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The Roman past

 

Since Roman times the Clermontais has been travelled across numerous roads that linked the coast to the Aveyron.

 Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 16.8 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard
Crédit CC Clermontais

The main Roman road in our region was the Domitia which went through the towns of Nîmes, Agde, Béziers and Narbonne. The road which came from Agde went up into the department, passed through Clermont l’Hérault (Clarimontis) and linked Lodève (Lutéva) to Millau (Condatomagos). Clermont l’Hérault was at the crossroads of five Roman roads of which two were important. Not to be forgotten is that, at this time, the river could be navigated up through the gorges of the Hérault and the river Lergue, which made it possible for small boats to join the Hérault after. This created a very important commerce notably of wine which was exported towards Italy via the port of Agde. The Romans also came for different kinds of minerals.

Unfortunately, there are no apparent vestiges of these roads, just fragments here and there, and some remains of the wine-making domains (in Clermont, Paulhan and Aspiran).

The Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard at Aspiran

About ten years ago an important winemaking ensemble was unearthed near Aspiran. It is one of the biggest Roman winegrowing domains to have been discovered in France with a wine storehouse (chais), a large earthenware oven (dolia), a pottery workshop and a swimming pool (natatio) - the biggest Roman discovery to date.

The villa of the proprietor « Quintus lulius Primus » has not yet been discovered, but it has been located. The domain that was founded at the beginning of the first century is close to the river Dourbie, and on the edge of the ancient road that ran along the river Hérault from the coast to Lodève, allowing the distribution of the local production towards the Massif Central and the Mediterranean, from the port of Agde towards the Roman Empire.

An interesting anecdote is that the raisin pips, found and analyzed during the excavation, showed that 2000 years ago it was the ancestor of today’s Clairette that was being cultivated!

Pictures

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 118.4 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit CC Clermontais

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 99.8 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit CC Clermontais

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 130.4 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit CC Clermontais

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 121.5 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit CC Clermontais

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 105.7 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit CC Clermontais

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 163 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit OT du Clermontais

The Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 153 kb
The Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard - JPEG - 117.9 kb
Aspiran, Gallo-Roman villa of Saint Bézard

Crédit OT du Clermontais

 

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