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Texte tiré du livre : Notre Provence (7 Mo) by F. Garrigue et A. Vérola

At the time of the Gauls

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Prehistoric Provence the Ligurians Foundation of Marseilles the development of Marseilles


We saw in geography that at the geological times, our country changes several times of form. The temperature varies it too. Very hot initially, it allows the elephant, the rhinoceros, with the hippopotamus, to live there. Then, with enormous glaciers almost entirely cover it, obliging the animals which live it to go down to the south towards hotter countries. The wild horse, the stag, the rabbit succeed to them. Caves located on the two sides of the procession of Lourmarin show us that the man made his appearance. II gets dressed with skins of animals and manufactures tools and weapons out of flint (axes, scrapers, arrowheads). The burials found in the cave of Bausse-Russet-red with Chin let suppose that it buries its deaths with their weapons and their ornaments (bracelets, collars).

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One moderate period succeeds the ice age. The man slowly populates Provence, mainly the valleys and the littoral. Approximately twenty-five centuries before Jesus-Christ, new people arrive: Ligurians. These men are civilized much than their predecessors: they build the first cities, the oppida, perched high, whose site indicates the spirit independent and dominating of their inhabitants. Many vestiges remain still nowadays (Castellar close to Cadenet, Bread of Ammunition between Puyloubier and Pourrières, Fouirette close to the Luc). The Ligurians can clear the forests, cultivate cereals and domesticate the animals. With flax, hemp, brooms, nettles, they make clothing which replaces little by little the skins of animals. They know the polishing of the stone, manufacture objects in bone and even potteries. Deaths are buried in caves (Gréoux), then, later, under dolmens. One still finds forty dolmens including 22 in the Alpes-Maritimes. Most beautiful is that of Draguignan: it is an immense block sitted gross on four flagstones: there is the thousand years that it to lie thus, with the face of a nipple where it sings the praise of the powerful hand which posed it so well balance. The Ligurians set up as "planted stones", the menhirs, rarer as the dolmens (mountain of Cords close to Arles, Cabasse close to Brignoles).

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In VIIIème century before J.-C, the Greeks are attracted by our shore, which resembles their. In year 600, Phocéens send a forwarding ordered by the commercial rich person Protis. They travel on beautiful ships to fifty oars, the "pentéconters", and stop in front of a gulf which points out that of Phocée to them. Protis is presented at Nann, chief of the Ligurians. This day, Nann gives a banquet in a close cave. With the exit of the feast, according to the ligure habit, his/her Gyptis daughter will choose her husband by offering a cut to him. Phocéens are invited to the meal. Gyptis, struck beauty of the young Greek chief, presents the cut to him. The Greeks are installed on northern bank of Lacydon and melt Massilia.

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In 542 front. J.-C, a new immigration of Phocéens marks the one era beginning of size for Marseilles. Six hundred senators, Timouques, elected officials with life among the Marseillais, manage the city wisely and take care of the maintenance die its habits. The city is re-elected for the wisdom of its constitution, the power of its fleet and the prosperity of its trade. It is already a large port where Greek is spoken, the Gallic one and Latin. In IVème front century. J.-C, Pythéas and Euthymènes are illustrated by their voyages in seas hitherto unknown. From the Alpes-Maritimes in the Pyrenees, the Marseillais melt of the counters. On the coast of Provence, they occupy Ciotat, Tauroentum, Hyères, Antibes and Nice, as many small well sheltered ports, useful for the trade and refuges in the event of war. At the interior of the grounds, they settle in Cavaillon, Avignon and Trets.