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GENABUM (Κἡναβον: Orléans), a city of the Carnutes, a Celtic people. Ptolemy (2.8.13) places the Carnutae along the Seine; and he names two cities in their country, Autricum and Cenabum. The latitude in which he places Cenabum is pretty near the truth: and he places Autricum (Chartres) correctly, both north and west of Orleans. Strabo (p. 191) states, that Genabum (Γήναβον) is on the Liger (Loire), about half way between the source and the outlet, or, perhaps, about the middle of the navigable part; a description which agrees very well with the position of Orleans. He calls it the emporium of the Carnutes. The Roman Itineraries fix the position of Genabum at Orléans. One road runs from Nevirnum (Nevers), on the east side of the Loire, to Genabum, and thence direct to Lutetia. The distance from Genabum to Lutetia does not quite agree in the Table and in the Antonine Itin.; but both are near enough to show that, if we assume Lutetia to be Paris, Genabum must be Orleans.

Caesar (Caes. Gal. 7.3) mentions Genabum as a town of the Carnutes, in which the great insurrection began in B.C. 52. He describes it (B. G. 7.11) as situated on the Loire. The true reading in the passage is--“oppidum Genabum pons fluminis Ligeris contingebat” (not “continebat.” ) The narrative of Caesar shows that the town was on the north side of the Loire, as Orléns is: and there was a bridge from it to the south side. Caesar broke into Genabum (B.C. 52) after the insurrection there, set it on fire, and crossed the Loire to besiege Avaricum. [AVARICUM] In his winter campaign against the Carnutes in the next year, he quartered his men amidst the ruins of the town and in the huts.

Under the later empire this town had the name of Aureliani, of which word the name Orléans is a corruption. The name “Civitas Aurelianorum” occurs in the Notitia Imp., and Orléans was then the chief town of a diocese, distinct from that of the Carnutes. Aimoin, a writer of the sixth century, (quoted by Walckenaer), distinctly states that “Genabus,” as he calls it, is Aureliani. Walckenaer also says that a faubourg of Orleans “has long had the name of Génabie.” There are some traces of the Roman walls of Orléans, which may have been built as late as the time of the emperor Aurelian, [p. 1.987]from whom it is conjectured that the place took its new name.


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