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NOIODUNUM (Jublains) Mayenne, France.

Mentioned by Ptolemy, and situated at the SE end of a huge granite plateau, Noiodunum seems to have been one of the leading cities of the Diablintes tribe from the 1st c. B.C. on. In the Imperial period it was made a chief city, becoming the economic and administrative center of the new civitas. After more than two centuries of prosperity the city was heavily damaged towards the end of the 3d c., managed to survive, and was finally abandoned about the end of the 6th c.

Excavations show that Noiodunum was laid out on a checkerboard plan oriented SE-NW from the decumanus. Only a few monuments on the outskirts can be seen today. The theater, at the S city exit, is more than a semi-circle—an arrangement fairly frequent in N Gaul. There is no podium. The temple, known as the Temple of Fortuna, is N of the city. It was rectangular, ringed with a peristyle, and the cella was approached by a stairway still visible in the E part of the monument.

The most interesting complex is called the burgus. It consists of a central building with an earthwork vallum around it, and a great circuit wall. The principal monument, which dates from the 1st c. A.D., is rectangular and flanked by four square pavilions to which little rooms were added towards the end of the 3d c. In the center of the building is a large rectangular atrium with an impluvium in the middle. The S wall has a doorway of cyclopean masonry; its jambs have deep grooves in them—traces of the closing mechanism. Two small similarly constructed doorways give onto the outside from two of the corner pavilions, while the latter are connected to the atrium by doorways with semicircular brick arches. The outer walls, 2.1 m thick and built with a core of mortared rubble faced with small blocks, have a subfoundation of large squared stones.

The building was unquestionably a defensive one; the earthwork vallum was originally duplicated by a trench, triangular in cross-section, which had a wide gate with masonry jambs in the SE corner. Finally, there are two small baths outside the central building, in the NE and SW recessed corners of the vallum. The huge trapezoidal rampart surrounding the complex was built in the second half of the 3d c.; it has 13 towers, an entrance gate to the E, and two posterns in the corners. The masonry is of the Classical type: coarse rubble between two carefully laid facings divided every seven rows by a triple layer of bricks. In the foundations are many reused architectural fragments.

Objects found in the excavations are in a storehouse recently built near the fortress. Other finds are in museums in Laval, Mayenne, and St. Germain-en-Laye.


Grenier, Manuel: defenses I, 454-63PI; theater III:2, 964-66P; temple IV:2, 777-86MP.


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