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CAESARODUNUM or Civitas Turonorum (Tours) Indre-et-Loire, France.

This capital city of the small tribe of the Turones, built by the Romans probably in the 1st c. A.D., was an important meeting point of roads and waterways. Destroyed by an invasion in 275, it acquired a fortified surrounding wall at the end of the 3d c. and in 374 became the chief city of Lugdunensis Tertius and the center of a large diocese. At this time there was a vicus christianorum W of the city; Bishop Litorius (337-371) built a funerary basilica there but set up the episcopal complex within the walls. His successor St. Martin (372-397) was buried in the Christian cemetery; a basilica was built over his tomb, ca. 470, by Bishop Perpetuus.

The amphitheater, the only monument preserved, is unfortunately filled with houses or covered with earth. It was one of the largest in the Empire (143 x 124 m on the axes). The outer height may be calculated as ca. 20 m. The seats, which are cut in the natural rock to the N, rested on vaulted passageways. The walls are faced with limestone rubble with white mortar joints, often trowel-marked, and double courses of brick. Four passageways have been found, placed on the axes of the ellipse; at the entrance they are reinforced with enormous buttresses shaped like semicircular towers about 6 m in diameter. The size of the building and the moderate use of brick indicate that it dates from about the time of Hadrian (117-138). The remains can be reached through the cellars of certain houses.

The 3d c. surrounding wall, an irregular rectangle (ca. 340 x 240 m) enclosed half of the amphitheater on its S side, and formed an enormous bastion that dominated the plain (perimeter 1155 m, area 9.23 ha). The foundations were built of reused material (blocks, columns, capitals); the wall itself was 4.3-4.8 m thick, made of rubble dressed with small blocks of stone and with red mortar and double bands of brick every 7-10 courses. It was flanked with round towers filled with rubble up to the first floor, where small tegular windows were set. Remains can be seen at rue des Ursulines no. 12, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, and the N and S sides of the Cathedral.

Remains of a round temple are at no. 7, rue de Lucé. The Musée de la Société archéologique de Touraine (Hôtel Gouin, 25 rue du Commerce), the former Musée (Place Foire-le-Roi, no. 8) and the Musée Martinien (Basilique Saint-Martin) all have collections of finds.


Grenier, Manuel I (1931) 424, 547; III, 2 (1958) 682-84; Carte archéologique de la Gaule romaine XIII, Indre-et-Loire (1960) 67ff; C. Lelong, “Note sur les vestiges visibles de Caesarodunum,” Caesarodunum, Bulletin de l'Institut d'Etudes latines de l'Université de Tours (1968) 315-26.


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