Pope Urban IV
Pope Urban IV, born Jacques Pantaléon, was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 August 1261 to his death in 1264. He was not a cardinal. Urban IV was the son of a cobbler of France, he studied theology and common law in Paris and was appointed a canon of Laon and Archdeacon of Liège. At the First Council of Lyon he attracted the attention of Pope Innocent IV, who sent him on two missions in Germany. One of the missions was to negotiate the Treaty of Christburg between the pagan Prussians and the Teutonic Knights, he became Bishop of Verdun in 1253. In 1255, Pope Alexander IV made him Patriarch of Jerusalem, he had returned from Jerusalem, in dire straits, was at Viterbo seeking help for the oppressed Christians in the East when Alexander IV died. After a three-month vacancy, Pantaléon was chosen by the eight cardinals of the Sacred College to succeed him in a papal election that concluded on 29 August 1261, he chose the regnal name of Urban IV. A fortnight before Urban IV's election, the Latin Empire of Constantinople, founded during the ill-fated Fourth Crusade against the Byzantines, was abolished after the re-capture of the city by the Byzantines led by general Michael VIII Palaiologos.
Urban IV endeavoured without success to stir up a crusade to restore the Latin Empire. Urban initiated construction of the Basilica of St. Urbain, Troyes, in 1262; the festival of Corpus Christi was instituted by Urban IV on August 11, 1264, with the publication of the papal bull Transiturus. Urban asked Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican theologian, to write the texts for the Mass and Office of the feast; this included such famous hymns as the Pange lingua, Tantum ergo, Panis angelicus. The Pope became involved in the affairs of Denmark. Jakob Erlandsen, Archbishop of Lund, wanted to make the Danish Church independent of the Royal power - which put him in direct confrontation with the Dowager Queen Margaret Sambiria, acting as regent for her son, King Eric V of Denmark; the Queen imprisoned the Archbishop. Both sides tried to get the Pope's support; the Pope agreed to several items that the Queen wanted - he issued a dispensation to alter the terms of the Danish succession that would permit women to inherit the Danish throne.
However, the main issues remained unsolved by Urban's death, with the case continuing at the papal court in Rome and the exiled Archbishop Erlandsen coming to Italy to pursue it in person. In fact, the convoluted affairs of distant Denmark were of only a minor concern to the Pope, it was Italy which commanded Urban IV's near full attention: the long confrontation with the late Hohenstaufen German Emperor Frederick II had not been pressed during the mild pontificate of Alexander IV, during which it devolved into inter-urban struggles between nominally pro-Imperial Ghibellines and more nominally pro-papal Guelf factions. Frederick II's heir Manfred was immersed in these struggles. Urban IV's military captain was the condottiere Azzo d'Este, nominally at the head of a loose league of cities that included Mantua and Ferrara. Any Hohenstaufen in Sicily was bound to have claims over the cities of Lombardy, as a check to Manfred, Urban IV introduced Charles of Anjou into the equation to place the crown of the Kingdom of Sicily in the hands of a monarch amenable to papal control.
Charles was Count of Provence by right of his wife, maintaining a rich base for projecting what would be an expensive Italian war. For two years Urban IV negotiated with Manfred regarding whether Manfred would aid the Latins in regaining Constantinople in return for papal confirmation of the Hohenstaufen rights in the realm. Meanwhile, the papal pact solidified with Charles a promise of papal ships and men, produced by a crusading tithe, Charles's promise not to lay claims on Imperial lands in northern Italy, nor in the Papal States. Charles promised to restore the annual census or feudal tribute due the Pope as overlord, some 10,000 ounces of gold being agreed upon, while the Pope would work to block Conradin from election as King of the Germans. Before the arrival in Italy of his candidate Charles, Urban IV died at Perugia on 2 October 1264, his successor was Pope Clement IV, who took up the papal side of the arrangement. There is a story that the pope's death was related to Great Comet of 1264 which he fell sick at sometime near the arrival of the comet and he died when the comet disappeared.
Tannhäuser, a prominent German Minnesänger and poet, was a contemporary of Pope Urban IV—the pope died in 1264, the Minnesänger died shortly after 1265. Two centuries the pope became a major character in a legend which grew up about the Minnesänger, first attested in 1430 and propagated in ballads from 1450; the legendary account makes Tannhäuser a knight and poet who found the Venusberg, the subterranean home of Venus, spent a year there worshipping the goddess. After leaving the Venusberg, Tannhäuser is filled with remorse and travels to Rome to ask Pope Urban IV if it is possible to be absolved of his sins. Urban replies that forgiveness is as impossible as it would be for his papal staff to send forth green leaves. Three days after Tannhäuser's departure Urban's staff begins to grow new leaves. There is no historical evidence for the events in the legend. List of popes David Abulafia, 1988. Frederick II, pp 413ff. Richard, Jean; the Crusades: c. 1071 – c. 1291. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-5
Odilo of Cluny
Saint Odilo of Cluny was the fifth Benedictine Abbot of Cluny, holding the post for around 54 years. During his tenure Cluny became the most important monastery in western Europe. Odilo worked to reform the monastic practices not only at Cluny, but at other Benedictine houses, he promoted the Truce of God whereby military hostilities were temporarily suspended at certain times for ostensibly religious reasons. Odilo encouraged the formal practice of personal consecration to Mary, he established All Souls' Day in Cluny and its monasteries as the annual commemoration to pray for all the faithful departed. The practice was soon adopted throughout the whole Western church. Odilo was descended from an illustrious noble family of Auvergne; the son of Berald de Mercoeur and Gerberga, his widowed mother became a nun at the convent of St. John in Autun after his father's death. Odilo had two sisters. One of his sisters married and the other became an abbess; when he was a child, he was paralyzed and had to be carried by the family servants on a stretcher.
One day while the family was travelling, they came to a church and Odilo was left with the luggage at the church door. The door was open, little Odilo felt God was calling him to crawl to the altar, he tried to stand up, but failed. He tried again and succeeded: he was able to walk around the altar, it was believed. As a child, he developed a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. While still quite young, he entered the seminary of St. Julien in Brioude, where he became a specialist in canon law. William of Dijon persuaded him to enter the monastery of Cluny. In 991, at the age of twenty-nine, he entered Cluny and before the end of his year of probation was made coadjutor to Abbot Mayeul, shortly before the latter's death was made abbot and received Holy orders, his fifty years as Abbot were distinguished for the exceeding gentleness of his rule. It was usual with him to say, that of two extremes he chose rather to offend by tenderness, than a too rigid severity, he was known for showing mercy indiscriminately to those who people said did not deserve it.
He would say in response, ‘I would rather be mercifully judged for having shown mercy, than be cruelly damned for having shown cruelty."Of small stature and insignificant appearance, Odilo was a man of immense force of character. He was a man of prayer and penance, with a great devotion to the Incarnation and to the Blessed Mother. Odilo encouraged the formal practice of personal consecration to Mary, he encouraged learning in his monasteries, had the monk Radolphus Glaber write a history of the time. He erected a magnificent monastery building, furthered the reform of the Benedictine monasteries, it was during his abbacy. During a great famine in 1006, his liberality to the poor was by many censured as profuse. Pope John XIX offered Odilo the archbishopric of Lyons, but Odilo refused and the pope chided Odilo for disobedience. John XIX died shortly after and his successor did not press the matter any further, he is said to have influenced the course of the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago, which runs near the monasteries.
During this period it was common for secular lords and local rulers to try to either take control of monasteries or to seize their property. Not only this, but local bishops also tried to impose their own authority on monasteries or to seize monastery property, it was for this reason that from the earliest days of Cluny's history, Cluny did not affiliate itself with the authority of any diocese except Rome and received its charter directly from the Pope. Several Popes decreed an automatic excommunication to any bishop or secular ruler who tried to interfere or seize Cluniac property. However, many times the monks needed this order of excommunication renewed and repeated by the Popes because each new generation would bring a new round of figures who would go after Cluniac property. All of the abbots of Cluny in this period had to deal with this problem, Odilo was no exception, he attended the Synod of Ansa in 994 for this reason and got the bishops present at the synod to make a statement excommunicating anyone who attacked Cluniac property.
In 997 he went to Rome to make secure the status of Cluny. In 998 he obtained from Pope Gregory V. Cluny complete freedom by the diocesan Bishop and 1024 the extension of this privilege on all dependent Cluny abbeys and priories. In 1025 Gauzlin, bishop of Mâcon, claimed that the archbishop of Vienne needed his approval to give ordination to monks in Cluny. In answer to this Odilo produced the papal documents granting Cluny freedom from local diocesan control. A council at Ansa in southern Gaul condemned Odilo's position because it claimed that the Council of Chalcedon had decreed that the ordination of monks had to occur with diocesan consent. In answer to this, the Pope wrote letters to various parties involved with the dispute and condemned Gauzlin's position; the Pope further decreed that any bishop who tried to enter a Cluniac monastery to celebrate a mass would suffer automatic excommunication, unless he had been invited by the abbot. The dispute when on for years. In Germany the Cluny policy had no permanent success, as the monks there were more inclined to individualism.
Odilo visited Henry II on several occasions and because of his closeness to him, he was able to intercede on severa
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. As of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France, 36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas; this is a higher total than that of any other European country, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
This is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions: COM of Saint-Martin, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. The median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II, born Odo of Châtillon or Otho de Lagery, was Pope from 12 March 1088 to his death in 1099. Urban II was a native of France, he was a descendant of a noble family in Châtillon-sur-Marne. Reims was the nearby cathedral school that Urban, at that time Eudes, began his studies at 1050. Before his papacy he was the abbot of Bishop of Ostia under the name Eudes; as the Pope he would have to deal with many issues including the antipope Clement III, infighting of various christian nations, the Muslim incursions into Europe. He is best known for initiating the First Crusade and setting up the modern-day Roman Curia in the manner of a royal ecclesiastical court to help run the Church, he promised forgiveness and pardon for all of the past sins of those who would fight to reclaim the holy land, free the eastern churches. This pardon would apply to those that would fight the Moors in Spain. Urban, baptized Eudes, was born to a family of Châtillon-sur-Marne, he was prior of the abbey of Cluny Pope Gregory VII named him cardinal-bishop of Ostia c. 1080.
He was one of the most prominent and active supporters of the Gregorian reforms as legate in the Holy Roman Empire in 1084. He was among the three. Desiderius, the abbot of Monte Cassino, was chosen to follow Gregory in 1085 but, after his short reign as Victor III, Odo was elected by acclamation at a small meeting of cardinals and other prelates held in Terracina in March 1088. From the outset, Urban had to reckon with the presence of Guibert, the former bishop of Ravenna who held Rome as the antipope "Clement III". Gregory had clashed with the emperor Henry IV over papal authority. Despite the Walk to Canossa, Gregory had backed the rebel Duke of Swabia and again excommunicated the emperor. Henry took Rome in 1084 and installed Clement III in his place. Urban took up the policies of Pope Gregory VII and, while pursuing them with determination, showed greater flexibility and diplomatic finesse. Kept away from Rome, Urban toured northern Italy and France. A series of well-attended synods held in Rome, Amalfi and Troia supported him in renewed declarations against simony, lay investitures, clerical marriages, the emperor and his antipope.
He facilitated the marriage of Matilda, countess of Tuscany, with duke of Bavaria. He supported the rebellion of Prince Conrad against his father and bestowed the office of groom on Conrad at Cremona in 1095. While there, he helped arrange the marriage between Conrad and Maximilla, the daughter of Count Roger of Sicily, which occurred that year at Pisa; the Empress Adelaide was encouraged in her charges of sexual coercion against her husband, Henry IV. He supported the theological and ecclesiastical work of Anselm, negotiating a solution to the cleric's impasse with King William II of England and receiving England's support against the Imperial pope in Rome. Urban maintained vigorous support for his predecessors' reforms and did not shy from supporting Anselm when the new archbishop of Canterbury fled England. Despite the importance of French support for his cause, he upheld his legate Hugh of Die's excommunication of King Philip over his doubly bigamous marriage with Bertrade de Montfort, wife of the Count of Anjou.
The Pope's movement took its first public shape at the Council of Piacenza, where, in March 1095, Urban II received an ambassador from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos asking for help against the Muslim Seljuk Turks who had taken over most of Byzantine Anatolia. A great council met, attended by numerous Italian and French bishops in such vast numbers it had to be held in the open air outside the city of Clermont. Though the Council of Clermont held in November of the same year was focused on reforms within the church hierarchy, Urban II gave a speech on 27 November 1095 to a broader audience. Urban II's sermon proved effective, as he summoned the attending nobility and the people to wrest the Holy Land, the eastern churches from the control of the Seljuk Turks. There exists no exact transcription of the speech; the five extant versions of the speech were written down some time and they differ from one another. All versions of the speech except that by Fulcher of Chartres were influenced by the chronicle account of the First Crusade called the Gesta Francorum, which includes a version of it.
Fulcher of Chartres was present at the Council, though he did not start writing his history of the crusade, including a version of the speech until c. 1101. Robert the Monk may have been present, but his version dates from about 1106; the five versions of Urban's speech reflect much more what authors thought Urban II should have said to launch the First Crusade than what Urban II did say. As a better means of evaluating Urban's true motives in calling for a crusade to the Holy Lands, there are four extant letters written by Pope Urban himself: one to the Flemish. However, whereas the three former letters were concerned with rallying popular support for the Crusades
Council of Clermont
The Council of Clermont was a mixed synod of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Catholic Church, called by Pope Urban II and held from 18 to 28 November 1095 at Clermont, Auvergne, at the time part of the Duchy of Aquitaine. Pope Urban's speech on November 27 included the call to arms that would result in the First Crusade, the capture of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In this, Urban reacted to the request by Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus who had sent envoys to the Council of Piacenza requesting military assistance against the Seljuk Turks. Several accounts of the speech survive. Urban discussed Cluniac reforms of the Church, extended the excommunication of Philip I of France for his adulterous remarriage to Bertrade of Montfort; the council declared a renewal of the Truce of God, an attempt on the part of the church to reduce feuding among Frankish nobles. The council was attended by about 300 clerics. No official list of the participants or of the signatories to the decrees of the Council survives.
A partial list of some of the attendees can nonetheless be constructed. There are six main sources of information about this portion of the council: a letter, written by Urban himself in December 1095 referring to the council the anonymous Gesta Francorum, Fulcher of Chartres, present at the council, in his Gesta Francorum Jerusalem Expugnantium; the five versions of the speech vary in their details, those of Baldric and Guibert, both of whom were not present at the council, are colored by events. The account by Fulcher, known to have been present at the council, is considered the most reliable version. Urban's own letter, written in December 1095 and addressed to the faithful "waiting in Flanders," does lament that "a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient". Urban does allude to Jerusalem, saying that this barbaric fury has "even grasped in intolerable servitude its churches and the Holy City of Christ, glorified by His passion and resurrection".
He calls upon the princes to "free the churches of the East", appointing Adhemar of Le Puy as the leader of the expedition, to set out on the day of the Assumption of Mary. The Gesta Francorum does not give an account of the speech at any length, it mentions that Urban called upon all to "take up the way of the Lord" and be prepared to suffer much, assured of their reward in heaven, it goes on to emphasize how news of Urban's call to arms spread by word of mouth "through all the regions and countries of Gaul, the Franks, upon hearing such reports, forthwith caused crosses to be sewed on their right shoulders, saying that they followed with one accord the footsteps of Christ, by which they had been redeemed from the hand of hell." Fulcher of Chartres was present at the speech, recorded it in Gesta Francorum Jerusalem Expugnantium. He was writing from memory a few years later, he asserts, in his prologue, that he is recording only such events as he had seen with his own eyes, his record is phrased in a way consistent with the style of oration known from papal speeches in the 11th century.
In Fulcher's text, Urban begins by reminding the clergy present that they are shepherds, that they must be vigilant and avoid carelessness and corruption. He reminds them to adhere to the laws of the church. Urban complains about the lack of justice and public order in the Frankish provinces and calls for the re-establishment of the truce protecting clergy from violence. In the Historiography of the Crusades, there is a long-standing argument as to how much the pacification of the Frankish realm was designed to go hand in hand with the "export of violence" to the enemy in the east. Fulcher reports that everyone present agreed to the pope's propositions and promised to adhere to the church's decrees. After this and other matters had been attended to, Urban spoke about the suffering of Christianity in another part of the world. In this second part of his speech, Urban urges the Frankish Christians that once they have re-established peace and righteousness in their own land, they should turn their attention to the East and bring aid to the Christians there, as the Turks had attacked them and had conquered the territory of Romania as far west as the Mediterranean, the part known as the "Arm of Saint George", killing and capturing many Christians and destroying churches and devastating the kingdom of God.
In order to avoid further loss of territory and more widespread attacks on Christians, Urban calls on the clergy present to publish his call to arms everywhere, persuade all people of whatever rank, both nobles and commoners, to go to the aid of the Christians under attack. Concluding his call to arms with "Christ commands it", Urban defines the crusade both as a defensive just war and as a religious holy war. Urban goes on to promise immediate absolution to all who die either on the way or in battle against the infidels, he connects his call to arms with his previous call for peace in Gaul: "Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long ti
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine