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GRAND Vosges, France.

This was an important Gallo-Roman town of the civitas Leucorum, its ancient name is not now known. Possibly Grand was the locality cited in the Peutinger Table under the name of Andesina.

The built-up area, of indisputably urban character, is situated on a forested plateau, away from major strategic and commercial routes of the Empire. Grand undoubtedly owed its growth to the existence of a cult to a native healing deity (Grannus?), which was replaced after the Roman conquest by a Sanctuary to Apollo. A passage of the Alethia (3.204-9) by Claudius Marius Victor (5th c.) very probably alludes to the divinity of Grand. Perhaps the emperor Constantine came to pray to the Apollo of Grand when, according to the Panegyric of 310 (Paneg. lat. 7.21), he made a detour to visit “the world's most beautiful temple” and to receive the prophetic vision which revealed to him his future power. One may suppose that, from the end of the 1st c., a center of national independence and resistance developed around the temple of Celtic origin. Essentially for this reason the Romans chose to make Grand an example of the town-making which was the sign of their presence and authority. Although excavations have shown that the town was destroyed several times, there was no break in occupation from the time of Gallic independence to the Merovingian period.

Today one can still see the remains of a certain number of monuments at the ancient site. The great mosaic, preserved in situ, was discovered in 1883. The excavation of 1961-62 proved that it formed part of a basilica of eastern type. The proportions of the basilica are about the same as those of the one built by Vitruvius at Fano (De Arch. 5, § I), but it is of smaller size. The walls were built of small, regular, quarry-stone ashlars with buttresses on the other side and interior compartments. They were faced with marble slabs, several of which are still in place. Possibly the floor was paved in marble too. Fragments of fluted columns and of capitals of composite Classical style have been discovered. The building was roofed with limestone slabs, using the technique alluded to by Pliny the Elder (HN 1.36). A large thoroughfare passed in front of the basilica; possibly it was the town cardo. It appears to us as a covered gallery giving access to both sides of the facade and forming with it a large monumental ensemble.

On the other side of this thoroughfare was built a monument whose plan and purpose are still little known. However, the nature of the remains found with it and its location at the official center of the ancient town suggest that, if it was not the very Temple of Apollo to which the town owed its fame, it was at least an important part of a great cult complex lasting until the presentday church. To date only the NW corner of a platform has been excavated. On the platform were raised bases apparently intended to carry the decoration of marble and of stone sculpture. Indeed, all around the masonry there extended a layer of broken soft stone in which more than 1500 sculptural and architectural fragments of all sizes were gathered. A great number of them present the usual motifs of Graeco-Roman decorative sculpture. Some small figures in medium or high relief seem to have formed part of a retinue of Bacchus, with his customary acolytes and animals. Certain sculptures are of larger size, in particular a child's head presumed to be a portrait of Geta, son of Septimius Severus. Finally, a very few pieces belonged to a colossal statue, most notably a left hand whose gesture recalls the imperial posture known from statues and medals. The presence of such a statue in the monument or its immediate vicinity leads to the supposition that an imperial personage, perhaps one of the Severans, took an interest in the Grand sanctuary. In this connection one must recall the monumental inscription found in the 19th c. (CIL XIII, 5940). In any event, the style of all these sculptures and their expert technique, unrelated to provincial products, prove that this is an imported, commissioned work, intended as propaganda, no doubt to consecrate the memory of a political event and to serve as an accessory to the imperial cult.

Recent excavations inside the village have further revealed foundations and sculptures which perhaps belonged to the public baths. A large network of water channels and wells has been discovered, as well as the course of a rampart very carefully built with small ashlars.

At the E end of the village is the monument usually called the amphitheater. It is really a hybrid edifice intended to combine two functions, originally different in intention and characteristics: on the one hand, a theater reserved for dramatic productions; on the other, an amphitheater with an arena designed for the maneuvers of gladiators and hunts of wild animals. The long axis measures 149.5 m, the short, ca. 65 m. Inexpensively built, the cavea takes advantage of the slope (ca. 15 m) of a small valley. Eight vomitoria open in the interior wall. The cavea is divided into three sectors by two radiating walls. Three zones are set off by two boundary walls bordered by a terrace. At the bottom of the small valley the elliptical arena communicates to the exterior by two monumental corridors furnished with buttresses, the ones to the W built of large ashlars, the ones to the E made of small regularly hewn quarry stones. The tiers of seats passed above these corridors and were held up by the arches decorating the monument's N facade. Only two of these arches survive today. Two masonry blocks, symmetrical with respect to the arena, contained carceres, which opened in the N walls of the two corridors. Below these corridors and the arena itself ran a sewer. Recent excavations have contributed evidence that the theater was no longer in use after 170-80.

The artifacts recovered before 1960 are deposited in the Epinal Museum. Those collected since then are kept at Grand, in cases around the mosaic, pending the construction of a local museum.


J.B.P. Pollois, Mémoires sur quelques antiquités remarquables du département des Vosges (1843) 1-58, pls. 1-16MPI; M. Toussaint, “Grand à l'époque gallo-romaine,” in Pays Lorrain (1933) 529-48PI; id., Répertoire archéologique Vosges (1948) 79-130; R. Billoret, Grand la Gallo-Romaine s.l.n.d. (1965)MPI; id., “La basilique de la ville antique de Grand,” in Comptes-rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions (1965) 63-74PI; id. in Gallia 24 (1966); 26 (1968); 28 (1970)PI; 30 (1972); E. Salin, “Aperçu général de la ville antique de Grand” in Comptes-rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions (1965) 75-86.


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