(Lillebonne) Seine-Maritime, France.
Chief city of the Caletes, on the S boundary of
Gallia Belgica. The Seine was the frontier. To the E were
the Veliocasses and to the S, across the river, the Lexovii.
7.75) notes that the Caletes provided the
Armorican line with 10,000 men, besides sending a detachment to the relief force during the siege of Alesia.
The city was built in the 1st c. A.D. on an inlet of
the Seine, sheltered from the W winds by a cliff ca. 100
m high, which provided a safe roadstead for unloading
ships coming down the river. Sea-going vessels could then
follow the estuary to the Channel and the S coast of
Britain. The cargoes came by the Rhône-Saône-Seine
route, bringing Mediterranean products to the English
Channel—a long inland waterway with, midway, a short
portage overland between the Saône and the upper valley
of the Seine (Strab).
In the 2d c. Ptolemy mentioned the name and function
of the city and its imperial foundation. The Antonine
also mentions the Juliobona relay stage and its
distance from the stages nearest it, on both the decumanus and the cardo. The Peutinger Table
places Juliobona on the route from Caracotinum (Harfleur) to Augustobonam (Troyes); an extensive network of roads
connected the city with the interior of the region.
Two valleys converged near the ancient port, one lying
N-S, the other E-W. When the great tides came, the harbor waters could spill over into the N valley, which was
flatter. Two hills commanded the port to the W. On the
farther hill the first Roman castrum was built for defense, replaced later by a series of forts. The hill nearer
the port was cut away considerably, to accommodate the
amphitheater. The city grew around the forum (modern
Place de l'Eglise) along the cardo and decumanus, and
on the outskirts villas sprang up along these roads. A
temple stood on the left side of the cardo, NW of the
forum, on the site of the present-day church (which
explains its unorthodox N-S orientation).
The port occupied the lower part of the valley between
the chalk cliffs that sheltered it to W and E. Its site can
still be seen, since the shifting soil in the area has prevented any building. Towards the city, a quay built of
large stones, and with a few mooring rings, marked the
boundary of the port. It varied in depth, and ships were
able to beach at low tide. Objects dropped overboard
have often been found on the site of the port.
The number of potsherds excavated at Lillebonne, out
of proporion for residential areas, proves that the city
had warehouses and carried on vigorous trading. An
ingot of stamped lead weighing 43.5 kg found in 1840
came from the Charterhouse mines, in the Mendip Hills
in Somerset, while the large number of amphorae shows
that Juliobona imported wines, oil, and olives from the
Mediterranean regions. One of the amphorae had a
Spanish trademark. Quantities of oyster shells of the
Ostrea type have been found in the soil all over the city,
evidently brought in from the Channel coast. Manufactured products indicate a variety of craftsmen: a lead
casket containing a funerary urn (now in the museum)
is evidence of metalworking activity, together with the
lead ingot referred to above. The presence of goldsmiths
is shown by a silver salver, its edge decorated with animals from the local fauna.
The extant monuments are a theater, two bath buildings, two villas, and part of the city rampart. The theater,
outside the city SW of the forum, is backed against a
hill, which was cut out to accommodate the foundations.
Originally it was an elliptical amphitheater designed for
games, combats of gladiators and wild beasts, and 48 m
long. It was built in the 1st c. A.D. (walls with courses of
brick) close to the port, from which it was separated
by the cardo. After the city was completely destroyed,
in the middle of the 2d c., the increase in the Latin-speaking population made it possible to turn the building into
a theater where plays could be given at less cost than
amphitheater entertainments. The tiers and upper boxes
were built on a circular plan S of the original ellipse,
and were designed to seat perhaps 6000 people. The
erection of the theater may be attributed to Hadrian who,
according to his putative biographer, aedificavit theatra
in plerisque civitatibus. The emperor passed through the
region on his way to Britain, as we know from an inscription from a monument he built at Elbeuf. Destroyed
in the barbarian invasions of 273, the theater was made
into a stronghold: the exits were barricaded, wells were
dug, and baths put up in the arena. Later still, when the
great forts on the English coast were being built (Portchester), Carausius' fleet, which was based at the port
of Juliobona, used one of the theater boxes as a warehouse.
A few meters N of the theater stood the public baths.
The statue of a goddess found there is now in the Musée
des Antiquités in Rouen. Another bath building in the
Alincourt quarter had rich facings of marble. Also discovered in the 19th c. was the great gilded bronze statue
of Apollo, now in the Louvre.
A villa outside the city walls, below the decumanus,
was also found in the 19th c., and a tomb near it contained luxurious grave gifts: 45 articles, four of solid
silver (these finds are now in the Lillebonne museum).
A second villa was discovered a few meters from the
N quay of the port, beside the decumanus. The mosaic
(now in the Rouen museum) found there shows hunting
scenes around a central allegorical medallion. It bears
the names of two artists, T. SEN FILIX, C. PUTEOLANUS
(citizen of Pozzuoli) and AMOR C. K. DISCIPULUS (his
pupil Amor of the city of the Kaletes).
A few traces of the rampart that ringed the upper part
of the city can still be seen. It was built of large stones,
some of them reused gravestones with inscriptions. Everything indicates hurried construction in time of invasion.
F. Rever, Mémoire sur les ruines de
(1821); J.B.D. Cochet, Mémoire sur une
remarquable sépulture romaine trouvée à Lillebonne
(1866); id., Répertoire Arch. du Départ. de la Seine Inféieure
(1971); R. Lantier, La Villa romaine de Lillebonne
(1913); A. Grenier, Le Théâtre de Lillebonne
(1956); M. Yvart, Découverte du rempart gallo-romain
(1959); L. Harmand, La Villa de la
Mosaïque de Lillebonne
(1965); H. P. Eydoux, Les terrassiers de l'Histoire