24 February 2012

The Trophy of the Alpes - the Emperor Augustus

In 13 BC the Emperor Augustus planned a new coast road into Gaul (Provence). This road became the Via Julia Augustus (or Via Julia, later to merge into the Aurelian Way that was built 150 years later.) Augustus used this route to conquer the Ligurians and bring the Pax Romana to Provence. La Turbie was a strategic site as it was the highest point on the long Roman road into Gaul and marked the gateway between Italy and the Roman conquests of Gaul.

The map (click to enlarge) shows the peoples of the Alpes vanquished by Augustus during the second half of the first century BC and indicates the main Roman roads.

Interestingly, you can now visit 9 sites in a Roman itinerary (via Julia Augusta) starting here, at the Trophy in La Turbie - of which the caves of Balzi Rossi and the Hanbury Botanical gardens in Italy (just across the border) are visited - and finishing in Ventimiglia.

This model of the Emperor Augustus stands in the small museum adjoining the Trophy - a copy of the one in the Vatican in Rome.
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