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CU´LARO afterwards GRATIANO´POLIS (Grenoble), a town in Gallia, on the Isara (Isère), a branch of the Rhone. It is placed in the Table, under the corrupted name of Culabone, on a road from the Alpis Cottia (Mont Genèvre) to Vienna (Vienne). It has been a matter of dispute whether Cularo was in the territory of the Allobroges, but there is little doubt that it was. There is a letter from Plancus to Cicero (Cic. Fam. 10.23), which is dated “Cularone ex finibus Allobrogum.” The common reading is “Civarone,” or “Ciurone;” but there is also a reading “Cuiarone,” which in fact is the same, the only difference being in the position of the “i.” There seems no doubt that this name represents “Cularone.” A modern French writer, who admits that Plancus wrote his letter from Cularo, maintains that “ex finibus” means “near the frontiers of the Allobroges,” a translation quite inconsistent with Latin usage. The Geographer of Ravenna writes the name “Curaro,” instead of “Cularo;” and “Curaro” only differs from “Cuiaro,” one of the readings in Cicero's text, in a single letter, “i,” which may easily be confounded with “r.”

It appears from two inscriptions found on one of the old gates of Grenoble,--one of which has only been demolished within the memory of man,--that Cularo retained its name to A.D. 288. Nothing is known of Cularo for a long time after this letter of Plancus. Three hundred and thirty-two years later M. Aurelius Val. Maximianus restored the walls of Cularo, and gave his surname Herculeus to that gate of the city which was previously called Viennensis, and the name Jovia to the gate which was previously called Romana. This is proved by the two inscriptions, which have been correctly published in the work of Champoilion de Figeac, Antiquités de Grenoble. It is said that 83 inscriptions have been found at Grenoble at different times. The restoration of the walls of Cularo, already mentioned, was made about A.D. 288. In A.D. 379, the emperor Gratianus, being in Gaul, enlarged Cularo, and gave to it his own name Gratianopolis, which it preserves in the corrupted form of Grenoble. It seems likely that Gratianus made it a bishop's see; at least we know that there was a bishop of Gratianopolis in A.D. 381. Civitas Gratianopolis appears in the Notitia of the provinces of Gallia among the cities of the division of Gallia called Viennensis; and yet the old name Cularo was [p. 1.716]sometimes still used, for in the Notitia of the Empire it is called Calaro, which means Cularo.

It has been supposed by some geographers that Cularo was on an eminence on the right bank of the Isère, but Grenoble is on the left bank of the river. There is, however, no foundation for this opinion, which seems to have been adopted by those who suppose that the Isara was the limit of the territory of the Allobroges, and that if Cularo was on the left bank it would not be within this territory. (D'Anville, Notice, &c.; Walckenaer, Géog. &c., vol. i. p. 263.)


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    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 10.23
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