 m on the N side, 7.6 on the S, 6.6 on the W, and 6.95 on the E; the gallery was 2.6 m wide to the N and 3.2 m to the W. Pottery and coins found on the site, combined with an investigation of the soil and strata, have pinpointed more precisely the histories of the buildings. A large part of the pottery is still in the local tradition (coarse blackish paste with scour), and with the pottery were found many Gallic coins (25 pewter; four silver; Roman coins from the end of the Republic or beginning of the Empire). Apparently in the beginning there was a wooden monument to the S, a few elements of which have been found buried beneath the first floor of the S cella (phase 1); then about the middle of the 1st c. B.C. a stone cella was built (phase 2) N of the first, closer to the springs. Phase 3 is apparently represented by a second stone temple erected during the 1st c. A.D. to replace the early wooden one, which had been destroyed in a fire of which there are some traces. It is possible that temple II was rebuilt after being abandoned for a time. The abundant ex-votos link the sanctuary of Essarois with that of the Sources of the Seine. They include thin bronze slabs representing eyes and breasts, ex-votos of wood, ex-votos of stone (legs, arms, torsos), proving that Apollo Vindonnus, with the aid of the springs associated with him, had assumed the character of a healing god. The ex-votos are frequently pathological (deformed limbs, highly developed genitals, a head with closed eyes). Also worthy of note are the statuettes of infants in swaddling clothes, as well as an odd stele with five women's heads in a group. Most of these sculptures are in the Musée de Chatillon.


P. Mignard, Description d'un temple dédié à Apollon au cirque de la Cave, près d'Essarois (1851); Mémoires de la Commission des Antiquités de la Côte d'Or III (1847-52) 111-205; E. Espérandieu, Recueil général des bas-reliefs . . . (1907-66) III, 3411-39; G. Drioux, Cultes indigènes des Lingons (1934) 20-24; Grenier, Manuel IV, 2 (1960) 639-44; R. Martin, Gallia, 22, 2 (1964) 311-13I; 24 (1966) 390-92I.


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