Rodez - Encyclopedia

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RODEZ, a town of southern France, capital of the department of Aveyron, 5r m. N.N.E. of Albi by rail. Pop. (1906) town, 11,076; commune, 15,502.15,502. Rodez is situated on the southern border of the Causse of Rodez, on an isolated plateau bordered on the E. and S. by the river Aveyron. The cathedral was built between 1277 and 1535. A great Flamboyant rosewindow and a gallery in the same style are the chief features of the principal facade, which is flanked by two square towers and has no portal. Each transept has a fine Gothic doorway. On the north side of the building rises a tower (1510-1526)1526) of imposing height (253 ft.). The three upper stages are richly decorated, and the whole is surmounted by a colossal statue of the Virgin. In the cathedral are a fine rood-loft, some good wood-carving and the tombs of several bishops. Other interesting buildings are the episcopal palace (17th and 19th centuries), flanked by a massive tower, relic of an older palace; the church of St Amans, of Romanesque architecture, restored in the r8th century; and, among other old houses, the hotel d'Armagnac built in the Renaissance period on the site of the old palace of the counts. The ruins of a Roman amphitheatre still exist in Rodez, which is supplied with water by a Roman aqueduct. About 6 m. to the north of Rodez is the chasm of Tindoul de la Vayssiere, leading to a subterranean river issuing in the springs of the picturesque village of Salles-la-Source.

The town is the seat of a bishop, a prefect and a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and commerce, a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France, a lycee training college for, both sexes and an ecclesiastical seminary. The industries include wool-spinning and the weaving of woollen goods.

Rodez, called Segodunum under the Gauls, and Ruthena under the Romans, was the capital of the Rutheni, a tribe allied to the Arverni, and was afterwards the principal town in the district of Rouergue. In the 4th century it adopted the Christian faith, and St Amans, its first bishop, was elected in 401. During the middle ages contests were rife between the bishops, who held the temporal power in the "cite," and the counts in the "bourg." The Albigenses were defeated near Rodez in 1210. The countship of Rodez, detached from that of Rouergue at the end of the 11th century, belonged first to the viscounts of Carlat, and from the beginning of the 14th century to the counts of Armagnac. From 1360 to 1368 the English held the town. After the confiscation of the estates of the Armagnacs in 1475 the countship passed to the dukes of Alencon and then to the D'Albrets. Henry IV. finally annexed it to the crown of France.

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