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AUTRICUM (Chartres) Dept. Eure-et-Loir, France.

Located 96 km SW of Paris on the Eure (Autura) river, Autricuin was the capital of the Carnutes (Ptol. 2.8.10), who at first resisted the Romans (as shown in the death of Tasgetios) in the massacre of some Roman merchants and a Roman officer at Cenabuin (Orléans) and in their sending 12,000 men to relieve Alesia, but they were submissive after the defeat of Vercingetorix. (Caes. BGall. 5.25; 6.3; 7.3, 75; 8.4, 31, 38, etc.) Autricuin became one of the six allied Lyonese cities. Governed by a legatus Augusti pro praetore assisted by a procurator Augusti, and with a full complement of judges, Autricum suffered the counterblows of the great barbarian invasions (A.D. 275); it was taken in 742 by the Norman Thierry.

Very little is known of the Carnutian settlement (a hammer of polished stone and Late Iron Age pottery) and not very much was known except by chance finds, at least until 1962, of the Gallo-Roman city. This city occupied the end of the plain of Beauce and the slopes which go down to the Eure; suburbs and cemeteries surround it at the NE, at the SE and at the S, bordering the Roman routes which connect it to Dreux, Sens, and Orléans, Blois, Le Mans, and Verneuil. The plan of the city seems to be preserved in the orientation and spacing of several present-day streets. Their direction N-NE—S-SW would seem confirmed by the discovery in 1968, at the foot of the Chapel Saint-Piat, of a white marble base of what perhaps was a temple, and ca. 150 in to the N of a building of small stones with a series of square rooms and a doorway opening on a court (perhaps a forum with small shops). This orientation is the same as that of walls observed here and there in the same quarter, of three walls discovered in 1962 under the ancient Chapel Saint-Serge, or the well-known walls of the crypt of the cathedral thought mistakenly to be part of the Roman enclosing wall. This latter has been the subject of different hypotheses; for example, with a trapezoidal plan, the wall would have surrounded the whole of the old quarter of the present city, but the discovery of large exterior walls to the SE and SW does not substantiate this layout.

Among recent discoveries, the most interesting is that in 1965 to the E in the quarter of Saint-André of an amphitheater (unfortunately reduced to the foundations: three concentric walls joined by radiating ones). If the sustaining walls attached to the slope mark the outline of the cavea, the ellipse would have been about 117.5 x 102.5 m; the street, Cloître Saint-André, reproduces more or less the outline of the amphitheater. It seems that there was no scaena; one can then assume a separate theater elsewhere.

Numerous remains have been found accidentally (aqueducts, drains, hypocausts to the S and SW, kilns, columns and capitals, cornices, mosaics with figures, some funerary sculpture, coins, a very few inscriptions), but the non-systematic nature of the excavations makes any interpretation of them hazardous. Autricum needs further excavation.

The Musée Municipal preserves many of the finds. In addition there are archaeological storehouses at the Société Archéologique and at the cellar of Loëns.


“Procès-Verbaux,” Bull. Soc. Arch. d'Eure-&-Loir (1856-1935) passim; G. Boisvillette, Statistique arch. d'E-&-L. (1864); P. Buisson & P. Bellier de la Chavignerie, Tableau de la Ville de Ch. en 1750 (1896); L. Bonnard, in REA 15 (1913) 60-72; C. Challine, Recherches sur Ch. (1918); “Mémoires,” Bull. Soc. Arch. d'E.-&-L. 23 (1968) 260-67; 21 (1957-61) 279-88; “Chroniques,” ibid. 2 (1966) 18-39; Report in Gallia 26 (1968) 321-24.


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    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.25
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