Ludivine PECHOUX - AHR-18 - Les sanctuaires de périphérie urbaine en Gaule romaine2010, 504 p., 159 fig. dt 4 coul. (ISBN: 978-2-35518-012-5)
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Located at the gates of towns, the suburbia supply some of the most beautiful examples of gallo-roman religious architecture. Paradoxically, these large sanctuaries possess a prestigious architecture, but do not belong to the inner urban tissue of the town itself. All of them didn’t have however the same importance. Like what could be observe in Greece and in Rome, these suburban sanctuaries in Gaul gathered at the border between the town and the countryside a very wide range of communities. Studying their architectural and topographical characteristics, as well as the gods and the rituals they welcomed, reveals their different status. They were attended by different types of population and highlighted the new communal identities that were born with the building of new gallo-roman capitals. They first emerged at the level of the neighbourhood, around small places of worship in the hands of small groups. Other places of worship were aimed at larger urban communities. Some sanctuaries created monumental gates to the town aiming at showing to travellers how powerful the urban elites were. Their existence depended on the degree of organisation and on the influence of Rome in the town. Some sanctuaries, which are qualified tutelary, are undoubtedly among the most important worship places for public religion of all urbes. Built during the second century, they contributed to a shift of the places of representation from the centre of the town to their suburban fringe. Finally, other sites aimed at uniting the city as a whole. They were monumental buildings with an original architecture. Some perpetuated pre-roman worship places, but became public places at the end of the first century. They were built to welcome large crowds and their suburban location made it easy for every one to go there. They were at the top of a civic religion which spread over the territory following different schemes. Proving the success of Rome imperial policy and expressing pax romana, the suburbs appear to be the privileged places for representing communities.