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May 17th, 2005 — October 9th, 2005

Encounters in Roman Gaul

From May 17 to October 9, 2005, Pointe-à-Callière will be presenting Encounters in Roman Gaul, an international exhibition featuring 200 artifacts with stories to tell about Gallo-Roman civilization, on loan from the museums of Roman Gaul in Lyon-Fourvière and Saint-Romain-en-Gal/Vienne, France.

These unusual and captivating objects, displayed in an accessible and appealing way, will introduce Montrealers and tourists of all ages to daily life in Gaul in the days of the Roman Empire. As they journey to the heart of this little-known period and admire these exceptional pieces, they'll also meet a number of historical figures, some of them illustrious and some anonymous.


An exhibition about encounters

An encounter between two great civilizations – Gallic (Celtic) and Roman – that gave birth to the Gallo-Roman civilization after Gaul was conquered by Julius Caesar. The exhibition is set in the time of the Pax Romana (Roman Peace), the unprecedented period of prosperity and harmony that prevailed from the 1st to the 3rd centuries CE, following the Roman colonization of Gaul. The pieces illustrate the trade relations between the two groups and the tremendous influence that Roman culture had on Gallic society.

Encounters between visitors and historic figures...

The exhibition will introduce both prominent public figures and common citizens, offering glimpses into their existence and daily lives. Visitors will « meet » the head of the corporation of boatmen (Lyon was a bustling port); various artisans, including a pottery merchant and the proprietress of a company making lead items; a freed slave who worships the god Mercury; a woman from high society; not to mention magistrates and even the illustrious Emperor Claudius himself. It's an original and fascinating way to discover the social classes and urban life of the time.


... and with the typical sights and sounds of a Gallo-Roman capital

The exhibition's decor, visual materials and even its soundtrack will recreate the ambience of a Roman city from the early days of the first millennium. They will see many sites and monuments typical of the cities of Lugdunum and Vienna (today the French cities of Lyon and Vienne, in the lovely Rhône-Alpes region), from the port to the artisans' quarter (potters, glassblowers, craftsmen creating decorative items from bone, etc.), the public market, the altar of Lyon (centre of Imperial worship), temples, theatres and so on.

Visitors can even enjoy a relaxing visit to the baths, and admire the interior of a Gallo-Roman home.

And of course there will be all kinds of fascinating details, with many comparisons and contrasts with modern-day life. All in all, this warm and welcoming exhibition is sure to charm visitors of all ages as they make some new acquaintances through these Encounters in Roman Gaul.


Artifacts of tremendous ethnological and historical value

The exhibition will feature 200 artifacts from Gallo-Roman civilization, discovered during archaeological digs in the cities of Lyon and Vienne, located in the Rhône-Alpes region. These objects, valuable clues to understanding this period in European history, are of tremendous ethnological and historical value. They will be crossing the Atlantic for the very first time, to be presented exclusively at Pointe-à-Callière in 2005. They are remarkable in many ways: they will give visitors an idea of what day-to-day life was like in Roman Gaul and how social life resembled that in Rome itself, and introduce them to the major political and economic role played by Lyon in those days. In addition, diagrams and models will highlight recent advances in archaeological research in France.

Low relief
Funeral stone

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