|Athies (Somme). Excavation of the main residence. The chalk foundations appear in fields that have recently been plowed.|
|Same site. A remarkable underground cellar with ornate apses and large, one-piece cellar windows. It appears to have served as a weaving workshop; the placement of the machines is visible |
in the masonry.
|Large Gallo-Roman villa with |
an unusual layout
at Roye-sur-Matz (Oise).
|Gallo-Roman settlements: Developing the land|
|The extreme density of these villas, even through they are obviously not all contemporary, testify to a generalized presence throughout the fertile plains of northern France, as well as to a profound Romanization. The density and standardization of rural constructions attest to the extraordinary wealth and astonishing success of this Romanization — a success achieved less by constraint than by emulation.|
We know from Tacitus, speaking of Britain, how the Romans sought to pacify the natives by giving them a taste for comfort and luxury, so that they might develop
"a liking for our style of dress, and often wear the toga … to allow themselves to be attracted by our vices, by a taste for the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet…".
And Tacitus de concludes, "in their ignorance, the natives called this 'civilization', when it was but a part of their servitude" !
It was no doubt in this way that Rome managed to develop the region and supply the army and the populations of cities with the main foodstuffs that they needed. A number of clues lead us to think that these major cities had a semi-agricultural, semi-artisan nature, and that they basically produced wheat and wool, quite probably woven in the vast cellars that excavations have sometimes brought to light, such as at Athies (Somme).