History of Marseille

Marseille , France Was Originally founded circa 600 BC as the Greek colony of Massalia and populated by settlers from Phocaea (modern Foca , Turkey ). It est devenu the preeminent Greek polis in the Hellenized area of southern Gaul . The city-state with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean even as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa. However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar’s Civil War , in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar .

Marseille continues to prosper as a Roman city, becoming an early center of Christianity during the Western Roman Empire . The city maintained its position as a premier maritime trading hub even after its capture by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD, although the city went into decline following the sack of Charles Martel . It became part of the County of Provence during the 10th century, but its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and sacked by the Crown of Aragon in 1423. The city’s fortunes are rebounded with the ambitious building projects Rene of Anjou, Count of Provence, who strengthened the city’s fortifications during the mid-15th century. During the 16th century the naval fleet with the combined forces of the Franco-Ottoman alliance , which threatened the ports and navies of Genoa and the Holy Roman Empire .

Marseille lost a significant portion of its population during the Great Plague of Marseille in 1720, but the population recovered by mid-century. In 1792 the city became a focal point of the French Revolution and was the birthplace of France’s national anthem , La Marseillaise . Nazi Germany during World War II, The Industrial Revolution and Establishment of the French Empire during the World War II . French colonies, such as French Algeria .


Humans have inhabited Marseille and its environs for almost 30,000 years: Palaeolithic cave paintings in the underwater Cosquer Cave near the Calanque of Morgiou date back to between 27,000 and 19,000 BC; and recent excavations near the railway station have unearthed neolithic brick dwellings from around 6000 BC. [1] [2]


Massalia, Ligurian , [3] was the first Greek settlement in France. [4] It was established within modern Marseille around 600 BC by colonists coming from Phocaea (now Foça , in modern Turkey) on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor . The connection between Massalia and the Phoceans is mentioned in Thucydides ‘ s Peloponnesian War ; [5] he notes that the Phocaean project was opposed by the Carthaginians , whose fleet was defeated. [6]The founding of Massalia has also been recorded as a legend. According to the legend, Protis, while exploring for a new trading outpost or emporion for Phocaea, discovered the Mediterranean cove of the Lacydon, fed by a freshwater stream and protected by two rocky promontories. [7] Protest was invited to a banquet held by the chief of the local Ligurian tribe for suitors Gyptis in marriage. At the end of the banquet, Gyptis presented the ceremonial cup of wine to Protis, indicating her unequivocal choice. Following their marriage, they moved to the hill just to the north of Lacydon; and from this settlement grew Massalia. [7] Robbgives greater weight to the Gyptis story, though he notes that the tradition is to offer water, not wine, to the choice of a marriage partner. [8] A second wave of colonists arrived in about 540, when Phocaea was destroyed by the Persians. [9]

Massalia became one of the major trading ports of the ancient world. At its height, in the 4th century BC, it had a population of about 6000 inhabitants on about 50 hectares surrounded by a wall. It was governed as an aristocratic republic , with an assembly formed by the 600 wealthiest citizens. It had a large temple of the cult of Apollo of Delphi on a hilltop overlooking the port and a temple of the cult of Artemis of Ephesus at the other end of the city. The mined drachmas in Massalia were found in Ligurian-Celtic Gaul. Traders from Massalia on Durance and Rhôneand established overland trade routes to Switzerland and Burgundy , reaching as far north as the Baltic Sea . They exported their own products: local wine, salted pork and fish, aromatic and medicinal plants, coral, and cork. [9] The most famous citizen of Massalia was the mathematician, astronomer and navigator Pytheas . Pytheas made mathematical instruments, which allowed him to establish the position of Marseille, and he was the first scientist to observe that tides were connected with the phases of the moon. Between 330 and 320 BC, he organized an expedition in the Atlantic and as far north as England, and to visit Iceland , Shetland, and Norway, where he was the first scientist to describe drift ice and the midnight sun. He was hoping to establish a sea trading route from Cornwall , and it was not repeated. The Massiliots found it cheaper and easier to trade with Northern Europe over land routes. [10]

The city thrived by acting as a link between inland Gaul , hungry for Roman goods and wine (which Massalia was steadily exporting by 500 BC), [11] [12] and Rome’s insatiable need for new products and slaves . During the Punic Wars , Hannibal crossed the Alps north of the city. In 123 BC, Massalia was faced by an invasion of the Allobroges and Arverni under Bituitus ; it entered into an alliance with Rome , receiving protection-Roman legions under Q. Fabius Maximus and Gn. Domitius Ahenobarbusdefeated the Gauls at Vindalium in 121 BC-in exchange for yielding a strip of land through its territory which was used to construct the Via Domitia , a road to Spain . The city thus maintained its independence, the Romans organized their province of Transalpine Gaularound it and constructed a colony at Narbo Martius ( Narbonne ) in 118 BC which subsequently competed economically with Massalia.

During Julius Caesar ‘s war contre Pompey and MOST of the Senate , Massalia Itself allied with the exiled government; closing its gates to Caesar on Spainin April of 49 BC, the city ​​was besieged . Despite reinforcement by L. Domitius Ahenobarbus , Massalia’s fleet was defeated and the city fell by September. It is nominally nominal autonomy but lost its trading empire. The statesman Titus Annius Milo , then living in exile in Marseille, joked that no one could miss Rome as long as they could eat the delicious red mulletof Marseille. Marseille adapted to its new status under Rome. Most of the archaeological remnants of the original Greek settlement. During the Roman era , the city was controlled by 15 of “selected” among 600 senators. Three of them had the pre-eminence and the essence of the executive power . The city’s laws forbade the drinking of wine by a vote of the senators, a suicide victim.

It was during this time that Christianity first appeared in Marseilles, as evidenced by catacombs above the harbor and records of Roman martyrs . [13] According to Provençal tradition, Mary Magdalen evangelized Marseille with her brother Lazarus . The diocese of Marseille was set up in the 1st century (it became the Archdiocese of Marseille in 1948).

Middle Ages and Renaissance

The city was not affected by the decline of the Roman Empire before the 8th century, as Marseille had a stable situation, probably thanks to its efficient defensive walls inherited from the Phoceans. Even after the town fell into the hands of the Visigoths in the 5th century, the city became an important Christian intellectual center with John Cassian , Salvian and Sidonius Apollinaris . Marseille was born in the 6th century, when it became a major commercial center in the Mediterranean Sea. Late AntiquityContinued until the 7th century in Marseilles, with Phocean and Roman infrastructures still in use (forums, baths). Marseille’s economic activities and prosperity suddenly hit by Charles Martel in 739, when Martel’s armies punished the city for rejecting the governor. The city did not develop again before the 10th century, as it knew 150 years of recurring attacks from the Greeks and the Saracens . quote needed ]

The city regained much of its wealth and trading power when it was revived in the 10th century by the Counts of Provence . citation needed ] The Counts of Provence allowed Marseille, governed by a consul, Raymond Berengar IV of Provence. Marseille initially resisted his assertion of control, but admitted his suzerainty in 1243. [14] After his death, his daughter Beatrice of Provence married Louis IX of France ‘s brother Charlesin 1246, making him Count. Charles continued his father-in-law’s administrative changes, which reignited discontent. Marseille rebelled in 1248, under the leadership of local noble nobles, Barral of Baux and Boniface of Castellane , while Charles was embarked on the Seventh Crusade . Charles returned in 1250 and forced Marseille to surrender in 1252. Marseille rose up ounce more, in 1262, under Boniface of Castellane and Hugues des Baux, cousin of Barral des Baux (who remained loyal and helped with the unrest). [15] Charles quelled the revolt in 1263. Trade prospered, and Marseille gave him no further trouble. [16] In 1348, the city suffered terribly from the bubonic plague, which continued to strike intermittently until 1361. As a major port, it is believed that Marseille was one of the first places in France to meet the epidemic, and some 15,000 people died in a city that had a population of 25,000 during its period of economic prosperity in the previous century. [17] The city’s fortunes declined further when it was sacked and pillaged by the Aragonese in 1423.

Marseille’s population and trading status is now recovered and 1437, the Count of Provence René of Anjou , who succeeded his father Louis II of Anjou as King of Sicily and Duke of Anjou , arrived in Marseille and established it as France’s most fortified settlement outside Paris . [19] He helped raise the status of the city to a certain advantage. Marseille was used by the Duke of Anjouas a strategic maritime base to reconquer his kingdom of Sicily. King René, who wished to equip the entrance of the port with a solid defense, decided to build the ruins of the old Maubert tower and to establish a series of ramparts guarding the harbor. Jean Pardo, engineer, conceived the plans and Jehan Robert, mason of Tarascon, carried out the work. The building of the new city defenses eu lieu entre 1447 and 1453. [20] [ page needed ] Trading in Marseille aussi Flourished as the Guild Began to suit les a position of power within the merchants of the city. Notably, René also founded the Corporation of Fisherman.

Marseille was united with Provence in 1481 and then incorporated into the following year, but soon acquired a reputation for rebelling against the central government . [21] Some 30 Years After icts incorporation, Francis I visited Marseille, drawn by His curiosity to see a rhinoceros That King Manuel I of Portugal Was sending to Pope Leo X , qui goal HAD-been shipwrecked on the island of If. As a result of this visit, the fortress of Chateau d’If was constructed; this did not prevent you from being sieged by the army of the Holy Roman Empire a few years later. [22]page needed ] Marseille became a naval base for the Franco-Ottoman alliance in 1536, as a Franco-Turkish fleet was stationed in the harbor, threatening the Holy Roman Empire and especially Genoa . [23] Towards the end of the 16th century, Marseille suffered yet another outbreak of the plague; the hospital of the Hotel-Dieu was founded soon afterwards. A century later more troubles were in store: King Louis XIV himself had to go down on Marseille, at the head of his army, in order to quash a local uprising against the governor. [24] [ page needed ]As a consequence, the two forts of Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicholas Were Erected above-the harbor and a wide fleet and arsenal Were Established Itself in the harbor.

18th and 19th centuries

Over the course of the 18th century, the port’s defenses were improved [25] and became more important as France’s leading military port in the Mediterranean. In 1720, the last Great Plague of Marseilles , a form of the Black Death , killed 100,000 people in the city and the surrounding provinces. [26] Jean-Baptiste Grosson, royal notary, wrote from 1770 to 1791 the historical Almanac of Marseille, published as a collection of antiquities and monuments of Marseille that may interest the history and the arts (“Collection of antiquities and Marseille monuments which can interest history and the arts “), which for a long time was the primary resource on the history of the monuments of the city.

The local population enthusiastically embraced the French Revolution and sent 500 volunteers to Paris in 1792 to defend the revolutionary government; their rallying call to revolution, sung on their march from Marseille to Paris, now known as La Marseillaise , now the national anthem of France.

During the 19th century, the city was the site of industrial innovations and growth in manufacturing. The rise of the French Empire and the conquests of France from 1830 onward (notably Algeria) stimulated the maritime trade and raised the prosperity of the city. Maritime expeditions also increased with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. [27] This period in Marseilles is in many of its monuments, such as the Napoleonic obelisk at Mazargues and the royal triumphal arch at the Place Jules Guesde.

1900 up to World War II

During the first half of the 20th century, Marseilles celebrated its “port of the empire” status through the colonial exhibitions of 1906 and 1922; [28] The monumental staircase of the railway station, glorifying French colonial conquests, dates from then. In 1934, Alexander I of Yugoslavia arrived at the port to meet the French foreign minister Louis Barthou . He was murdered there by Vlado Chernozemski .

In the interwar period, Marseille is known for its extensive organized crime networks. Simon Kitson has shown how this corruption has spread to local administrations like the Police. [29]

During the Second World War , Marseille was bombed by German and Italian forces in 1940. The city was occupied by the Germans from November 1942 to August 1944. On 22 January 1943, over 4,000 Jews were seized in Marseille as part of “Action Tiger” . They were held in detention camps before being deported to Poland by Nazi Germany to be murdered. [30] The Old Port was destroyed in January 1943 by the Germans. The city was liberated by the Allies on August 29, 1944. As part of Operation Dragoon, General Joseph de Goislard of Monsabert led roughly 130,000 French troops to liberate the city. Similar to the liberation of other major French cities (such as Paris and Strasbourg), the local German garrison was defeated by mainly French forces, with limited American support.

Marseille after World War II

After the war, much of the city was rebuilt during the 1950s. The governments of East Germany , West Germany and Italy paid massive reparations , plus compound interest , to compensate civilians killed, injured, left homeless or destitute as a result of the war.

From the 1950s onward, the city served as an entrance port for over a million immigrants to France. In 1962 There Was a broad impulses from the newly independent Algeria, Including around 150,000 returned Algerian settlers ( pieds noirs ). [31] Many immigrants have stayed in the city with a large market.

See also

  • Timeline of Marseille


  1. Jump up^ J. Buisson-Catil, I. Sénépart,Marseille before Marseille. Prehistoric visit of the siteArcheologia, no. 435, July-August 2006, pages 28-31
  2. Jump up^ “Marseille before Massalia, the oldest Neolithic unfired brick architecture in France” (Press release). Inrap (National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research). February 15, 2007.
  3. Jump up^ “Online Etymology Dictionary” . Etymonline.com . Retrieved 12 March2013 .
  4. Jump up^ Peregrine, Anthony (14 October 2015). “Marseille city break guide” . The Telegraph . Retrieved 9 March 2016 .
  5. Jump up^ Duchêne & Contrucci 1998, p. 42.
  6. Jump up^ Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War  1.13.6
  7. ^ Jump up to:b Duboi Marius; Gaffarel, Paul; Samat, J.-B. (1913). History of Marseille(in French). Marseille: Bookstore P. Ruat.
  8. Jump up^ Robb, Graham, The Discovery of Middle Earth , p. 6
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Palanque 1990 , p. 41.
  10. Jump up^ Palanque 1990, p. 44.
  11. Jump up^ Duchêne & Contrucci 1998, pp. 49-54, “From Trade to Exploration”. Evidence of trade is provided by the circulation of silver drachmas minted in Marseille from 525 BC, as well as exported from 550 BC; Wine produced in Marseille was distributed throughout Gaul during this period.
  12. Jump up^ Johnson, Hugh (1989). Vintage: The Story of Wine . New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 40. ISBN  978-0-671-68702-1 . By 500BC Massalia was making its own wine, and its own amphora to export it.
  13. Jump up^ Goyau, Pierre-Louis-Théophile-Georges (1913). ” Diocese of Marseilles (Massalia) “. In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company. The martyrdom ofSt. Victortook place under the Roman EmperorMaximian.
  14. Jump up^ Abulafia 1999, p. 373: “[Some, like] Marseilles, had had their consulates confirmed by the counts and was close to complete … Ramon-Berenguer V set out to reverse this … Marseille, however, refused … the Marseillais did not recognize Ramon-Berenguer’s suzerainty in 1243. “
  15. Jump up^ Runciman, Steven (1958). The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century . London: Cambridge University Press. pp. 72-76. OCLC  315065012 .
  16. Jump up^ Abulafia 1999, p. 374: “[Marseille] was subdued once and for all in 1263. Probably the major factor in reconciling the Provençal towns to the loss of their independence of their general economic prosperity.”
  17. Jump up^ Duchêne & Contrucci 1998, p. 182.
  18. Jump up^ Duchêne & Contrucci 1998, pp. 160-161, 174This commanding was a monastery belonging to the CrusadingKnights Hospitaller. FollowingRichard the Lionheart’svisit in 1190 with theAnglo-Normanfleet during theThird Crusade, Marseille became a regular port of call for crusaders.
  19. Jump up^ Busquet, Raoul; Laffont, Robert (1998). “History of Marseille”. Jeanne Laffitte. ISBN  2-221-08734-8 . (in French)
  20. Jump up^ Duchene & Contrucci 1998page needed B.
  21. Jump up^ Duchene & Contrucci 1998Chronology, page 182, and Part III, Chapters 25-36.
  22. Jump up^ Duchene & Contrucci 1998page needed C.
  23. Jump up^ Leathes, Stanley (1906). Ward, Adolphus William; Prothero, GW; Leathes, Stanley, eds. The Cambridge Modern History . 10 . Cambridge: University Press. p. 72 . Retrieved 1 February 2010 .
  24. Jump up^ Duchene & Contrucci 1998, page needed D.
  25. Jump up^ 1720 chart of Marseilles: a contemporary chart showing the defenses of the port.
  26. Jump up^ Duchêne & Contrucci 1998, p. 360-378.
  27. Jump up^ Ghiuzeli, Haim F. “The Jewish Community of Marseilles” . Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People . Retrieved 24 March 2008 .
  28. Jump up^ Landau, Paul Stuart; Kaspin, Deborah D. (2002), Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa , University of California Press, p. 248, ISBN  0-520-22949-5
  29. Jump up^ Kitson 2014.
  30. Jump up^ Gilbert, Martin (1986). The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy . Collins. pp. 530-531.
  31. Jump up^ Moore, Damian. “Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities: Marseilles” (DOC) . UNESCO . Retrieved 5 May 2009 

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