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LOUSONNA or Leusonna (Lausanne-Vidy) Vaud, Switzerland.

Vicus on the upper N side of Lake Geneva. The name (CIL XIII, 5026) belonged to an oppidum of the Helvetii on the hill between the Flon and the Louve rivulet, where the cathedral now stands. The vicus on the shore (now Vidy) was founded ca. 15 B.C., and became an important harbor and market on the waterway from the Rhone to the Rhine, and station on the road from Genava and the Great St. Bernhard pass to Aventicum and Ariolica. It flourished until the incursions of the Alamanni in A.D. 260-65. The harbor remained in use well into the 4th c., but the center of habitation was moved back to the hilltop before A.D. 400, and partly fortified.

The vicus on the shore was laid out on a grid. The decumanus maximus, explored for over 800 m, ran ca. 100 m from the shore, with cardines giving access to the quays. Oblong lots ca. 12 m wide lined the porticoed streets. Public buildings include a forum with basilica and scholae, a main temple, smaller sanctuaries, and a bath. The basilica (over 60 x 23 m) closes off one side of the forum; it probably had an apsidal tribune on one short side. Built against one side of the basilica and opening on the forum were 12 shops. They were probably scholae of corporations such as the nautae l[ac]us Lemanno and nautae Louson[nenses,] attested on inscriptions found in the neighborhood. The forum temple of Gaulish type, square with a surrounding portico (13.6 m on a side), was perhaps dedicated to Jupiter. Three smaller sanctuaries in an enclosure (20 x 15 m) were dedicated to Neptune, Hercules, and an unknown deity.

The residential area was on the inland side of the decumanus towards the hills. One villa has been made into the local museum. One tower of the late Roman fortifications is visible inside the cathedral. Most finds are in the Musée Romain de Vidy.


F. Gilliard, “Un quartier de Lousonna,” Fouilles de Vidy 1 (1939); E. Howald & E. Meyer, Die römische Schweiz (n.d.) nos. 152-54 (inscriptions); L. Blondel, Les origines de Lausanne (1943)PI; F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit (3d ed. 1948) 40-41, 616-19; H. Bögli et al., “Lousonna,” Bibl. Hist. Vaudoise 42 (1969)PI; summary: Jb. Schweiz. Gesell. f. Urgeschichte 54 (1968-69) 141-42P.


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