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.