November 27, 2021
Rouen [ʁwɑ̃] is a city of 113 128 inhabitants in northern France, in the center of a metropolitan area (Métropole Rouen-Normandie) of over 500,000 inhabitants, capital of the Seine-Maritime department and of the Normandy region, crossed by the Seine and from three of its tributaries: the Aubette, the Robec, and the Cailly. Its inhabitants are called Rouennais.
Among the most important cities of art in the country, so much so as to deserve the nickname of Ville Musée, it preserves, in fact, a large number of marvelous monuments, especially Gothic, and a historic center still full of ancient half-timbered houses constituting an important example of Northern European medieval complex. Birthplace of Gustave Flaubert, it is the seat of an archdiocese, whose archbishop is primate of Normandy. The city is one of the few in France to be honored with the Légion d'honneur.
The city is located in the lower Seine Valley, between the wide loops that the river forms in Normandy, about 60 km from the sea. It is crossed by the Seine and its tributaries, the Aubette, the Robec and the Cailly. In its city path, the Seine forms an island, the Lacroix Island.
In Rouen there is a university and various other higher education institutions, including the well-known NEOMA Business School, located in nearby Mont-Saint-Aignan, and a Grande École d'Ingénieurs, the INSA of Rouen, in the commune of Saint Étienne du Rouvray (southern outskirts of the city).
The city was founded in ancient times by the Celtic tribe of Veliocassi with the name of Ratumacos, on the right bank of the Seine. They controlled the vast territory of the lower valley of the Seine from which it took the name of Vexin. Ratumacos became its capital.
After the conquest of Gaul by Caesar, the city was re-founded with the name of Rotomagus. The real Gallo-Roman city was then enlarged, but also completely refounded under the reign of Augustus, until it reached the size of the second city of Gaul, preceded only by Lugdunum (Lyon).
Subsequently the city went through a period of prosperity and great development, which culminated in the third century AD. with the construction of large baths, spas, and an amphitheater.
However this prosperity did not last long, in fact from the fourth century the first barbarian invasions of the Germans began. It was in this period that Rouen became a bishopric and saw the construction of its first cathedral by the first bishop San Victricio. The latter in fact describes in his De laude domini of 396, the construction of a basilica in order to house the relics he had received from Sant'Ambrogio. It referred to the church of Santo Stefano then under construction.
From the Vikings to the Duchy of Normandy
Starting from the 9th century the Vikings made numerous forays into the Seine Valley and, as mentioned in the chronicles of the time of the Abbey of Fontenelle, on May 14, 841 they destroyed Rouen:
The Viking raids continued, so much so that the city was re-attacked again in 843. Finally, in 911, King Charles III of France was forced to stipulate the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte with their leader Rollone, with which he ceded the lands of the lower valley of the Seine, equivalent to today's Upper Normandy, in exchange of an oath of vassalage (which was taken in 940) and a commitment to receive baptism. Rollo also had to defend the Seine estuary from further Viking raids.
Rollo then founded the Duchy of Normandy there, and Rouen became its capital. Rollo established the so-called Échiquier de Normandie, Sovereign Court of Normandy, an assembly of the notables of the duchy (nobles, prelates, bailiffs) representing the main feudal cities of Rouen, Caudebec-en-Caux, Évreux, Les Andelys, Caen, Coutances et Alençon. They met in the city twice a year for three months, all