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FANUM MARTIS (Corseul) Côtes du Nord, France.

The ancient city, the center of which is now occupied by the small township of Corseul, was one of the chief towns of the Coriosolites tribe, and became the capital of the new civitas under Augustus. Built on a N-S and E-W grid plan, the city grew in the Claudian period and flourished under the Antonines. After uncertainty and economic recession in the 3d c. the city shrank in size, and many quarters were abandoned. In the 4th c., however, with the renaissance under Constantine, it came to life again although it had lost its title of capital to Aleto (St. Servan sur Mer), and the abandoned quarters were once more occupied.

To the E and outside the limits of the ancient city stands the most important monument, the temple of Le Haut-Bécherel. All that is left of this edifice—in area, the greatest religious monument in all Armorica, even in all Gaul—is the impressive remains of the cella. Excavations ca. 1868 traced the general plan of the temple (110 x 101 m). A huge central court, rectangular in shape, was open to the E and lined on the other three sides by a gallery formed by two parallel walls, the first of which probably supported a colonnade. The sanctuary proper, to the W, consisted of a hexagonal cella built of mortared rubble faced with small blocks and with iron joints, surrounded by an ambulatory. The sanctuary was reached by a monumental entrance opening on the W colonnade. On either side of the sanctuary, in the outer gallery wall, were two small rectangular rooms, and there were two other identical rooms in the N and S passageways. In the NE and SW corners of the courtyard were two quadrangular structures projecting into the interior; they had sturdy buttresses on their outer corners. The E wall of these structures extends to close off part of the great central court. It is not certain to what divinity this temple was dedicated, but the name would indicate that it was the god Mars.

Recent excavations have uncovered a residential sector, in particular the plan of a villa urbana from the Claudian period. Actually a country house in an urban setting, the building is of the so-called horseshoe type. The main building, rectangular and facing S, is flanked to the W by a wing at a right angle, forming a courtyard that is closed to the E by a wall. The courtyard, which contains a well, is lined on three sides by a portico and opens to the S on one of the paved streets of the ancient city. Excavation also revealed the substructures of a bath building erected in the 4th c. when this section of the city was reoccupied.

Most of the objects found can be seen at the Corseul Mairie, but some are in the museums of Rennes and Dinan. The Corseul church contains a fine funerary inscription dedicated to a woman from the Roman provinces of Africa.


E. Fornier, “Rapport sur les fouilles du Haut-Bécherel en Corseul,” Bulletin de la Société d'émulation des Cötes du Nord (1870); “Informations,” Gallia 27, 1 (1969) 248-51; 29, 2 (1971).


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