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An Augustan colony of Gallia Narbonensis on the road from Valence to Briançon, in the Drôme valley, and an important religious center of the Vocontii. Christian inscriptions of the 5th-6th c. attest the presence of a community there. The city is mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary, the Peutinger Table, the Jerusalem Itinerary, the Notitia Galliarum, and by Stephen of Byzantium.

A wall 1940 m long surrounds the city; it is partly Roman and partly mediaeval but the plan and foundations of the mediaeval wall are probably Roman. Construction is of rubblework bonded with very hard cement, faced on both sides with small stones. The rampart is reinforced by round, square, and polygonal towers, some of which have bands of brick, suggesting that they were built or restored fairly late. Four gates are open, the Porte Saint-Pierre and Porte Anglaise to the W, Porte Saint-Vincent to the S, and to the E the Porte Saint-Marcel, the only one flanked by towers.

Encased in the Porte Saint-Marcel is a monumental arch, of which an arcade remains as well as the toothing stones of the adjoining sections: a barrel vault with interlace in low relief, a frieze with sacrificial scenes, a bull's head on the keystone of the archivolt, more bulls' heads on the piers, and in the corner-pieces tritons blowing horns. A stone carved with a design of pearls and spirals has been found in the oldest part of the fortified gate, and a cornice fragment carved with heart-shaped ornament was found in the body of the N tower known as the Porte Saint-Agathe. Fragments bearing inscriptions can be seen at several points in the wall and towers. These finds and the monumental arch are further evidence for a late date (4th c.?).

The city is roughly oblong, narrower in the upper (N) section that includes the Des Beaumes plateau and the area known as La Citadelle. Low arches were built in the Chastel quarter; they served as buttresses. The decumanus maximus, which corresponds to the Grande Rue (from the Porte Saint-Pierre to the Porte Saint-Marcel), as well as a secondary decumanus and the cardo maximus can still be traced in the streets of the modern town.

The water supply of Dea Augusta came from two aqueducts, one from the Rays springs in the commune of Romeyer to the NE, the other from Valcroissant to the E, remains of which are still standing. In each case the conduit is built of cut stones, probably because of the steep slopes. Traces of the first aqueduct have been located mainly between the Rays springs and the hamlet of Moulin. The aqueduct leads to a water tower with a cistern, in the S part of the Des Beaumes plateau.

Traces of the second aqueduct have been found in a number of places, but no signs of a conduit at the source; the water must have been caught downstream from the pass, where many slabs have been discovered. The width and height of the channel varies from place to place, but the method of construction is much the same throughout: paving stones, 1 m wide, laid lengthwise form the base of the conduit. These stones form a projecting band down the middle, and on each side slabs are laid vertically to form piers. The slabs are laid close together by means of grooves, and mortared. Over the piers is a rubblework arch topped with fairly thick masonry. The conduit is in many places covered with a limestone deposit, sometimes 0.05 cm thick. Only one other example of this type of conduit is known, in an aqueduct at Bourges. It should be noted that this kind of masonry is used only in the upper sections; in the lower ones the channels are built of quarry-stones.

The water was carried farther by various piping systems; recently two such systems were found at the Nouvelle Poste, near the cathedral. The base is of tiles fitted together and laid on a bed of mortar; the sides are made of quarry stones with paving stones on top. Other pipes have been located in the Chastel and Palat quarters and in the modern cemetery.

Few public monuments have been excavated. Some baths have been identified, by remains of hypocausts and by slabs of marble and porphyry used as facing, outside the surrounding wall to the NE on both banks of the Meyrosse. Nor has anything conclusive been found NW of the rampart, in the Palat quarter, where the Carte Archéologique places a hypothetical theater (or amphitheater?) in a hollow on the hillside. However, two fragments of balustrade reused in the rampart in the Late Empire very possibly came from a theater. Outside this same rampart three Roman bridges have been located: the Meyrosse and Saint-Eloi bridges to the E and the Pont-Rompu to the S. All three have been rebuilt since the 15th c., but with Roman blocks or on Roman foundations.

Two necropoleis, to NE and NW, have yielded a number of inscribed funerary stelai and some sarcophagi. Many more stelai were reused in the rampart. Several of the inscriptions and sarcophagi are Christian.

Villas and various unidentified buildings have been located both within and outside the rampart. Columns, capitals, marble slabs, pottery, and mosaics have been found; among the latter is a floor in the SE quarter near the cathedral depicting Neptune on a sea-horse surrounded by hexagons decorated with fish. A Christian mosaic showing the four rivers of Paradise was found in the same district (now in the Salle des Archives at the Hôtel de Ville).

Die had a number of temples, known however only from altar inscriptions or religious statues: a Temple of Jupiter (CIL XII, 1563), a temple of Vulcan (App. epigr. of Carte arch., 9), a temple of Kybele and Attis (seven altars or fragments of taurobolium altars), and a temple of Dea Augusta Andarta (CIL XII, 1556-60).

Monuments and objects found at Die are housed in a municipal museum.


H. Desaye, “Notes sur laqueduc romain de Valcroissant à Die,” Rhodania (1952) 8-17; id., Die à l'époque romaine (forthcoming); J. Sautel, Carte archéologique de la Gaule romaine XI, Drôme (1957) 44-71PI; Grenier, Manuel IV (1960) 106-11.


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