Narbonne has been selected by Roberto Amati in relation to the real history of european integration, then enlisted in the CITY OR CIVITAS category, accompanied by own fact SHEET useful to the comprehension, completed of historical MAPS AND IMAGES or with a direct linking to the related Blog contents dedicated to the entire history of european integration and the future of Europe.

Narbonne civitas

Narbonne is one of the most ancient cities of the history of European integration, signed in great part by Christianity. The Civitas Narbonne was founded in 118 BC by Romans where the river Aude flows into the Mediterranean sea creating a natural wide port, that was rival of Marseille, especially during the civil war: then Narbonne became the Colonia Narbo Martius inhabited by the veterans of Legio X Equestris created by Julis Caesar in great part with Iberians coming from Betica and Celts people already living there. Cause of its strategic position, Narbonne was immediately transformed in crucial point at the crossing of many ancient roman ways: the Aquitania way starting in Cologne and passing through the civitas of Reims, Paris, Tours, Bordeaux and Toulose to end in Narbonne; where started the Augusta way running all along the iberian coast through the civitas of Tarraco, Carthago and Cordoba to end near Tarifa on the streit of Gibiltar; while on the opposite direction the Domitia way passing through the civitas of Nimes, Arles and Turin could reach Piacenza.

Within the reform of Augustus (see Roman Empire), Narbonne was elevated as capital of the Gallia Narbonensis province and obtained the building of an amphitheatre and other public services, the first step of the Midi canal still useful today. With the reform of Constantine I (see Christian Empire), Narbonne became part of the Septem Dicoesi and seat of an imperial bishopric starting the evangelization of Hispania and Aquitania.

At the falling of Western Roman Empire, the city was included in the Visigoths Reign and accused to keep for the Arian eresy, then persecuted by the Catholics Church of Rome and restored to ortodoxy with the help of Franks that invaded the city but were rejected, then Narbonne was eliged capital of the Septimania province, controlled by Visigoths but frequently terrorised by Saracen and Viking raiders. When Arabs occupied the city, the Carolingian Pepin "the Short" conquered Narbonne in 759 AD creating the Viscounty of Narbonne, assigned to the Gellone dinasty. Then the king invited prominent Jews from Baghdad to settle in the civitas (but Jews were present in the city from about the 5th century) and established a major Jewish learning center for Western Europe, making Septimania a Jewish Princedom in feudal Carolingia empire endured for centuries: so Narbonne was a centre of important Jewish exegetical school (the "Zarphatic" in Judæo-French and "Shuadit" in Judæo-Provençal languages) frequently mentioned in Talmudic works but from the XII/XIII centuries AD the Jewish community went through troubles before settling into extended decline, while the ancient Christian community arose the better conditions as the Cathedral Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur shows.

Narbonne began its decline when the Aude river was diverted cause of continous overflowing, so that the city lost its port and the historical strategic position, always contended by French Kingdom and the feudal families of the south, such as Bellonidi dinasty. From the sixteenth century, eager to recover a link to important European routes, the people of Narbonne began costly work to the vestiges of the river Aude's access to the sea to make it navigable for a limited draft vessel and also serve as a link with the Canal de la Robine, which was finally linked with the Canal du Midi in 1776 AD. In recent times, the canal system in the south of France had to compete with the expanding railway network, but kept some importance as they were used to support the flourishing wine trade. When the Capetingian dinasty conquered Narbonne, it followed the destiny and history of France.

Today the archeological area of Narbonne hosts Roman and Christian Monuments such as the cathedral dating 1272 AD, the Palais des Archevêques and the Archbishop's Palace, and its high donjon with views over the city, the archaeological site "Clos de la Lombarde" with the vestiges of Roman townhouses, bath houses, workshops from I century BC to the III century AD and the first Christian basilica, some part of the Via Domitia in the city center. Narbonne is a medium size town in the south of France within the Occitania region, whose patron is Saint Paul first bishop of the town in III century AD sent to evangelize Gauls.

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