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DEFINITION: Colony founded by the emperor Augustus in southern Gaul (France), originally a Celtic settlement (capital of the Volcae Arecomici). It became a colony in 121 BC and the walls and gates were built by Augustus; in Roman times one of the richest towns of Gaul. Remains include an amphitheater designed by Titus Crisius Reburrus which holds 24,000 people; the Maison Carrée, a temple from the 1st century BC, and part of the colony's aqueduct, Pont du Gard, built by Agrippa. Maison Carée was a rectangular temple 82 ft (25 m) long by 40 ft (12 m) wide, dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, adopted sons of the first Roman emperor Augustus, and is one of the most beautiful monuments built by the Romans in Gaul, and certainly the best preserved. The Tour Magne, on top of a hill just outside the city, is the oldest Roman building, 92 ft high, but probably originally higher. Its original function is not known, but it was incorporated into the Roman wall in 16 BC. Nimes seems to have achieved its greatest prosperity somewhere around the end of the 2nd century AD. In the 5th century, Nîmes was plundered by the Vandals and the Visigoths. It was later occupied by the Saracens (Arabs), who were driven out in 737.

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