The Roman city of Lutetia (also Lutetia Parisiorum in Latin, in French Lutèce) was the predecessor of present-day Paris.

Impressive monumental remains of the ancient city can still be seen in situ.

Vidal Lablache - Atlas General Histoire et Geographie, Paris sous les romains - Hipkiss
Maps of Paris (Paris sous les Romains) from Histoire et Geographie: Atlas General by Paul Vidal de La Blache
Lutetia is located in France
Location within France
LocationParis, France
Coordinates48°51′N 2°21′E / 48.85°N 2.35°ECoordinates: 48°51′N 2°21′E / 48.85°N 2.35°E
TypeRoman city
PeriodsRoman Republic to Roman Empire
Gaul, 1st century BC
A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the location of Lutetia and relative positions of the Celtic tribes.


The city was referred to as "Λουκοτοκία" (Lukotokía) by Strabo, "Λευκοτεκία" (Leukotekía) by Ptolemy and "Lutetia" by Julius Caesar. The origin of this name is uncertain.

The name may contain the Celtic root *luco-t-, which means "mouse" and -ek(t)ia, meaning "the mice" and which can be found today in the Breton word logod, the Welsh llygod, and the Irish luch.[1]

Alternatively, it may derive from another Celtic root, luto- or luteuo-, which means "marsh" or "swamp" and which survives today in the Gaelic loth ("marsh") and the Breton loudour ("dirty").[2] As such, it would be related to other place names in Europe including Lutudarum (Derbyshire, England); Lodève (Luteua) and Ludesse (France); Lutitia (Germany); Lutsk (Ukraine); Pryluky (Ukraine) and Velikiye Luki (Russia).

Gallic origins

Paris - Enceinte gallo-romaine
Roman city wall of Paris, 4th century

Archaeological excavations between 1994 and 2005 show that the location of Gallic Lutetia lay in Nanterre, a large area of proto-urbanisation of several main streets and hundreds of houses over 15 hectares in the suburbs of Paris, not far from the future location of Lutetia.[3]

In 52 BC, a year or so before the end of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, the Battle of Lutetia was fought with the local Parisii tribe.[4] However the garrison led by Vercingetorix's lieutenant Camulogenus, whose army camped on Mons Lutetius, fell to the Roman military forces led by Titus Labienus, one of Caesar's generals who captured and burned the stronghold. The Romans also crushed the Gauls at nearby Melun and took control of Lutetia.

Roman Lutetia

CLUNY-Maquette pilier nautes 2
Model of the "pilier des nautes" 1st century AD, Musee Cluny

The Roman city[5] was centred on the hill on the south bank of the river (the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève), as the low-lying plain near the river was easily flooded[6] though still initially suitable for farming.[5]

The regular Roman street plan of Lutetia was established with the north-south axis, possibly dictated by the need to cross the marshy riverbanks in the shortest possible distance, but also aligning with the standard Roman orientation for a cardo maximus. Two main routes converged at the bridgehead over the Seine: one road coming from Spain (today's Rue Saint-Jacques) via Orleans was used as the main axis (cardo maximus), and the other road from Rome (today's rue Galande and further on rue Mouffetard) via Lyon. Dendrochronological study of wooden pilings beneath the lowest stratum of the Roman north-south axis date the road's construction after 4 AD, more than fifty years after the Roman pacification of the region. On the north bank the Rue St-Martin continues the Roman main axis (cardo maximus).

The street plan and the boundaries of the main monuments—the forum at the top of the hill, theatre, baths— show that the Roman city was laid out with blocks or insulae of 300 Roman feet.

The development of the city began under Augustus and was well advanced in the early 1st century AD when the elaborate Pilier des Nautes (pillar of the boatmen) was erected by a corporation of local river merchants and sailors (nautes) and dedicated to Tiberius and to several gods, showing that there was an important port on the river.

Major public works and monuments were constructed in the 2nd century AD.[7] Lutetia expanded with a population estimated at around 8,000 but did not have a great deal of political importance - the capital of its province, Lugdunensis Senona, was Agedincum (modern Sens, Yonne).

An aqueduct 26 km in length, with a flow rate estimated at 2000 cubic metres a day, provided the city with spring water collected from several points. To bridge the Bièvre valley at Arcueil-Cachan, a bridge was required, whose piers and ruined arches, still discernible, gave rise to the toponym Arcueil.

In the 3rd century St Denis became the city's first bishop and in about 250 AD he and two companions were arrested and decapitated on the hill of Mons Mercurius thereafter known as Mons Martyrum (Martyrs' Hill, or Montmartre) where Roman foundations have been found.

After a barbarian attack in 275 by the Franks and Alemanni that destroyed much of the south bank portions of the city, the population moved to the island and a surrounding wall was built on the Île de la Cité from large stones taken from damaged structures.[6] The city on the south bank along with the main public buildings including baths, the theatres and the amphitheatre were gradually abandoned.

In 357–358 Julian II, as Caesar of the Western empire and general of the Gallic legions, moved the Roman capital of Gaul from Trier to Paris which, after defeating the Franks in a major battle at Strasbourg in 357, he defended against Germanic invaders coming from the north. He was proclaimed emperor by his troops in 360 in Lutetia.

Later Valentinian I resided in Lutetia for a brief period (365-366).[8]

Lutetia was gradually renamed Paris,[9] taking its name from the Parisii. The name had already been used for centuries as an adjective ("Parisiacus"). The legend of the Breton city of Ys suggests a different, if less likely, origin.

Le forum de Lutèce, maquette

Model of forum of Lutetia, Musée Carnavalet

Paris 14e - rue de l'Empereur-Valentinien - aqueduc de Lutèce

Aqueduct in Paris 14e, rue de l'Empereur-Valentinien


Remains of the ancient city are mainly buried below ground although many of these are gradually being discovered. Those visible include:

  • The theatre, Arènes de Lutèce in a small park on high ground in the Latin Quarter of the Left Bank, tucked behind apartment blocks. In the 1st-century AD, built into the slope of the hillside outside the Roman city, it was one of the largest such structures in Gaul. It could once seat 15,000 people and was used also as an amphitheatre to show gladiatorial combats.
  • Public thermal baths, Thermes de Cluny. Now the Musée de Cluny, the existing building is only a part of the original covering several hectares that stretched from Boulevard Saint-Germain to Rue des Ecoles and Boulevard Saint-Michel. Built at the end of the 1st/beginning of the 2nd c. AD at the corner of the cardo and decumanus. First probable destruction during the invasion by the Franks and Alamans in 275. The frigidarium, with intact vault, and the caldarium are the main remaining rooms which were originally clad internally with mosaics, marble or paintings. The northern side was occupied by two gymnasia and the centre of the facade on this side was occupied by a monumental fountain. Underground is a set of cellars and vaulted galleries where the drain for emptying the frigidarium pool is visible.[10] Water flowed out through a drain that encircled the baths and ran into a main drain located under Boulevard Saint-Michel.
  • The Archaeological Crypt under the Notre Dame forecourt including a section of the quay wall of the ancient port, a public bath with hypocaust heating, part of the city wall from the beginning of the 4th c.
  • The Aqueduct[11]
  • Wall of the forum

Many artifacts from Lutetia have been recovered and are on display at the Musée Carnavalet.

Arenes-Lutece 01

The Arènes de Lutèce in the 5th arrondissement of Paris]]

Maquette des arènes de Lutèce 01

Model of the "arènes de Lutèce"


Thermes de Cluny - caldarium

May 2006 findings

In May 2006, a Roman road was found during expansion of the University of Pierre and Marie Curie campus. Remains of private houses dating from the reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD) and containing heated floors were found. Everyday items like flowerpots, bronze chains, ceramics, and drawer handles were found. The owners were wealthy enough to own baths found in one of the homes, a status symbol among Roman citizens.


Several scientific discoveries have been named after Lutetia. The element lutetium was named in honor of its discovery in a Paris laboratory, and the characteristic building material of the city of Paris — Lutetian Limestone — derives from the ancient name. The "Lutetian" is, in the geologic timescale, a stage or age in the Eocene Epoch. The asteroid 21 Lutetia, discovered in 1852 by Hermann Goldschmidt, is named after the city.

Lutetia is featured in the French comic series The Adventures of Asterix.


  1. ^ La langue gauloise, Pierre-Yves Lambert, éditions errance 1994.
  2. ^ Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Xavier Delamarre, éditions errance 2003.
  3. ^ Nanterre et les Parisii : Une capitale au temps des Gaulois ?, Antide Viand, ISBN 978-2757201626
  4. ^ Julius Caesar: De Bello Gallico, VII 62
  5. ^ a b "Paris, a Roman city".
  6. ^ a b Fleury, M., "Lutetia Parisiorum", The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, (Richard Stillwell, William L.MacDonald, and Marian Holland McAlister,eds.) Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press. 1976
  7. ^ 2 Roman and Medieval Paris, Clifton Ellis, PhD Architectural History, Texas Tech College of Architecture - TTU College of Architecture
  8. ^ Goudineau, Christian, "Lutetia" in Dictionary of Antiquity under the direction of Jean Leclant. PUF. 2005
  9. ^ The City of Antiquity Archived 2008-12-12 at the Wayback Machine, official history of Paris by The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau
  10. ^ Alain Bouet and Florence Saragoza, "Les Thermes de Cluny", the Archeologia files, no. 323, p. 25
  11. ^ "Roman aqueducts: Paris (country)".

Further reading

  • Philippe de Carbonnières, Lutèce: Paris ville romaine, collection Découvertes Gallimard (no. 330), série Archéologie. Éditions Gallimard, 1997, ISBN 2-07-053389-1.

External links

1st arrondissement of Paris

The 1st arrondissement of Paris (Ie arrondissement) is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. In spoken French, this arrondissement is colloquially referred to as premier (first/the first).

Also known as Louvre, the arrondissement is situated principally on the right bank of the River Seine. It also includes the west end of the Île de la Cité. The arrondissement is one of the oldest in Paris, the Île de la Cité having been the heart of the city of Lutetia, conquered by the Romans in 52 BC, while some parts on the right bank (including Les Halles) date back to the early Middle Ages.

It is the least populated of the city's arrondissements and one of the smallest by area, a significant part of which is occupied by the Louvre Museum and the Tuileries Gardens. The Forum des Halles is the largest shopping mall in Paris. Much of the remainder of the arrondissement is dedicated to business and administration.

21 Lutetia

Lutetia (minor planet designation: 21 Lutetia) is a large asteroid in the asteroid belt of an unusual spectral type. It measures about 100 kilometers in diameter (120 km along its major axis). It was discovered in 1852 by Hermann Goldschmidt, and is named after Lutetia, the Latin name of Paris.

Lutetia has an irregular shape and is heavily cratered, with the largest impact crater reaching 45 km in diameter. The surface is geologically heterogeneous and is intersected by a system of grooves and scarps, which are thought to be fractures. It has a high average density, meaning that it is made of metal-rich rock.

The Rosetta probe passed within 3,162 km (1,965 mi) of Lutetia in July 2010. It was the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft until Dawn arrived at Vesta in July 2011.

Asterix and the Class Act

Asterix and the Class Act (French: Astérix et la rentrée gauloise, "Asterix and the Gaulish return; la rentrée is the French return to school after the summer break) is officially the thirty-second album of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations and some stories), published in 2003. Unlike the other Asterix books, it is a compilation of short stories, rather than one long story. Each story has an introductory page giving some of its original history.

Asterix and the Golden Sickle

Asterix and the Golden Sickle (French: La serpe d'or, "The Golden Sickle") is the second volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). It was first serialized in Pilote magazine issues 42–74 in 1960.

Aubervilliers – Pantin – Quatre Chemins (Paris Métro)

Aubervilliers - Pantin - Quatre Chemins is a station of the Paris Métro. It is at the crossroads of the Roman road that led from Lutetia to east Flanders (now the N2) and the road between the communes of Aubervilliers and Pantin.

Battle of Lutetia

The Battle of Lutetia was a battle on the plain of Grenelle in what is now Paris between Roman forces under Titus Labienus and an anti-Roman Gallic coalition in 52 BC during the Gallic Wars. It was a Roman victory.


Camulogene was an Aulerci elder and leader of the 52 BC coalition of the Seine peoples according to Caesar. He put a scorched earth policy in place, burning Lutetia then trying to ensnare Titus Labienus's troops. He died in the battle of Lutetia. The Rue Camulogène in Paris is named after him.

French cruiser Guichen

Guichen was a protected cruiser of the French Navy launched in 1897, commissioned in 1899 and retired in 1921. She was constructed by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire at Saint-Nazaire.

Guichen first steamed from Saint-Nazaire to undergo sea trials out of Toulon. In September 1903 she carried President Émile Loubet to Britain for an official visit. In 1913 she was converted into a training ship for boatswains at Brest. She was in the Channel at the start of the First World War, but in 1915 she was transferred to the 3rd blockading squadron off Syria. In September, under Captain Joseph Brisson, she helped evacuate Armenian resistors from Musa Dagh after one of her crew spotted an Armenian flag flying over the fortress. She conveyed her refugees to Port Said. It was, according to Lord Bryce, "the only story ... with a happy ending" in his report on the treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.In November 1916 Guichen and Lutétia transported a Russian expeditionary force to the Salonika Front. In 1917 Guichen transported some of the Armée d'Orient from Taranto to Bizerte. In 1919 she was sent to the Black Sea as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, where she suffered a mutiny, led by Charles Tillon (future leader of the Communist Party of France), on 26 June 1919. She was retired in 1921, and condemned and sold at Brest in 1922.

Hermann Goldschmidt

Hermann Mayer Salomon Goldschmidt (June 17, 1802 – August 30 or September 10 1866) was a German-French astronomer and painter who spent much of his life in France. He started out as a painter, but after attending a lecture by the famous French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier turned to astronomy. His discovery of the asteroid Lutetia in 1852 was followed by further findings and by 1861 Goldschmidt had discovered 14 asteroids. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1861 for having discovered more asteroids than any other person up to that time. He died from complications of diabetes.

Hôtel Lutetia

The Hôtel Lutetia, located at 45 Boulevard Raspail, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, is one of the best-known hotels on the Left Bank. It is noted for its architecture and its historical role during the German occupation of France in World War II.

Jan van Krimpen

Jan van Krimpen (12 January 1892, in Gouda – 20 October 1958, in Haarlem) was a Dutch typographer, book designer and type designer. He worked for the printing house Koninklijke Joh. Enschedé. He also worked with Monotype in England, who issued or reissued many of his designs outside the Netherlands.Van Krimpen was a leading figure of international reputation in book printing during his lifetime. He designed books both in the Netherlands and for the Limited Editions Club of New York, amongst others. His work has been described as traditional and classical in style, focusing on simplicity and high quality of book printing.

Legio VII Claudia

Legio septima Claudia (Claudius' Seventh Legion) was a legion of the Imperial Roman army.

They were ordered to Cisalpine Gaul around 58 BC by Julius Caesar, and marched with him throughout the entire Gallic Wars. The Roman commander mentions the Seventh in his account of the battle against the Nervians, and it seems that it was employed during the expedition through western Gaul led by Caesar's deputy Crassus. In 56, the Seventh was present during the Venetic campaign. During the crisis caused by Vercingetorix, it fought in the neighborhood of Lutetia; it must have been active at Alesia and it was certainly involved in the mopping-up operations among the Bellovaci.

Legio VII was one of the two legions used in Caesar's invasions of Britain, and played a crucial role in the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, and it existed at least until the end of the 4th century, guarding the middle Danube.

Tiberius Claudius Maximus, the Roman soldier who brought the head of Decebalus to the emperor Trajan, was serving in Legio VII Claudia. An inscription in Pompeii revealed that a certain Floronius also served in the seventh legion. The inscription says: "Floronius, privileged soldier of the 7th legion, was here. The women did not know of his presence. Only six women came to know, too few for such a stallion."

List of geological features on 21 Lutetia

This is a list of named geological features on 21 Lutetia. There are 37 officially named features on Lutetia, of which:

19 (51%) are craters,

8 (21%) are Regiones,

3 (8%) are Labes,

2 (5%) are Fossae,

2 (5%) are Rimae,

2 (5%) are Rupes, and

1 (3%) is a Dorsum.21 Lutetia was flown by in July 2010 by the Rosetta spacecraft, while en route to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. During this visit, Rosetta imaged Lutetia with a resolution of 60 metres (200 feet) per pixel. As Lutetia is named after the Roman town that would later become Paris, most features on Lutetia are named after places in Europe during the Roman era.


Lučenec (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈlutʃɛɲɛts] (listen); German: Lizenz; Hungarian: Losonc; Yiddish: לאשאנץ‎; Latin: Lutetia Hungarorum) is a town in the Banská Bystrica Region of south-central Slovakia. Historically, it was part, and in the 18th century the capital, of Nógrád County of the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1920, as a result of the Treaty of Trianon, it became a part of Czechoslovakia. The town has a large synagogue, built in 1924, which served a large Jewish population before World War II. The synagogue underwent renovations in 2016.

Lučenec is the economic centre of the whole Novohrad region, which includes districts Poltár and Veľký Krtíš.

M-type asteroid

M-type asteroids are asteroids of partially known composition; they are moderately bright (albedo 0.1–0.2). Some, but not all, are made of nickel–iron, either pure or mixed with small amounts of stone. These are thought to be pieces of the metallic core of differentiated asteroids that were fragmented by impacts, and are thought to be the source of iron meteorites. M-type asteroids are the third most common asteroid type.

There are also M-types whose composition is uncertain. For example, 22 Kalliope has an accurately known density that is far too low for a solid metallic object or even a metal rubble pile: a rubble pile of iron-nickel metal would need about 70% porosity which is inconsistent with packing considerations. 22 Kalliope and 21 Lutetia have features in their spectra which appear to indicate the presence of hydration minerals and silicates, anomalously low radar albedos inconsistent with a metallic surface, as well as characteristics more in common with C-type asteroids. A variety of other M-type asteroids do not fit well into a metallic body picture.

M-type spectra are flat to reddish and usually devoid of large features, although subtle absorption features longward of 0.75 µm and shortward of 0.55 µm are sometimes present.


A protoplanet is a large planetary embryo that originated within a protoplanetary disc and has undergone internal melting to produce a differentiated interior. Protoplanets are thought to form out of kilometer-sized planetesimals that gravitationally perturb each other's orbits and collide, gradually coalescing into the dominant planets.

In the case of the Solar System, it is thought that the collisions of planetesimals created a few hundred planetary embryos. Such embryos were similar to Ceres and Pluto with masses of about 1022 to 1023 kg and were a few thousand kilometers in diameter. Over the course of hundreds of millions of years, they collided with one another. The exact sequence whereby planetary embryos collided to assemble the planets is not known, but it is thought that initial collisions would have replaced the first "generation" of embryos with a second generation consisting of fewer but larger embryos. These in their turn would have collided to create a third generation of fewer but even larger embryos. Eventually, only a handful of embryos were left, which collided to complete the assembly of the planets proper.Early protoplanets had more radioactive elements, the quantity of which has been reduced over time due to radioactive decay. Heating due to radioactivity, impact, and gravitational pressure melted parts of protoplanets as they grew toward being planets. In melted zones their heavier elements sank to the center, whereas lighter elements rose to the surface. Such a process is known as planetary differentiation. The composition of some meteorites show that differentiation took place in some asteroids.

According to the giant impact hypothesis the Moon formed from a colossal impact of a hypothetical protoplanet called Theia with Earth, early in the Solar System's history.

In the inner Solar System, the three protoplanets to survive more-or-less intact are the asteroids Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta. Psyche is likely the survivor of a violent hit-and-run with another object that stripped off the outer, rocky layers of a protoplanet. The asteroid Metis may also have a similar origin history to Psyche. The asteroid Lutetia also has characteristics that resemble a protoplanet. Kuiper-belt dwarf planets have also been referred to as protoplanets. Because iron meteorites have been found on Earth, it is deemed likely that there once were other metal-cored protoplanets in the asteroid belt that since have been disrupted and that are the source of these meteorites.

In February 2013 astronomers made the first direct observation of a protoplanet forming in a disk of gas and dust around a distant star.

Rosetta (spacecraft)

Rosetta was a space probe built by the European Space Agency launched on 2 March 2004. Along with Philae, its lander module, Rosetta performed a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P). During its journey to the comet, the spacecraft flew three times by Earth, by Mars, and the asteroids 21 Lutetia and 2867 Šteins. It was launched as the third cornerstone mission of the ESA's Horizon 2000 programme, after SOHO / Cluster and XMM-Newton.

On 6 August 2014, the spacecraft reached the comet and performed a series of manoeuvres to eventually orbit the comet at distances of 30 to 10 kilometres (19 to 6 mi). On 12 November, its lander module Philae performed the first successful landing on a comet, though its battery power ran out two days later. Communications with Philae were briefly restored in June and July 2015, but due to diminishing solar power, Rosetta's communications module with the lander was turned off on 27 July 2016. On 30 September 2016, the Rosetta spacecraft ended its mission by hard-landing on the comet in its Ma'at region.The probe was named after the Rosetta Stone, a stele of Egyptian origin featuring a decree in three scripts. The lander was named after the Philae obelisk, which bears a bilingual Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription.


Rupes is the Latin word for 'cliff' (the same form rupes is both singular and plural). It is used in planetary geology to refer to escarpments on other worlds. As of January 2013, the IAU has named 62 such features in the Solar System, on Mercury (17), Venus (7), the Moon (8), Mars (23), the asteroids Vesta (2) and Lutetia (2), and Uranus's satellites Miranda (2) and Titania (1).How rupes formed is, as of 2008, a matter of speculation. Compressional strain from the cooling of the crust of terrestrial planets and large scale displacement due to impacts are the two dominant theories.

Thespieus lutetia

Thespieus lutetia is a butterfly in the family Hesperiidae. It is found in Brazil and Argentina.

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