From Academic Kids

Vienne is a commune of France, located 30 km south of Lyon, on the Rhône River. It is the second city after Grenoble in the Isère département, of which it is a sous-préfecture. Population (2001): 29,400.

Vienne was an important early bishopric in Christian Gaul. Its most famous bishop was Avitus of Vienne. At the Council of Vienne, convened there in October 1311, Clement V abolished the order of the Knights Templar the following year.

A suspension bridge leads from the city to the right bank of the Rhône, where the industrial quarter of Ste Colombe now occupies part of the ancient city. Here is a tower, built in 1349 by Philip of Valois to defend the French bank of the Rhône, as distinguished from the left bank, which, as part of the kingdom of Provence, was dependent on the Holy Roman Empire. This state of things is also recalled by the name of the village, St Romain en Gal, northwest of Ste Colombe.



Roman Vienne

The oppidum of the Allobroges became a Roman colony about 47 BCE under Caesar, but the Allobroges managed to expel them: the exiles then founded the colony of Lugdunum (today's Lyon). Under the ealy Empire Vienne regained all its former privileges as a Roman colony. Later it became a provincial capital. In 257 Postumus was proclaimed emperor here of a short-lived Gallo-Roman empire with its capital at Trier. On the bank of the Gre are traces of the ramparts of the old Roman city, and on Mont Pipet (east of the town) are the remains of an amphitheatre, while the ruined 13th century castle there was built on Roman footings. Several ancient aqueducts and traces of Roman roads can still be seen.

Two Roman monuments at Vienne are outstanding. One is the temple of Augusta and Livia, a rectangular building of the Corinthian order, erected by the emperor Claudius, which owes its survival, like the Maison Carrée at Nimes, to being converted to a church soon after the Theodosian decrees as "Notre Dame de Vie." In it the local Festival of Reason at the time of the Reign of Terror. The other is the Plan de l'Aiguille, a truncated pyramid resting on a portico with four arches, from the Roman circus. Many popular theories have been advanced as to what this structure was intended for, even the legend of Pontius Pilate has made this his tomb.

Christian Vienne

The provincial capital was an important early seat of a bishop, the legendary first bishop said to have been Crescens, a disciple of Paul. Certainly there were Christians here in 177 when the churches of Vienne and Lyon addressed a letter to those of Asia and Phrygia and mention is made of the deacon of Vienne (Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. Eccles.). The first historical bishop was Verus, who was present at the Council of Arles in 314. About 450 Vienne's bishop became an archbishop (dissolved in 1790) and its archbishops disputed with those of Lyon the title of "Primate of All the Gauls".

Vienne was an unfortunate target during the Migrations Period: taken by the Burgundians in 438, by the Franks in 534, sacked by the Lombards in 558 and by the Moors in 737.

Vienne in the Kingdom of Provence

Charles the Bald assigned the district in 869 to Count Boso, who in 879 proclaimed himself king of Provence and was buried on his death in 887 in the cathedral church of St Maurice. Vienne then continued to form part of the kingdom of Provence and then of Arles till in 1032 it reverted to the Holy Roman Empire, but the real rulers were the archbishops of Vienne, whose rights were repeatedly recognized but who had serious local rivals in the counts of Albon, later Dauphins of the neighboring county of the Viennois. In 1349 the reigning Dauphin sold his rights to the Dauphiné to France, but the archbishop stood firm and Vienne was not included in this sale. The archbishop finally surrendered their territorial powers to France in 1449. Gui de Bourgogne, who was archbishop 1090-1119, reigned as pope from 1119 to 1124 as Callixtus II.

The early Romanesque basilica church of St Peter belonged to an ancient Benedictine abbey and was rebuilt in the 9th century with tall square piers and two ranges of windows in the tall aisles and a notable porch.

The Gothic former cathedral of St Maurice was built in many campaigns over a long period, between 1052 and 1533. It is a basilica, with three aisles, but no apse or transepts. It is 315 ft. in length, 118 ft. wide and 89 in height. The most striking portion is the west front, which rises majestically from a terrace overhanging the Rhône. But the sculpural decoration was badly damaged by the Protestants in 1562, during the Wars of Religion.

The Romanesque church of St André en Bas was the church of a second Benedictine monastery, and became the chapel of the earlier kings of Provence. It was rebuilt in 1152, in the later Romanesque (Stadt) fr:Vienne (Isère) ro:Vienne, Isère


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