From the early christian centuries till 1561 and a certain Simeoni, an Italian scholar working with the Auvergne bishop, Clermont-Ferrand has always be known for having hosted the famous battle of Caesar vs Vercingetorix and the alliance of 31 Gaul people, ancestors to the French, hosting millions of artisans, farmers and citizens in 52 BC.
Then this Simeoni saw a tiny farm in the land called ‘Gergovia’ and too quickly wrote he had found the ‘actual’ place of the battle. Limited search by Stoffel in the 1860s under the request of Napoleon III, interested in French history, brought a too quick decision of renaming a small ‘Merdogne’ village into ‘Gergovia’ in January 1865.
For about 151 years now, French and international historians are looking for the archeological tracks of the Gergovia battle won by the Arverns and their Gaul allied people over the Caesar troups and legions. And … they are finding nothing in the ‘official Gergovie’, Merdogne, a tiny village plateau on a volcano, some 8km South of Clermont-Ferrand, except later AD Gallo-Roman buildings.
On the contrary, the geographical descriptions given by Julius Caesar himself in his book ‘De Bello Gallico‘ are showing that he actually speaks of the ‘Côtes de Clermont‘, a series of small volcanoes surrounding the 21st century capital of Auvergne : Clermont-Ferrand and its 500,000 inhabitants.
Furthermore, the searches have permitted to lodge the ‘main camp’ of Caesar in the old town of ‘Montferrand’ and the ‘small camp’ in Chanturgue, now a park and private houses above city center.
Already in 1933, a French historian Maurice Busset publishes a book ‘Gergovia, capitale des Gaules et l’Oppidum du plateau des Côtes’. He is followed in 1952 by Paul Eychart (PhD in Archeology, 1969), who conducts private searches for 30 years and finds numerous proofs of neolithic and human buildings in the ‘Côtes de Clermont’ centuries before the battle of Gergovia. Eychart is supported in his searches by a large association counting up to 200 members, from different countries.
In 1993, another historian Yves Texier, after 5 years of searches, inventories and active dedicated work, concludes in his PhD thesis presented to Clermont II University professors, that there is no doubt Gergovia battle actually was fought on the ‘Côtes de Clermont‘ site.
But the public clarks and local authorities are slow and often conservative and surprisingly no public search on ‘Chanturgue’ or on the ‘Côtes de Clermont’ with scientific tools have been conducted on the actual sites since 1930, maybe for fear of telling the people the ‘official version’ has been mistaken for 150 years…
You will then be amazed to discover in Clermont-Ferrand :
a beautiful black-stone cathedral with two Viollet-le-Duc peaks.
Notre-Dame-du-Port, an exceptional restaured roman church, dating back to the 12th & 13th centuries, on the road of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.
a nice Gallo-Roman museum, 45 rue Ballainvillier, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand.
old towns of Clermont and Montferrand with exceptional old houses from 13th to 18th centuries, including the beautiful Town Hall court. See rue du Port on your way from Notre-Dame to the cathedral (30mn).
antiquarian shops in the same old streets near Notre-Dame and the Cathedral.
access to the 120 volcanoes of the ‘Chaïne des Puys’ including the ‘Puy-de-Dôme’ on which Blaise Pascal tested atmospheric pressure
François P. VALLET, on May 16th, 2016