Architecture in Southern Gaul
Architecture in Southern Gaul

Written sources of that period of time tell us that in Southern Gaul (as in Gaul in general) there were icons painted on wooden boards and intended for purely worship. In the “Life of the Fathers” (Vita Patrum) of St. Gregory of Tours, we find mention of “icons” (Latin iconicas) The Apostles and other saints located in the chapel of St. Bracchio (d. 576). A more detailed mention of the icons of the VI century written on the boards is in the “Glory of the Martyrs” of St. Gregory (ch.22).

In this chapter we find a story about a Jew who stole an icon (Latin iconica or, in one manuscript, icona), which is an impressive testimony to the Eastern Orthodox nature of the Gallic Church in general, and Southern Gaul in particular. Here is what Gregory of Tours writes: “The faith that has been preserved with us to this day, encourages us to love Christ with such love that believers who keep His law imprinted in their hearts also want to have His image written (in memory of His virtue) on boards and in their homes…” (Latin – imaginet in tabula pictam).

This testimony is remarkable because the wave of iconoclasm that swept part of Gaul (and the Christian East) in the age of Charlemagne was not widespread in Southern Gaul. However, material evidence of the iconography of Southern Gaul, alas, has not been preserved. We can only assume that they were similar to similar icons of the V-VI centuries found in the Sinai Monastery, although they may have had their own characteristics.

So, summing up, we can state the fact that by the IV century, Christian culture in Southern Gaul had acquired its more or less final forms corresponding to the Eastern Orthodox tradition of the Church of Asia Minor. The external manifestations of Christian life: the diocesan structure, monasticism, temple architecture and painting, independence in relations with the Popes of Rome, all these facts testify to the special, peculiar development of the Christian Church in Southern Gaul. The close trade and cultural ties of the cities of Southern Gaul with Asia Minor, North Africa, Greece and the Balkans, as well as the Hellenistic culture deeply rooted among the local population (let us recall Tacitus’ “Hellenistic Gaul”), determined the Eastern Orthodox character of the Christian culture of this region up to the IIIV – IV centuries, and possibly later.

From about the end of the IV century, a new “Germanic” element began to appear in the development of the culture of Southern Gaul, due to the invasions of barbarian tribes into the Roman Empire. Since 350, the tribes of the Alemanni and Franks have increasingly invaded Gaul, trying to settle in this “blessed” region. For a number of years, the Germans were “content” with looting and destroying cities in northeastern Gaul: Argentorat (Strasbourg), Nemetes (Speyer), Vangions (Worms), Mogonziak (Mainz), Colony Agrippina (Cologne) and others, were captured and turned into ruins. Emperor Julian was forced to allow the Salic Franks to settle on the lands of the empire on the left bank of the Rhine as Federates. However, soon the Romans were subjected to a crushing invasion by the Goths, who were destined to play the greatest role in the fall of the Roman Empire.

According to the treaty of 369 between the Emperor Valens and the Gothic leader Athanaric, the Danube was recognized as the border between the empire and the Visigoths. However, the invasion of the Huns, who defeated the Ostrogothic power of Ermanaric in 375, forced the rest of the Goths to seek refuge and protection from the Romans. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, a contemporary of these events, describing the mass of the displaced Goths, compares them to the Libyan sand raised by the wind. The Roman authorities allowed the Goths to settle in the border areas and promised to supply the settlers with food, in exchange the Goths had to serve in the Roman army.

However, Roman officials were in no hurry to fulfill their obligations, and a famine began among the settlers, taking advantage of which slavers began to buy slaves (including Gothic children) for food. All this caused an uprising in 377, where the miners of the gold mines of Thrace and the local population switched to the side of the Goths. The Ostrogoths moved to Constantinople, in 378 in the Battle of Adrianople (modern Edirne) defeated the Roman army led by the Emperor Valens (and Valens himself died). However, the Ostrogoths could not take Adrianople and Constantinople, having met serious resistance. Remaining on the Balkan peninsula for about a quarter of a century, the Ostrogoths were engaged in looting cities and settlements. Tired of such a neighborhood, the government of the Eastern Roman Empire in 397 concluded peace with the Visigoth leader Alaric, paying him significant sums of money and making diplomatic efforts to send his tribes to Italy.

In 401, the Ostrogoths under the leadership of Alaric invaded Italy, and although the Roman vandal commander Stilicho inflicted a number of crushing blows on the Goths in Northern Italy, however, he failed to stop the invasion. The Romans were forced to consent to the settlement of the Ostrogoths in Illyria, allowing in fact to create a springboard for subsequent invasions of Alaric in Italy. In 408, the Ostrogoths invaded the Appennine Peninsula, during this invasion they besieged Rome twice and replenished their ranks with runaway barbarian slaves. Finally, in 410, Alaric manages to capture the “Eternal City” and plunder it, which caused the greatest shock of his contemporaries.

Soon after, Alaric dies and the Goths, having elected a new king, Ataulf, continue their devastating campaigns. In 412, by agreement with the Ravenna government, the Ostrogoths invaded the rich plains of Languedoc and Aquitaine. Alternately capturing Narbonne, Toulouse, Bordeaux, they reached the shores of the Atlantic at the end of 413. In 414, Ataulf married the Emperor Honorius’ own sister, Galla Placidia, captured by the Visigoths during the sack of Rome in 410, and from that time the first barbarian kingdom on the territory of the Roman Empire began to form. In 415 Valia became the king of the Goths, who, formally recognizing Roman sovereignty, secured lands for the Visigoths in Maritime Aquitaine, Gascony, Perigord, Saintonge, Angoumois, Poitou and Languedoc of Toulouse (416-418). Toulouse became the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom.

Both Vali’s receivers, Theodoric I (418-451) and Torismud (451-453), also did not miss the opportunity to take advantage of circumstances and increase their territories. Under King Eirikh (466-484), the Visigoths conquered a significant part of Lusitania, the Brothers and captured Cartagena. In 476, King Eyrich of the Visigoths finally broke the alliance with the Roman Empire, capturing Arles, Marseille and the entire coast up to the Alps in a few days, as well as occupying the province of Tarragona on the Iberian Peninsula. So a colossal kingdom was formed, called Gothia, stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Loire Estuary, and from the Atlantic coast to the Alps, the capital of which was Toledo.

The success achieved by the Visigoths could not but cause similar attempts among other barbarian tribes. And now the Burgundian tribes, having captured Lyon in 461, make it their capital, and occupy the valley of the Rhone River and its tributaries for twenty years. Following the Burgundians, the Frankish king Clovis in 481 (or 482), together with all the people, begins to move south. In 496, Clovis expels the Alemanni from central Gaul, settling its territory, and stubbornly moving south, enters into war with the Visigoths. In 507, the Franks defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Vuillet (northwest of Poitiers). King Alaric of the Visigoths was killed and his army fled, which allowed the Franks to occupy almost all of southern Gaul, except for the Mediterranean coast – Lower Languedoc and Provence.

In the “History of the Franks” by Gregory of Tours, this campaign is praised in enthusiastic tones, since the Visigoths adhered to Arianism, and Clovis, who was baptized in 496, was of Orthodox Orthodox faith and was regarded as a liberator from the yoke of heretics – Arians. So, step by step, over the course of half a century, most of Roman Gaul fell into the hands of barbarians: Visigoths, Burgundians and Franks, who managed to create independent kingdoms, thereby laying the foundation for a new period of European history, known as the Middle Ages.

In the Dictionary of the French Language (Dictionnari de la langue francaise) by Emile Litre (1801-1881), it is said about the adjective “Romance” (roman): “Romance is a language that supposedly occupied an intermediate position between Latin and the languages descended from it, but which as such did not exist in this sense. Currently, Romance languages are called languages that developed from Latin. The main ones are four: French, Italian, Spanish and Provencal.” (cit. by: Pierre Dex. Seven Centuries of the novel. M., 1955, p.27.).

The poetry and language of the troubadours are attributed mainly to the Limousin origin. The Marquis of Santillana, a writer of the XV century, repeats the expression of Nunes de Liano, a Portuguese historian, about imitating the poets of “Auvergne and Lemusena” (Baret. Espagne et Provence, etudes sur la literature du midi de l’Europe. 1857; p.54). The name Lemusen also meant the Valencian-Catalan language. (cit. by Osokin N.A. The history of the Albigenses and their time. M., 2000). Due to the fact that Southern France has not achieved national consolidation, various names have been used to designate the language, literature and territory of this unfulfilled state since the Middle Ages, the most popular of which were derived from the Latin provincia: “Provencal”, “Provence”, etc.

In the special literature devoted to the study of the history and culture of Southern France, the names “Occitania” are often used, and the language is called “Old-French”, in order to avoid confusion with the now existing New-French language. The geographical term “Provence” is used in its narrow meaning – as the name of the county of Provence, which was part of ancient Occitania. (see: Collection. Poetry of the troubadours. Poetry of the Minnesingers. Poetry of vagants. I., 1974, p.505.).

This name Massalia, used not only to designate the ancient city of Marseille, but also for the territory covered by the influence of the Greek -Phocian colony in Southern France, is taken from the works of one of the largest antiquarians in France, the creator of the so-called “Besancon school” of historians, Pierre Levesque: “The First Civilizations” (1987), “Greek Adventures” (“L’aventure grecque”) (1964), “The Hellenistic World” (1989). The significance of the “Besancon school” in modern French antiquity can be compared with the importance that the Annals school played in the development of the history of feudalism.

Gaius Marius, a native of an obscure family of G. Arpin in Latium. Possessing extraordinary talents, he rose from ordinary soldiers to the rank of “legate” (legion commander) in the Numidian army of Quintus Caecilius Metellus, during the so-called Jugurthian War (111-105 BC). Taking advantage of the discontent with K.M. Metellus in Rome, Gaius Marius, having staged riots in the army, achieved his appointment as consul for 107 and commander of the army in the war with the Numidian king Jugurtha. Before sailing to Africa, Marius, recruiting reinforcements, for the first time allowed volunteers from among the commoners who were not included in the censorship lists to join the army. This was an important step towards turning the police militia into a professional army.

Somewhat later, Marius reformed the structural units of the legion: centuries and maniples, creating cohorts as independent tactical units of the legion. The cohort now consisted of three maniples of 200 soldiers each, and the maniples were divided into centuries. Previously, neither maniples nor centuries possessed this quality, but only mattered as part of the legion. From now on, they became military units, like modern battalions and companies. The cohort, on the other hand, could solve independent tactical tasks both within the region (or a group of legions) and as an independent combat unit (like a regiment). In January 104, Marius was awarded a “triumph” in which the captured king of Numidia followed the chariot of the victor. In 113 BC, the Germans first appeared in northern Italy: the tribes of the Cimbri and Teutons, who inflicted a number of defeats on the Roman army.

In 105, in the Battle of Arauzion, the Germans completely defeated one of the Roman armies and began to settle on the territory of Italy and Southern Gaul. In this situation, Gaius Marius receives dictatorial powers and is elected Consul for five consecutive years. In 102 BC in the Battle of the Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) Marius completely defeats the Teutons, and the next year, at Vercelles, he actually destroys the Cimbri. The remnants of these Germanic tribes were sold into slavery. In 100 g . Marius is elected consul for the sixth time, but with the end of the war, there is no need for special powers and Marius, having lost political intrigues for a long time, is removed from big politics. However, the Allied War that began in 91 BC (91-89), between the Italians and the Romans, and then the war with Mithridates VI Eupator, again allowed Mary to enter the political arena.

Taking advantage of the campaign of his opponent Sulla against Mithridates in 87, Marius and his supporters enter Rome and arrange a terrible massacre of their opponents in 86 BC. However, in the same year Gaius Marius dies, and power goes to his opponent Sulla. The Marian dictatorship represents the first experience of military dictatorship in the Roman Republic. Mariy was the first politician of a new type, not connected with traditional political forces, and relying on personally loyal veterans and a heterogeneous personal party. It was Marius who “pointed out” the way to the regime of personal power to Gaius Julius Caesar. (see: Egorov A.B. The Roman Republic from the middle of the II century to 31 BC/History of the Ancient World. The decline of ancient societies. M., 1989, pp.29-33.).