The Bretons are a Celtic ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brittonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain Cornwall and Devon during the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, they migrated in waves from the 3rd to 9th century into Armorica, subsequently named Brittany after them. The main traditional language of Brittany is Breton, spoken in Lower Brittany. Breton is spoken by around 206,000 people as of 2013; the other principal minority language of Brittany is Gallo. As one of the Brittonic languages, Breton is related to Cornish and more distantly to Welsh, while the Gallo language is one of the Romance langues d'oïl. Most Bretons' native language is standard French. Brittany and its people are counted as one of the six Celtic nations. Ethnically, along with the Cornish and Welsh, the Bretons are Celtic Britons; the actual number of ethnic Bretons in Brittany and France as a whole is difficult to assess as the government of France does not collect statistics on ethnicity.
The population of Brittany, based on a January 2007 estimate, was 4,365,500. It is said that, in 1914, over 1 million people spoke Breton west of the boundary between Breton and Gallo-speaking region—roughly 90% of the population of the western half of Brittany. In 1945, it was about 75%, today, in all of Brittany, the most optimistic estimate would be that 20% of Bretons can speak Breton. Brittany has a population of four million, including the department of Loire-Atlantique, which the Vichy government separated from historical Brittany in 1941. Seventy-five percent of the estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Breton speakers using Breton as an everyday language today are over the age of 65. A strong historical emigration has created a Breton diaspora within the French borders and in the overseas departments and territories of France. Many Breton families have emigrated to the Americas, predominantly to Canada and the United States. People from the region of Brittany were among the first European settlers to permanently settle the French West Indies, i.e. Dominica and Martinique, where remnants of their culture can still be seen to this day.
The only places outside Brittany that still retain significant Breton customs are in Île-de-France, Le Havre and in Îles des Saintes, where a group of Breton families settled in the mid-17th century. In the late 4th century, large numbers of British auxiliary troops in the Roman army may have been stationed in Armorica; the 9th-century Historia Brittonum states that the emperor Magnus Maximus, who withdrew Roman forces from Britain, settled his troops in the province. Nennius and Gildas mention a second wave of Britons settling in Armorica in the following century to escape the invading Anglo-Saxons and Scoti. Modern archaeology supports a two-wave migration, it is accepted that the Brittonic speakers who arrived gave the region its current name as well as the Breton language, Brezhoneg, a sister language to Welsh and Cornish. There are numerous records of Celtic Christian missionaries migrating from Britain during the second wave of Breton colonisation the legendary seven founder-saints of Brittany as well as Gildas.
As in Cornwall, many Breton towns are named after these early saints. The Irish saint Columbanus was active in Brittany and is commemorated accordingly at Saint-Columban in Carnac. In the Early Middle Ages, Brittany was divided into three kingdoms—Domnonée, Bro Waroc'h —which were incorporated into the Duchy of Brittany; the first two kingdoms seem to derive their names from the homelands of the migrating tribes in Britain and Devon. Bro Waroc'h derives from the name of one of the first known Breton rulers, who dominated the region of Vannes; the rulers of Domnonée, such as Conomor, sought to expand their territory, claiming overlordship over all Bretons, though there was constant tension between local lords. Bretons were the most prominent of the non-Norman forces in the Norman conquest of England. A number of Breton families were of the highest rank in the new society and were tied to the Normans by marriage; the Scottish Clan Stewart and the royal House of Stuart have Breton origins. Alan Rufus known as Alan the Red, was both a cousin and knight in the retinue of William the Conqueror.
Following his service at Hastings, he was rewarded with large estates in Yorkshire. At the time of his death, he was by far the richest noble in England, his manorial holding at Richmond ensured a Breton presence in northern England. The Earldom of Richmond became an appanage of the Dukes of Brittany. Many people throughout France claim Breton ethnicity, including a few French celebrities such as Marion Cotillard, Malik Zidi, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, Yoann Gourcuff, Nolwenn Leroy and Yann Tiersen. After 15 years of disputes in the French courts, the European Court of Justice recognized Breton Nationality for the six children of Jean-Jacques and Mireille Manrot-Le Goarnig. In 2015, Jonathan Le Bris started a legal battle against the French administration to claim this status; the Breton diaspora includes Breton immigrants in some cities of France like Paris, Le Havre and Toulon, Breton Canadians and Breton Americans, along with other Fre
The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. The term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine, they imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, still they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire. Although the Frankish name does not appear until the 3rd century, at least some of the original Frankish tribes had long been known to the Romans under their own names, both as allies providing soldiers and as enemies; the new name first appears when their allies were losing control of the Rhine region. The Franks were first reported as working together to raid Roman territory, but from the beginning these raids were associated with attacks upon them from outside their frontier area, by the Saxons, for example, with the desire of frontier tribes to move into Roman territory with which they had had centuries of close contact.
Frankish peoples inside Rome's frontier on the Rhine river were the Salian Franks who from their first appearance were permitted to live in Roman territory, the Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks who, after many attempts conquered the Roman frontier city of Cologne and took control of the left bank of the Rhine. In a period of factional conflict in the 450s and 460s, Childeric I, a Frank, was one of several military leaders commanding Roman forces with various ethnic affiliations in Roman Gaul. Childeric and his son Clovis I faced competition from the Roman Aegidius as competitor for the "kingship" of the Franks associated with the Roman Loire forces; this new type of kingship inspired by Alaric I, represents the start of the Merovingian dynasty, which succeeded in conquering most of Gaul in the 6th century, as well as establishing its leadership over all the Frankish kingdoms on the Rhine frontier. It was on the basis of this Merovingian empire that the resurgent Carolingians came to be seen as the new Emperors of Western Europe in 800.
In the Middle Ages, the term Frank came to be used as a synonym for Western European, as the Carolingian Franks were rulers of most of Western Europe, established a political order, the basis of the European ancien regime that only ended with the French revolution. Western Europeans shared their allegiance to the Roman Catholic church and worked as allies in the Crusades beyond Europe in the Levant, where they still referred to themselves and the Principalities they established as Frankish; this has had a lasting impact on names for Western Europeans in many languages. From the beginning the Frankish kingdoms were politically and divided between an eastern Frankish and Germanic part, the western part that the Merovingians had founded on Roman soil; the eastern Frankish kingdom came to be seen as the new "Holy Roman Empire", was from early times called "Germany". Within "Frankish" Western Europe itself, it was the original Merovingian or "Salian" Western Frankish kingdom, founded in Roman Gaul and speaking Romance languages, which has continued until today to be referred to as "France" - a name derived directly from the Franks.
The name Franci was not a tribal name, but within a few centuries it had eclipsed the names of the original peoples who constituted it. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the English adjective "frank" meaning "free". There have been proposals that Frank comes from the Germanic word for "javelin". Words in other Germanic languages meaning "fierce", "bold" or "insolent", may be significant. Eumenius addressed the Franks in the matter of the execution of Frankish prisoners in the circus at Trier by Constantine I in 306 and certain other measures: Latin: Ubi nunc est illa ferocia? Ubi semper infida mobilitas?. Latin: Feroces was used to describe the Franks. Contemporary definitions of Frankish ethnicity vary both by point of view. A formulary written by Marculf about 700 AD described a continuation of national identities within a mixed population when it stated that "all the peoples who dwell, Romans and those of other nations, live... according to their law and their custom."
Writing in 2009, Professor Christopher Wickham pointed out that "the word'Frankish' ceased to have an exclusive ethnic connotation. North of the River Loire everyone seems to have been considered a Frank by the mid-7th century at the latest. Apart from the more respected History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours, two more colourful early sources that describe the origin of the Franks are a 7th-century work known as the Chronicle of Fredegar and the anonymous Liber Historiae Francorum, written a century later; the author of the Chronicle of Fredegar claimed that the Franks came from Troy and quoted the works of Vergil and Hieronymous, the Franks are mentioned in those works, by Hieronymous. The chronicle describes Priam as a Frankish king whose people migrated to Macedonia after the fall of Troy. In Macedonia, the Franks divided; the Eur
Hugh Capet was the King of the Franks from 987 to 996. He is the founder and first king from the House of Capet, he was elected as the successor of the last Carolingian king, Louis V. Hugh was a descendant in illegitimate descent of Charlemagne through his mother and paternal grandmother; the son of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, Hedwige of Saxony, daughter of the German king Henry the Fowler, Hugh was born sometime between 938 and 941. He was born into a well-connected and powerful family with many ties to the royal houses of France and Germany. Through his mother, Hugh was the nephew of Holy Roman Emperor. Gerberga was the wife of Louis IV, King of France and mother of Lothair of France and Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine, his paternal family, the Robertians, were powerful landowners in the Île-de-France. His grandfather had been King Robert I. King Odo was his granduncle and King Rudolph was his uncle by affinity. Hugh's paternal grandmother was a descendant of Charlemagne. After the end of the ninth century, the descendants of Robert the Strong became indispensable in carrying out royal policies.
As Carolingian power failed, the great nobles of West Francia began to assert that the monarchy was elective, not hereditary, twice chose Robertians as kings, instead of Carolingians. Robert I, Hugh the Great's father, was succeeded as King of the Franks by his son-in-law, Rudolph of Burgundy; when Rudolph died in 936, Hugh the Great had to decide whether he ought to claim the throne for himself. To claim the throne would require him to risk an election, which he would have to contest with the powerful Herbert II, Count of Vermandois, father of Hugh, Archbishop of Reims, allied to Henry the Fowler, King of Germany. To block his rivals, Hugh the Great brought Louis d'Outremer, the dispossessed son of Charles the Simple, from his exile at the court of Athelstan of England to become king as Louis IV; this maneuver allowed Hugh to become the most powerful person in France in the first half of the tenth century. Once in power, Louis IV granted him the title of dux Francorum. Louis officially declared Hugh "the second after us in all our kingdoms".
Hugh gained power when Herbert II of Vermandois died in 943, because Herbert's powerful principality was divided among his four sons. Hugh the Great came to dominate a wide swath of central France, from Orléans and Senlis to Auxerre and Sens, while the king was rather confined to the area northeast of Paris; the realm in which Hugh grew up, of which he would one day be king, bore little resemblance to modern France. Hugh's predecessors did not call themselves kings of France, that title was not used by his successors until the time of his descendant Philip II. Kings ruled as rex Francorum, the title remaining in use until 1190 The lands they ruled comprised only a small part of the former Carolingian Empire; the eastern Frankish lands, the Holy Roman Empire, were ruled by the Ottonian dynasty, represented by Hugh's first cousin Otto II and by Otto's son, Otto III. The lands south of the river Loire had ceased to be part of the West Francia kingdom in the years after Charles the Simple was deposed in 922.
Both the Duchy of Normandy and the Duchy of Burgundy were independent, Brittany so—although from 956 Burgundy was ruled by Hugh's brothers Otto and Henry. In 956, when his father Hugh the Great died, the eldest son, was about fifteen years old and had two younger brothers. Otto I, King of Germany, intended to bring western Francia under his control, possible since he was the maternal uncle of Hugh Capet and Lothair of France, the new king of the Franks, who succeeded Louis IV in 954, at the age of 13. In 954, Otto I appointed his brother Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lorraine, as guardian of Lothair and regent of the kingdom of France. In 956, Otto gave him the same role over the Robertian principality. With these young princes under his control, Otto aimed to maintain the balance between Robertians and Ottonians. In 960, Lothair agreed to grant to Hugh the legacy of his father, the margraviate of Neustria and the title of Duke of the Franks, but in return, Hugh had to accept the new independence gained by the counts of Neustria during Hugh's minority.
Hugh's brother, Otto received only the duchy of Burgundy. Andrew W. Lewis has sought to show that Hugh the Great had prepared a succession policy to ensure his eldest son much of his legacy, as did all the great families of that time; the West was dominated by Otto I, who had defeated the Magyars in 955, in 962 assumed the restored imperial title. The new emperor increased his power over Western Francia with special attention to certain bishoprics on his border. Disappointed, King Lothair relied on Arnulf I, Count of Flanders. In 956, Hugh inherited his father's estates, in theory making him one of the most powerful nobles in the much-reduced kingdom of West Francia; as he was not yet an adult, his mother acted as his guardian, young Hugh's neighbours took advantage. Theobald I of Blois, a former vassal of Hugh's father, took the counties of Châteaudun. Further south, on the border of the kingdom, Fulk II
Rollo or Gaange Rolf was a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region of France. He is sometimes called the first Duke of Normandy, his son and grandson, William Longsword and Richard I, used the titles "count" and "prince". His great-grandson Richard II was the first to use the title of Duke of Normandy, his Scandinavian name Rolf was extended to Gaange Rolf because he became too heavy as an adult for a horse to carry. Rollo emerged as the outstanding personality among the Norsemen who had secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil in the valley of the lower Seine. Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, ceded them lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his brigandage, provide the Franks with protection against future Viking raids. Rollo is first recorded as the leader of these Viking settlers in a charter of 918, he continued to reign over the region of Normandy until at least 928, he was succeeded by his son William Longsword in the Duchy of Normandy.
The offspring of Rollo and his followers became known as the Normans. After the Norman conquest of England and their conquest of southern Italy and Sicily over the following two centuries, their descendants came to rule Norman England, the Kingdom of Sicily as well as the Principality of Antioch from the 10th to 12th century, leaving behind an enduring legacy in the histories of Europe and the Near East; the name Rollo is presumed to be a latinisation of the Old Norse name Hrólfr – a theory, supported by the rendition of Hrólfr as Roluo in the Gesta Danorum. It is sometimes suggested that Rollo may be a Latinised version of another Norse name, Hrollaugr. Rollo is identified with one Viking in particular – a man of high social status mentioned in Icelandic sagas, which refer to him by the Old Norse name Göngu-Hrólfr, meaning "Hrólfr the Walker"; the byname "Walker" is understood to suggest that Rollo was so physically imposing that he could not be carried by a horse and was obliged to travel on foot.
Norman and other French sources do not use the name Hrólfr, the identification of Rollo with Göngu-Hrólfr is based upon similarities between circumstances and actions ascribed to both figures. The 10th-century Norman historian Dudo records. A variant spelling, Rou, is used in the 12th-century Norman French verse chronicle Roman de Rou, compiled by Wace and commissioned by King Henry II of England, a descendant of Rollo. Rollo was born in the mid 9th century; the earliest well-attested historical event associated with Rollo is his leadership of Vikings who besieged Paris in 885–886. Medieval sources contradict each other regarding whether Rollo's family was Norwegian or Danish in origin. In part, this disparity may result from the indifferent and interchangeable usage in Europe, at the time, of terms such as "Vikings", "Northmen", "Swedes", "Danes", "Norwegians" and so on. A biography of Rollo, written by the cleric Dudo of Saint-Quentin in the late 10th century, claimed that Rollo was from Denmark.
One of Rollo's great-grandsons and a contemporary of Dudo was known as Robert the Dane. However, Dudo's Historia Normannorum was commissioned by Rollo's grandson, Richard I of Normandy and – while Dudo had access to family members and/or other people with a living memory of Rollo – this fact must be weighed against the text's potential biases, as an official biography. According to Dudo, an unnamed king of Denmark was antagonistic to Rollo's family, including his father – an unnamed Danish nobleman – and Rollo's brother Gurim. Following the death of their father, Gurim was killed and Rollo was forced to leave Denmark. Dudo appears to have been the main source for William of Jumièges and Orderic Vitalis, although both include additional details. A Norwegian background for Rollo was first explicitly claimed by Goffredo Malaterra, an 11th-century Benedictine monk and historian, who wrote: "Rollo sailed boldly from Norway with his fleet to the Christian coast." The 12th-century English historian William of Malmesbury stated that Rollo was "born of noble lineage among the Norwegians".
A chronicler named Benoît wrote in the mid-12th-century Chronique des ducs de Normandie that Rollo had been born in a town named "Fasge". This has since been variously interpreted as referring to Faxe, in Sjælland, Fauske, in Hålogaland, or a more obscure settlement that has since been abandoned or renamed. Benoît repeated the claim that Rollo had been persecuted by a local ruler and had fled from there to "Scanza island", by which Benoît means Scania. While Faxe was physically much closer to Scania, the mountainous scenery of "Fasge", described by Benoît, would seem to be more like Fauske. Benoît says elsewhere in the Chronique des ducs de Normandie; the claim that Rollo was the brother of a King of Norway, Harald Finehair was made by an anonymous 12th-century Welsh author, in The Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan. Rollo was first explicitly identified with Hrólf the Walker by the 13th-century Icelandic sagas and Orkneyinga Saga. Hrólf the Walker was so named because he "was so big that no horse
Fécamp is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France. Fécamp is situated in the valley of the Valmont river, at the heart of the Pays de Caux, on the Albaster Coast, it is around 35 km northeast of Le Havre, around 60 km northwest of Rouen. According to its late medieval founding legend, the trunk of a fig tree carrying the Precious Blood of Christ collected by Joseph of Arimathea was washed ashore on the riverbank at Fécamp in the 1st century. A fountain of holy blood gushed from the site; the monks' legend justified the artificial etymology of the name to Fici-campus, the camp of the fig tree. Fécamp, however, is mentioned in 875 as Fiscannum and in 990 as Fiscannus and as late as 1496 which stem from the Germanic root fisc with an unknown suffix, it used to be the name of the Valmont River. The prehistoric site, on the high ground inland from the port of Fécamp, reveals human occupation dating back to Neolithic times. Spreading over 21 hectares, surrounded by walls and ditches for a length of nearly 2000 meters, including a praetorian door.
Objects recovered range in date from the Neolithic until Roman times. Many items of the Gallo-Roman period have been found locally coins. A bronze axe, of Celtic design, was unearthed in 1859. Fécamp was on the ancient road linking Lillebonne with the north of Gaul; the archaeological diggings around the Ducal palace in 1973-1984 revealed some evidence of the La Tène Celtic culture and Gallo-Roman works. Two Gallo-Roman cemeteries have been discovered. During Roman times, a road linked Fécamp to Étretat, passing through the present-day village of Fond-Pitron; the current D940 follows the original Roman road. In the 6th century, Saint Leger was exiled to Fécamp. In 932, William I of Normandy founded the castle, to be the residence of the Dukes of Normandy up until 1204, after which, the Norman Duchy was integrated within the French royal domain; the castle was the birthplace of many Norman dukes, including Richard I of Normandy and Richard II of Normandy. In 1202, King John of England granted a community system to Fécamp.
In 1410 the English razed the town. In 1449, Fécamp was freed from English occupation. For Fécamp, the Wars of religion finished in July 1593, when Captain de Bois-Rosé rallied the city to Henry IV of France after his conversion to Catholicism, it was at Fécamp that Charles II of England landed, on 16 October 1651, soon after the Battle of Worcester, where he had been defeated by Cromwell. The history of Fécamp has always revolved around its harbour; the reputation of the salt-herrings of Fécamp was established as early as the 10th century, that of smoked herrings from the 13th century. An association of whale fishermen was created in the 11th century. Fishing for cod started commercially in the 16th century, under the impetus of Nicolas Selles, an early shipping magnate. Throughout the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, Fécamp had an important role as the chief fishing port in France for cod and cod-related fish; this was the case up until the 1970s. First practiced by three-masted sailing ships, Atlantic fishing trips could last more than six months, the time taken to fill the hold with cod, which were salted to preserve them.
The fishing was carried out in small boats, carrying only two or three fishermen. Many of these small boats would be never returned to the ship; as technology evolved, the three-mast boats disappeared, giving way to steamers to diesel-engined vessels. These days, only a small fishing fleet restricted to fishing around coastal waters. In the harbour, pleasure-boats have taken the place of all but a few fishing-boats. In the 19th century, the recipe for Benedictine liqueur was “rediscovered” by Alexandre Legrand; the Palais Benedictine now houses a visitors' centre. Fécamp has four high schools: Anita Conti high school Providence high school, a private high school situated in the city centre. Descartes professional high school, situated in the school complex at St. Jacques Guy de Maupassant high school at St. Jacques 12th – 14th century ruins of the ducal former palace enclosed in the abbey grounds – two towers and a wall section Remains of the fort of Bourg-Baudouin, on the approach to Notre-Dame-du-Salut Benedictine Palace, ruined buildings of the Benedictine abbey.
Former mill of the 18th century. The Town hall, a Louis XVI style building Former hostelry of the du Grand Cerf, 16th century Courtyard de la Maîtrise with 11th-12th century tower. Old houses in the neighbourhood of the Hallettes, of which two houses are 16th century: Numbers 21 and 73 Rue Arquaise and 6, Rue de la Voûte Water Tower 13th century Épinay farm, 16th century, former country retreat of a religious order Church of the Trinity: Primitive Norman Gothic style, constructed from 1175 to 1220 with some Roman traces. Lantern tower from the 12th century. Abbey of the Trinity: Traces of former buildings: cloisters, a former mill, tower de la Maîtrise St. Etienne’s churc
Richard II, Duke of Normandy
Richard II, called the Good, was the eldest son and heir of Richard I the Fearless and Gunnora. He was a Norman nobleman of the House of Normandy, he was the paternal grandfather of William the Conqueror. Richard succeeded his father as Duke of Normandy in 996. During his minority, the first five years of his reign, his regent was Count Rodulf of Ivry, his uncle, who wielded the power and put down a peasant insurrection at the beginning of Richard's reign. Richard had deep religious interests and found he had much in common with Robert II of France, who he helped militarily against the duchy of Burgundy, he forged a marriage alliance with Brittany by marrying his sister Hawise to Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany and by his own marriage to Geoffrey's sister, Judith of Brittany. In 1000-1001, Richard repelled an English attack on the Cotentin Peninsula, led by Ethelred II of England. Ethelred had given orders that Richard be captured and brought to England, but the English had not been prepared for the rapid response of the Norman cavalry and were defeated at the Battle of Val-de-Saire.
Richard attempted to improve relations with England through his sister Emma of Normandy's marriage to King Ethelred. This marriage was significant in that it gave his grandson, William the Conqueror, the basis of his claim to the throne of England; the improved relations proved to be beneficial to Ethelred when in 1013 Sweyn Forkbeard invaded England. Emma with her two sons Edward and Alfred fled to Normandy followed shortly thereafter by her husband king Ethelred. Soon after the death of Ethelred, King of England forced Emma to marry him while Richard was forced to recognize the new regime as his sister was again Queen. Richard had contacts with Scandinavian Vikings throughout his reign, he employed Viking mercenaries and concluded a treaty with Sweyn Forkbeard, en route to England. Richard II commissioned his clerk and confessor, Dudo of Saint-Quentin, to portray his ducal ancestors as morally upright Christian leaders who built Normandy despite the treachery of their overlords and neighboring principalities.
It was a work of propaganda designed to legitimize the Norman settlement, while it contains numerous unreliable legends, as respects the reigns of his father and grandfather, Richard I and William I it is reliable. In 1025 and 1026 Richard confirmed gifts of his great-grandfather Rollo to Saint-Ouen at Rouen, his other numerous grants to monastic houses tends to indicate the areas over which Richard had ducal control, namely Caen, the Éverecin, the Cotentin, the Pays de Caux and Rouen. Richard II died 28 Aug 1026, his eldest son, Richard becoming the new Duke. He married firstly, c.1000, daughter of Conan I of Brittany, by whom he had the following issue: Richard, duke of Normandy Robert, duke of Normandy Alice of Normandy, married Renaud I, Count of Burgundy William, monk at Fécamp, d. 1025, buried at Fécamp Abbey Eleanor, married to Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders Matilda, nun at Fecamp, d. 1033. She died unmarried. Secondly he married Poppa of Envermeu, by whom he had the following issue: Mauger, Archbishop of Rouen William, count of Arques
Bayeux is a commune in the Calvados department in Normandy in northwestern France. Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, it is known as the first major town secured by the Allies during Operation Overlord. Charles de Gaulle made two famous speeches in this town. Bayeux is a sub-prefecture of Calvados, it is the seat of of the canton of Bayeux. Bayeux is located 7 kilometres from 30 km north-west of Caen; the city, with elevations varying from 32 to 67 metres above sea level – with an average of 46 metres – is bisected by the River Aure. Bayeux is located at the crossroads of the train route Paris-Caen-Cherbourg; the city is the capital of the Bessin. The city was known as Augustodurum in the Roman Empire, it means the durum dedicated to Roman Emperor. The Celtic word duron, Latinised as durum, was used to translate the Latin word forum. In the Late Empire it took the name of the Celtic tribe who lived here: the Bodiocassi, Latinized in Bajocassi and this word explains the place-names Bayeux and Bessin.
Bodiocassi has been compared with Old Irish Buidechass'with blond locks'. Founded as a Gallo-Roman settlement in the 1st century BC under the name Augustodurum, Bayeux is the capital of the former territory of the Baiocasses people of Gaul, whose name appears in Pliny's Natural History. Evidence of earlier human occupation of the territory comes from fortified Celtic camps, but there is no evidence of any major pre-existing Celtic town before the organization of Gaul in Roman civitates. Any settlement was more confined to scattered Druid huts along the banks of the Aure and Drome rivers or on Mount Phaunus where they worshiped. Cemeteries have been found on the nearby Mount Phaunus indicating the area as a Druid centre. Titus Sabinus, a lieutenant of Julius Caesar, subjected the Bessin region to Roman domination; the 5th-century Notitia provinciarum et civitatum Galliae mentions Suevi, settled here. The town is mentioned by Ptolemy, writing in the reign of Antoninus Pius, under the name Noemagus Biducassium and remained so until the time of the Roman Empire.
The main street was the heart of the city. Two baths, under the Church of St. Lawrence and the post office in rue Laitière, a sculpted head of the goddess Minerva have been found, attesting to the adoption of Roman culture. In 1990 a closer examination of huge blocks discovered in the cathedral in the 19th century indicated the presence of an old Roman building. Bayeux was built on a crossroads between Lisieux and Valognes, developing first on the west bank of the river. By the end of the 3rd century a walled enclosure surrounded the city and remained until it was removed in the 18th century, its layout can be followed today. The citadel of the city was located in the cathedral the southeast. An important city in Normandy, Bayeux was part of the coastal defence of the Roman Empire against the pirates of the region, a Roman legion was stationed there; the city was destroyed during the Viking raids of the late 9th century but was rebuilt in the early 10th century under the reign of Bothon. In the middle of the 10th century Bayeux was controlled by Hagrold, a pagan Viking who defended the city against the Franks.
The 12th-century poet Benoît de Saint-Maure, in his verse history of the dukes of Normandy, remarked on the "Danish" spoken at Bayeux. The 11th century saw the creation of five villages beyond the walls to the north east evidence of its growth during Ducal Normandy. William the Conqueror's half brother Odo, Earl of Kent completed the cathedral in the city and it was dedicated in 1077; however the city began to lose prominence. When King Henry I of England defeated his brother Robert Curthose for the rule of Normandy, the city was burned to set an example to the rest of the duchy. Under Richard the Lionheart, Bayeux was wealthy enough to purchase a municipal charter. From the end of Richard's reign to the end of the Hundred Years' War, Bayeux was pillaged until Henry V of England captured the city in 1417. After the Battle of Formigny, Charles VII of France recaptured the city and granted a general amnesty to its populace in 1450; the capture of Bayeux heralded a return to prosperity as new families replaced those decimated by war and these built some 60 mansions scattered throughout the city, with stone supplanting wood.
The area around Bayeux is called the Bessin, the bailiwick of the province Normandy until the French Revolution. During the Second World War, Bayeux was the first city of the Battle of Normandy to be liberated, on 16 June 1944 General Charles de Gaulle made the first of two major speeches in Bayeux in which he made clear that France sided with the Allies; the buildings in Bayeux were untouched during the Battle of Normandy, the German forces being involved in defending Caen from the Allies. The Bayeux War Cemetery with its memorial includes the largest British cemetery dating from the Second World War in France. There are 4,648 graves, including 466 Germans. Most of those buried. Royal British Legion National, every 5 June at 1530 hrs, attends the 3rd Division Cean Memorial Service and beating retreat ceremony. On the 6th of June, it holds a remembrance