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NEMETACUM or NEMETOCENNA (Arras), the chief town of the Atrebates, a Belgic people. Caesar (Caes. Gal. 8.46) spent a winter at Nemetocenna at the close of his Gallic campaigns. In the inscription of Tongern there is a route from Castellum (Cassel) to Nemetacum, which is the same place as Nemetocenna. The distance from Cassel through Béthune to Arras is 43 M. P. The distance according to the Antonine Itin. from Cassel through Minariacum [MINARIACUM] is 55 M. P. There is also a route from Taruenna (Thérouenne) of 33 M. P. to Nemetacum. There is no place where these roads can meet except Arras. In the Greek texts of Ptolemy (2.9.7) the capital of the Atrebates is Origiacum (Ὀριγίακον); but it is said that the Palatine MS. has Metacon, and all the early editions of Ptolemy have Metacum. It seems possible, then, that Ptolemy's Metacum represents Nemetacum. But Ptolemy incorrectly places the Atrebates on the Seine; he also places part of their territory on the sea-coast, which may be true. Origiacum is supposed to be Orchies, between Tournai and Douai. The town Nemetacum afterwards took the name of the people Atrebates or Atrebatii, and the name was finally corrupted into Arras. [ATREBATES]

The traces of the Roman roads from Arras to Thérouenne and to Cambrai are said to exist. It is also said that some remains of a temple of Jupiter have been discovered at Arras, on the Place du Cloítre; and that there was a temple of Isis on the site of the Hôtel-Dieu. (D'Anville, Notice, &c. Walckenaer, Géog. &c. vol. i. p. 431.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 8.46
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.9
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