(Saint-Jean le Vieux) Pyrénées
Only the Antonine Itinerary
mentions the mansio of linus Pyrenaeus, situated
at the foot of the Bentarte and Ibañeta passes leading to
Pamplona (Pompaelo). The itinerary places it on the
road from Bordeaux to Astorga (Asturica Augusta).
The original site, which goes back to the last third of
the 1st c. B.C., was a rectangular castrum (200 x 115 m)
ringed by a strong vallum, well preserved on two sides.
Inside this rampart a fairly regular city plan can be
made out; its axis is the N-S cardo leading to the only
gate opening S. The finds from the earliest stratum indicate that the city enjoyed sudden prosperity at the end
of the 1st c., probably connected with Valerius Messala's
campaigns against the Pyrenean tribes, which ended in
In the 1st c. A.D. the settlement was rebuilt, but retained the same plan and the same defensive circuit wall.
A little forum was built, consisting of a small, square,
windowless building and some shops grouped around a
little temple, whose oblong cella (7.2 x 4.8 m) suggests
that it may have been divided into three sections. The
construction technique remained very primitive—an inferior mortar was used in all but a few cases. Real prosperity did not come until the last quarter of the century
when there was an influx of goods from Spain, and
Gallo-Roman imports were stopped almost completely.
At this time the city expanded and developed. At the
beginning of the 2d c. A.D. the original rampart was split
and a new vicus built, using only part of the earlier
buildings around the forum. No appreciable change was
made from that time until the second half of the 3d c. A.D.
when there is evidence of massive destruction, related
to the first waves of Germanic invaders moving toward
Spain. After a brief period of abandonment at the end
of the 3d c. the ruins were leveled and the ancient defenses of the castrum probably restored. Restricted in
plan, Imus Pyrenaeus vegetated and the site was finally
abandoned, probably before the barbarian invasions of
the early 5th c. A.D.
J. Coupry, “Informations,” Gallia
; (1969) 378-80I
J. L. TOBIE