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Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Glanum - Roman ruins - St-Remy-de-Provence

This page was updated on: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at: 2:36 pm

Antic Glanum, dedicated to the Celtic God Glanis

Glanum is an antic Greco-Roman city located on the outskirts of St-Rémy-de-Provence.

It lay buried in the earth for 17 centuries, until its discovery and excavation in 1921.

The Celto-Ligurian Salyens built it between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC by a source that surfaced in cleft of the mountain.

They therefore named their city after their god, Glanis, who was associated with the healing spring.

The Romans turned Glanum into a religious compound after they captured the region and integrated it to the Roman Empire in 49 BC.

The antic city indeed boasts several temples dedicated to various Roman gods, as well as sacred wells and fountains dedicated to healing.

The ghosts of Glanum

Glanum is mainly a huge ruined city, and only the twin pillars of the smaller of two temples have been restored.

This temple was important as it was dedicated to the Emperor and his family.

It sat in the center of a peribolos, a vast enclosure delineated on three sides by porticoes.

Stone screens were placed on both ends in order to keep the public out of the inner sacred space.

The section of the city near the healing spring, the sacred area, was enclosed and accessed by a gate.

This is indeed where most of the temples and healing wells and springs associated with Glanis, but also Hercules and Valetudo the Roman goddess of health, stood.

The major landmarks of Glanum are located at its north entrance.

The Mausoleum marked the entry to the necropolis, which was always located outside the city.

The entrance Arch delineated the boundaries of the city from the countryside.

Many vestiges of houses and workshops were also uncovered during the excavations.

Their traditional lay-out is still visible.

They were all built around a courtyard surrounded by rooms and porticoes and centered on a basin.

The bottom of the basin was tiled as it collected rainwater for household use and excess was drained off and stored in a cistern.

The wealthiest inhabitants of Glanum adorned their rooms with antae - pilasters with Corinthian capitals.

Glanum main street was cobbled and a stone-lined conduit ran underneath.

It collected rain and waste water from the surrounding buildings, then carried them away outside the city.

Glanum's wine smoking room

Glanum inhabitants were religious, but they also enjoyed the pleasures of life.

And wine was one!

Among the many ruins, the archaeologist indeed uncovered the vestiges of 'wine smoking rooms'.

The building was originally part of a healing sanctuary erected in the late 2nd-early 1st century BC, which the Romans converted for agricultural purposes.

The many amphorae discovered in the rooms strongly suggests that they were used for smoking wine.

Each of the vaulted rooms indeed has a fireplace that allowed for smoke to circulate freely inside the rooms.

Antic methods for preserving wine

In those times, wine indeed quickly became infected with bacteria that made it undrinkable.

However, people invented several methods to preventing this!

Some added boiled salt, spices, marble dust, pitch or even resin to the wine!

However, these methods were not fool-proof, and the caveat that came with the purchase stipulated that the buyer had 3 days to taste and approve of the wine.

If it was still good after 3 days, the buyer had no choice than to keep it, even if it went bad on Day 4!

Once wine soured or developed a bad taste, there were, however, some ways to fix it.

A common method was to heat a roof tile in the fire, coat it with resin and then lower it with a string into the amphorae of bad wine.

It apparently removed the foulness after a couple of days, otherwise, the 'operation' had to be repeated until the wine tasted 'fine'!

However, most people preferred to smoke the wine in order to preserve it!

Artificially smoking wine had apparently the peculiarity of aging the wine in the sealed amphorae and stop bacteria from infecting it!

Department of Bouches-du-Rhône
Coordinates: Lat 43.774230 - Long 4.832538

Credits: Photos ©atelier434 - source Text Melanged Magic by Evelyn Jackson - Edited by and for Travel France Online
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