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AVARICUM

AVARICUM (Bourges), the chief town of the Bituriges, a Celtic people (Caes. Gal. 7.13, 15), on the Avara, Evre, a branch of the Cher, which falls into the Loire. Caesar describes it as the finest city in almost all Gallia, and as nearly surrounded by a river and a marsh, with only one approach to it, and that very narrow. The modern town is situated at the junction of the Auron and the Evre, and each of these rivers receives other streams in or near the town. The wall of Avaricum is particularly described by Caesar (7.23). It was built, like all the Gallic town walls, of long beams of timber, placed at intervals of two feet; the beams, which were 40 feet long, being so placed that their ends were on the outside. The spaces between were filled up with earth, but in front on the outside with large stones. The beams were fastened together on the inner side. On these beams others were placed, and the intervals were filled up in like manner; and so on, till the wall had the re-quisite height. Caesar besieged Avaricum (B.C. 52) during the rising of the Galli under Vercingetorix. The place was taken by assault, and the Roman soldiers spared neither old men, women, nor children. Out of 40,000 persons, only 800 escaped the sword, and made their way to the camp of Vercingetorix, who was in the neighbourhood. Under the division of Augustus, the town was included in Aquitania, and it finally took the name of Bituriges or Biturigae, which seems to have become Biorgas in the middle ages, and finally Bourges, now the capital of the department of Cher. The position of Avaricum is determined by the Itineraries, from Augustonemetum, Clermont, to Avaricum; from Caesarodunum, Tours, to Avaricum, and other routes.

[G.L]

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