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AQUAE SE´XTIAE (Aix), in the department of Bouches du Rhône, is 18 Roman miles north of Massilia (Marseille). In B.C. 122, the proconsul C. Sextius Calvinus, having defeated the Salyes or Saluvii, founded in their territory the Roman colony of Aquae Sextiae, so called from the name of the Roman general, and the springs, both hot and cold, which he found there. (Liv. Ep. lib. 61; Vell. 1.15.) These hot springs are mentioned by Strabo (pp. 178, 180: τὰ θέρμα ὕδατα τὰ Σέχτια) and by other ancient writers. Strabo observes that it was said that some of the hot springs had become cold. The temperature of the hot springs is now only a moderate warmth.

In the neighbourhood of Aix was fought, B.C. 102, the great battle, in which the Roman consul C. Marius defeated the Cimbri and Teutones with immense slaughter. (Plut. Mar. 100.18; Florus, 3.3.) Plutarch states that the people of Massilia made fences for their vineyards with the bones of the barbarians, and that the soil, which was drenched with the blood of thousands, produced an unusual crop the following year. D'Anville observes that the battle field is supposed to have been near the Lar, about four leagues above Aix; but Fauris de St. Vincent (quoted by Forbiger) fixes the site of the battle at Meiragues, two leagues from Marseille, which was called in the middle ages Campus de. Marianicis. Fragments of swords and spears, and bones, are still found on this spot.

There are Roman remains at Aix; and its identity with Aquae Sextiae appears from the ancient Itineraries and an inscription, which shows it to have been a Roman colony, with the title Julia. Strabo's words, indeed, show that it was a Roman colony from the first. Yet Pliny (3.4) places “Aquae Sextiae Salluviorum” among the Oppida Latina of Gallia Narbonensis, or those which had the Jus Latium; in which he is certainly mistaken. Ptolemaeus also calls it a colonia.


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