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DUROCORTORUM

DUROCORTORUM (Reims), is mentioned by Caesar (Caes. Gal. 6.44) as a town of the Remi, the first Belgic people north of the Matrona (Marne). It afterwards took the name of the people, Remi, from which comes the modern name Reims. Strabo (p. 194), who writes the name Duricortora (Δουρι-κόρτορα), calls it the metropolis of the Remi, and says that it “receives the Roman governors;” which Walckenaer interprets to mean that it was the residence of the Roman governors of Gallia Lugdunensis. The importance of the position is shown by the great number of Roman roads which ran from Duro-cortorum to all points of the compass. Ptolemy (2.9), who mentions it as the principal town of the Remi, has the form Δουροκόττορον; and Stephanus B. (s. v.) has Δοροκόττορος, with an Ethnic name Δοροκοττόριος. It is probable that the genuine name is given by Caesar and by Strabo; for Dur is a common element in Gallic names, both at the beginning and at the end; and the word Cort appears also in the names Corterate and Cortoriacum. Coins of Durocortorum are given by Mionnet.

In a fragment of an oration of Fronto (C. Frontonis Reliquiae, ed. Niebuhr, p. 271) there are the words “et illae vestrae Athenae Durocorthoro,” from which it is inferred that there was a school at Durocortorum, where rhetoric, a favourite study of the Galli, was cultivated. In Ammianus (15.11) the place is called Remi, and enumerated among the chief cities of Belgica Secunda. It was made the Metropolis of Belgica Secunda, and became an archi. episcopal see. The beautiful cathedral, in which the French kings were crowned, is said to have been built originally on the site of a Roman temple. Reims is on a stream, as the name implies, the Vêle, a branch of the Aisne.

Reims contained many edifices of the Roman period, out of the materials of which it is probable that the great churches have been constructed. There is still a triumphal arch, commonly called “L'Arc de triomphe de la porte de Mars,” of uncertain date. It consists of three arches with eight Corinthian columns. The central and largest arch is about 37 feet high; the whole is ornamented with bas-reliefs. The rubbish has been cleared away from the arch, and it has undergone some restorations, which do not appear to have improved it. There was another triumphal arch erected by Flavius Constantinus, but it has been destroyed. About 400 paces from the triumphal arch of the gate of Mars is the Mont-d'Arène, the form of which shows it to have been an amphitheatre; but there is no evidence that it was ever constructed of stone. It is conjectured that the enclosure was of wood. The cathedral contains a, piece of Roman sculpture commonly called the tomb of Jovinus, who attained to the honour of the Roman consulship. The reliefs are said to be in a good style. There are some traces of ancient Thermae at Reims in three houses in the Rue du Cloitre. Bergier, who wrote on the Roman roads, traces seven which branched out from Reims. The authority for the antiquities of Reims is the Description Historique et Statistique de la Ville de Reims, par J. B. F. Gérusez.

[G.L]

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