A Trip to France 8: Glanum

by Brenda W. Clough

 Roman towns were often named after local dieties, who in turn were in charge of the water. Nimes was originally Nemausus, named after the Gauls’ Nemausus who presided over the artesian spring. And today we went to Glanum, high up in the hills behind St-Remy in Provence. It was a considerable town just off of the via Domitia, which meant that it was a lively place with bath houses, a theater and a forum. The town is named after the Gaulish divinity Glanis, and his backup band the Glanic mother goddesses, who collectively keep an eye on a deep square spring house. In this dry country if there is no spring the people have to catch rain water, a chancy proposition.

 Everything is fairly ruinous, although they apparently still have concerts in the theater. But the local authorities, annoyed by the lack of impressive stuff, restored just one pillar and corner of a building, one of the temples dedicated to the Imperial cult. Less is more — just this one glorious glimpse lifts the heart, and shows you how wonderful the entire town must have been.

The sacred spring is still there and full of water (and koi, which must be a recent addition). It has been pointed out to me that if I’m going to visit sacred springs I should add am offering to it. My husband suggested his own (broken) ball point pen, but I am certain that would throw the nymphs for a loop. Plastic! So I threw in a card with the cover of Book View Cafe’s DRAGON LORDS on it. I trust this will goose sales in a major way.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


A Trip to France 8: Glanum — 4 Comments

  1. Thank you for that picture.The temple must have been heart stopping in its original shape.
    And now I want to hear the Glanic Mother Goddesses band. I am imagining the costumes …

  2. I know, it’s irresistible, isn’t it? Glanis, whose name is also startlingly rendered as Glan, which I am sure would get him into trouble on the internet these days, is pretty obscure. I could not discern whether the Glanic mother goddesses were supportive nymphs (like Dionysos’s maenads) or whether they were actually his real or honorary moms. And my modern mind immediately conjured up Tony Orlando and Dawn. I see Glan as young and with longish hair and sideburns, rather louche, perhaps with the furry mustache that Gauls admired — a 1980s TV star. The backup girls are of course in miniskirts, playing the double flutes, lyres, etc.