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NARBO MARTIUS ( Νάρβων: Eth.Ναρβωνήσιος, Eth.Ναρβωνίτης, Eth. Ναρβαῖος, Eth. Narbonensis: Narbonne), a town of the Provincia or Gallia Narbonensis. Ptolemy (2.10.9) enumerates it among the inland towns of the Volcae Tectosages, under the name of Narbon Colonia. He places it five minutes south of the latitude of Massalia (Marseille), and in 43° N. lat. It is, however, some minutes north of 43° N. lat., and more than five minutes south of Massilia. Hipparchus placed Narbo and Massilia nearly in the same latitude. (Strab. ii. p.106.) Narbo was on the Atax (Aude), and xii. M.P. from the sea. (Plin. Nat. 3.4.) Pliny seems to place Narbo in the territory of the Volcae Tectosages, but his text is obscure. Strabo (iv. p.186) distinctly places Narbo in the territory of the Volcae Arecomici, but he adds that Nemausus was their chief city. It seems, indeed, more probable that the Volcae Arecomici possessed the coast about Narbo, for the chief city of the Tectosages was Tolosa (Toulouse), in the basin of the Garonne. Mela (2.5) calls Narbo a colonia of the Atacini [ATAX] and the Decumani. Ausonius (De Claris Urbibus, Narbo) does not say, as some have supposed, that Narbo was in the territory of the Tectosages, but that the Tectosages formed the western part of Narbonensis, which is true. The conclusion from Caesar (Caes. Gal. 7.6) is that Narbo was not in the country of the Arecomici; but Caesar did not trouble himself about such matters.

The position of Narbo at Narbonne is easily determined by the name, by the river Atax, and by the measures along the road from Italy into Spain. The road from Arelate (Arles) through Nemausus (Nîmes), Cessero (St. Tiberi), and Baeterrae (Béziers) to Narbo, is in the Antonine Itin. There is also a route both in the Antonine Itin. and in the Table from Burdigala (Bordeaux), through Tolosa (Toulouse) and Carcaso (Carcassonne) to Narbo.

The name Narbon ( Νάρβων was also one name of the river Atax, for Polybius calls the river Narbon. [ATAX] The form Narbona occurs in inscriptions; and there is authority for this form also in the MSS. of Caesar. (B. G. 3.20, ed. Schn., and 8.46.) According to Stephanus (s. v.), Marcianus calls it Narbonesia; but this is clearly an adjective form. Hecataeus, who is the authority for the Ethnic name Ναρβαῖοι, must have supposed a name Narba or Narbe. The origin of the name Martius is not certain. The Roman colony of Narbo was settled, B.C. 118, in the consulship of Q. Marcius Rex and M. Porcius Cato; but the founder of the colony was L. Licinius Crassus. (Cic. Brut. 100.4. 3) It has been conjectured that the name Martius was given to the place because of the warlike natives of the country against whom the settlers had to protect themselves. But this is not probable. Others, again, have conjectured that its name is derived from the Legio Martia (Vell. Pater. 2.8, ed. Burmann); and the orthography Martia is defended by an inscription, Narbo Mart. (Gruter, ccxxix.), and a coin of Goltzius. To this it is objected, by a writer quoted by Ukert (Gallien, p. 410), that the Legio Martia was first formed by Augustus, and that Cicero mentions the title Martius. (Ad Fam. 10.33.) Forbiger copies Ukert. It appears that neither of them looked at Cicero's letter, in which he speaks, not of Narbo Martius or Marcius, but of the Legio Martia, which existed before the time of Augustus. Cicero, however, does speak of Narbo Marcius, as it stands in Orelli's text. (Pro Font. 100.1.) The Latin MSS. write the word both Marcius and Martius; and the same variation occurs in many other words of the same termination. The most probable conclusion is, that the name Martius or Marcius is the name of the consul Marcius (B.C. 118), who was fighting in this year against a Ligurian people, named Stoeni. The name may have been written Narbo Marcius in Cicero's time, and afterwards corrupted.

Narbo was an old town, placed in a good position on the road into Spain and into the basin of the Garonne; a commercial place, we may certainly assume, from the earliest time of its existence. There was a tradition that the country of Narbonne was once occupied by Bebryces. (Dio Cass. Frag. Vales. vi. ed. Reim., and the reference to Zonaras.) The earliest writer who mentions Narbo is Hecataeus, quoted by Stephanus; and, accordingly, we conclude that Narbo was well known to the Greeks in the fifth century before the Christian aera. The first Roman settlement in South Gallia was Aquae Sextiae (Aix), on the east side of the Rhone. The second was Narbo Martius, by which the Romans secured the road into Spain. Cicero calls Narbo “a colony of Roman citizens, a watch tower of the Roman people, and a bulwark opposed and placed in front of the nations in those parts.” During Caesar's wars in Gallia this Roman colony was an important position. When P. Crassus invaded Aquitania (B.C. 56) he got help from Tolosa, Carcase, and Narbo, at all which places there was a muster-roll of the fighting men. (B. G. 3.20.) In the great rising of the Galli (B.C. 52), Narbo was threatened by Lucterius, but Caesar came to its relief. (B. G. 7.7.) A second colony was settled at Narbo, or the old one rather strengthened by a supplementum under the dictator Caesar (Sueton. Tiber. 100.4) by Tiberius Claudius Nero, the father of the emperor Tiberius. Some of the tenth legion, Caesar's favourite legion, were settled here, as we may infer from the name Decumanorum Colonia. (Plin. Nat. 3.4.) The name Julia Paterna, which appears on inscriptions and in Martial, is derived from the dictator Caesar. The establishment of Narbo was the cause of the decline of Massilia. Strabo, who wrote in the time of Augustus and Tiberius, says (iv. p. 186): “that Narbo is the port of the Volcae Arecomici, but it might more properly be called the port of the rest of Celtice; so much does it surpass other towns in trade.” (The latter part of Strabo's text is corrupt here.) The tin of the north-west part of the Spanish peninsula and of Britain passed by way of Narbo, as [p. 2.399]it did also to Massilia. (Diod. 5.38.) There was at Narbo a great variety of dress and of people, who were attracted by the commercial advantages of the city. It was adorned with public buildings, after the fashion of Roman towns. (Martial, 8.72; Auson. Narbo; Sidon. Apollin. Carm. 23.) A temple of Parian marble, probably some poetical exaggeration, is spoken of by Ausonius; and Sidonius enumerates, in half a dozen miserable lines, the glories of ancient Narbonne, its gates, porticoes, forum, theatre, and other things. He speaks of a mint, and a bridge over the Atax. The coast of Narbonne was and is famed for oysters.

Not a single Roman monument is standing at Narbonne, but the sites of many buildings are ascertained. Numerous architectural fragments, friezes, bas-reliefs, tombstones, and inscriptions, still remain. Some inscriptions are or were preserved in the courts and on the great staircase of the episcopal palace. There is a museum of antiquities at Narbonne, which contains fragments of mosaic, busts, heads, cinerary urns, and a great number of inscriptions.


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