previous next

FORUM JULII

Eth. FORUM JULII (Fréjus), a town of Gallia Narbonensis on the coast between Telo Martius (Toulon) and the Varus (Var). Strabo (p. 184) calls it Φόρον Ἰούλιον, and a naval station of Caesar Augustus, situated between Olbia and Antipolis, and distant from Massilia about 600 stadia. But the name Forum Julii existed before the time of Caesar Augustus, for it is mentioned in a letter of Plancus to Cicero, B.C. 43 (ad Fam. 10.15); and he makes it 24 M. P. from Forum Voconii to Forum Julii (10.17). We may infer that it took its name from C. Julius Caesar, though there is no evidence about what he did to the place, and that Augustus improved it. Pliny (3.5) names it “Forum Julii Octavanorum [p. 1.909]Colonia quae Pacensis appellatur et Classica.” The river Argenteus was within its limits. (Ptol. 2.10.) The name Octavanorum, mentioned also by Mela (2.5), is supposed to show that a detachment from the eighth legion was settled here. The name Classica is probably derived from the fleet being stationed here by Augustus. The place has the various names of Oppidum Forojuliense (Tac. Ann. 4.5); Forum Julium Narbonensis Galliae Colonia (Ann. 2.63); Colonia Forojuliensis (Tac. Hist. 2.14).

Forum Julii was a naval station in the time of Tiberius, and ships of war were kept there, which Augustus took at the battle of Actium, and used for the defence of this part of the Gallic coast (Tac. Ann. 4.63); and it is again mentioned as an important naval station in the time of Vitellius (Tac. Hist. 2.43). It was the birthplace of Cn. Agricola, the conqueror of Britain (Tacit. Agric. 4); and an old and distinguished Colonia, as Tacitus calls it. The sauce called “garum” was made here. (Plin. Nat. 31.7, 8.)

The port of Forum Julii was at the bottom of a small bay, but the entrance has been filled up by the earth brought down by the Argenteus, which river flows a little to the west of Forum Julii. The traces of the two moles which formed the entrance of the port, still remain; but the entrance is now about 3000 feet from the sea. The width of the Roman port is estimated at about 1500 feet, and its depth from the entrance between the moles at 1680 feet. These dimensions show that the port of Forum Julium may be compared with those made by Trajan at the mouth of the Tiber and at Centum Cellae, and with the port of Antium. There is no water now in the port of Fréjus, except a small lagune, near a quay of Roman construction, which forms an angle with the mole on the right to one who enters the port. The traces of the walls show that the old town was much larger than the modern.

There is a triumphal arch, which is supposed to have formed one of the four gates of the town. The circuit of the amphitheatre is about 650 feet. The arena, which is buried under rubbish, is probably entire. A road has been formed through the two chief entrances right through it, as in the amphitheatre at Trèves. Near the amphitheatre is one of the old gates, which is at the bottom of a concave semicircle, formed of thick walls and defended by a tower, at each extremity. The aqueduct brought into the town the waters of the Siagne from a distance of more than 20 miles. The channel for the water in some parts was under ground, in others it was supported on arches. At the gate of Fréjus it divided into two branches, one of which entered the town and the other went to the port. Parts of this aqueduct are well preserved.

The Roman Via Aurelia passed by Forum Julii; and there were roads from Forum Julii to Aquae Sextiae, Massilia, and Arelate. (D'Anville, Notice, &c.; Walckenaer, Géog. &c. vol. ii. p. 9; Ukert, Gallien, p. 429; Richard et Hocquet, Guide du Voyageur, p. 797.)

[G.L]

hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Tacitus, Annales, 4.5
    • Tacitus, Annales, 4.63
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.14
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.43
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 31.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 31.8
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.10
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: