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The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture
Gordon Campbell

Lugdunum [now Lyon]. 

Roman colony founded at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône in 43 bc by Julius Caesar’s lieutenant, Lucius Munatius Plancus. It succeeded two Gaulish settlements on Fourvière Hill to the west and at Condate on the low ground between the rivers. Lugdunum was the focal point of Gaul’s road system, laid out by Agrippa, and the political centre of the Three Gauls (the provinces of Lugdunensis, Aquitania and Belgica), whose council met annually in the amphitheatre above Condate, beside the ceremonial Altar of Rome and Augustus; this altar had been inaugurated in ad 12 by Drusus, father of the future emperor Claudius (reg ad 41–54), who was born at Lugdunum. The other public buildings were all on Fourvière Hill, and included two fora, the first Augustan (27 bcad 14), the second Antonine ( ad 138–93), and several temples, of which the east front of the podium of Cybele’s temple still stands. The Gier aqueduct, of Hadrianic date ( ad 117–38), is unusual outside Italy in being faced in reticulate masonry and reached the city’s height by means of a siphon. Apart from Vienne (anc. Vienna), Lugdunum was the only city in Gaul with two theatres, which are its best-preserved Roman buildings. The larger open theatre was originally Augustan, rebuilt and enlarged under Hadrian to seat over 10,000 spectators. The orchestra was paved in coloured marbles, and the stage building had three curved exedrae . The smaller, covered odeon was built close to it, also Hadrianic, and equally magnificent in its marble decoration. Several luxurious houses with good mosaic pavements have been excavated on Fourvière Hill. The finest mosaic, showing chariot-racing in the circus, was found in another rich residential area in Ainay, formerly on an island between the rivers. At Condate there were workshops of bronze founders, glaziers and potters, some of the latter having come from Arezzo in Italy, introducing the manufacture of fine-quality red terra sigillata.

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Lugdunum (Lyon),

theatre Vanni / Art Resource, NY


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      A. Pelletier : Lugdunum: Lyon (Lyon, 1999)Find this resource:

        J. Lasfargues : Lugdunum (Lyon, 2000)Find this resource:

          M. Poux and H. Savay-Guerraz : Lyon avant Lugdunum (Gollion, 2003)Find this resource:

            A. Desbat, ed.: Lugdunum: Naissance d’une capitale (Gollion, 2005)Find this resource: