, Ptol. 2.7.6
), the capital of the Pictones or Pictavi, one of the Celtic nations south of the Loire.
The flame is first mentioned in the eighth book of the Gallic war (8.26, 27.).
At a later time, after the fashion of many other capital towns in Gallia, it took the name of the people, Pictavi, whence comes the modern name Poitiers.
(Ammianus Marcellinus, 15.11
.) Though De Valois and others did not admit Limonum to be Poitiers,
and fixed Augustoritum the capital of the Lemovices at Limoges,
the evidence of the roads shows that Limonum must be Poitiers.
Magnon, a writer of the 9th century, calls Poitiers by
the name of Pictavus Limonum; and inscriptions also found at Poitiers
confirm the other evidence.
There is a place called Vieux-Poitiers,
more than 15 Roman miles north of Poitiers,
but though it seems to have been an old town, it is quite a different place from the Poitiers
which is the site of Limonum.
The conquest of the Pictavi cost the Romans little trouble, we may suppose, for little is said of them. In B.C. 51, C. Caninius, a legatus of Caesar, came to the relief of Duratius, a Gaul and a Roman ally, who was blockaded in Limonum by Dumnacus, the chief of the Andes.
The siege was raised, and Dumnacus was subsequently defeated.
The remains of the huge amphitheatre of Limonum are described by M. Dufour, in his Histoire de Poitou
(quoted in the Guide du Voyageur, par
Richard et Hocquart). M. Dufour found the walls of the amphitheatre three feet and a half below the present level of the soil.
The walls are seven French feet thick.
It is estimated that this amphitheatre [p. 2.193]
would contain 20,000 spectators, from which estimate we must conclude that the dimensions and outline of the building can be accurately determined. M. Dufour says: “On the level of the present soil, there are some vestiges of the corridors or covered porticoes, which led, by means of the vomitoria, into the different galleries: the part which is least damaged at present is in the stables of the Hotel d'Evreux.
A principal arch, which led into the arena, is still nearly entire, though the interior facings have been almost completely removed.”