Pas de Calais, France.
In the arrondissement of Dunkirk; chief town in the canton. Historians in the 18th and 19th c. long debated whether Cassel was the capital of the civitas of the Morini or of the
. It is now acknowledged that Cassel, situated
beyond the Aa (the river bounding the city of the Morini)
was in fact the chief city of the civitas Menapiorum. It
is often mentioned in the ancient itineraries of Tournai
and Cologne. Few traces of the ancient city have been
located, but the richness of the chance finds leads one
to suppose that it was an important place: a bronze
equestrian statue, a bust of Galba, also in bronze. Three
ancient roads that do not appear in contemporary guides
can still be seen on the terrain: the road from Cassel to
Thiennes (on the Lys) and two going from Cassel to the
North Sea, possibly toward the salty marshlands (we
know how important the salt industry was for the Morini
and the Atrebates).
The events of the 3d c. were to be fatal for Cassel.
A rampart stands atop the city, a few traces of which
were discovered in the 19th c. Cassel was superseded as
capital of the Menapii
by Tournai after Gaul was reorganized under Diocletian and Constantine. The civitas
Menapiorum became the civitas Turnencensium.
A. Schayes, “Mémoire sur le Castellum
Morinorum,” Mem. de la Soc. Acad. de Morinie
133-34; M. de Symtere, “Memoire sur Cassel,” Congrès arch. de France, Session de Dunkerque
(1861) 180-241; E. Cantineau-Cortyl, “Notes archéologiques et
déductions historiques à propos des constructions découvertes et des terrains reconnus pendant les travaux
exécutés en avril 1904 dans la partie Est de la butte du
Castellum,” Bulletin de la Commission Historique du
26 (1904) 217-22; E. Espérandieu, Recueil général des bas reliefs
. . . (1907-55) v, no. 3975; E. Will, “Le sel des Morins et des Ménapiens,” Mélanges Grenier