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LANGRES

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 178 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LANGRES, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Haute-Marne, 22 M. S.S.E. of Chaumont on the eastern railway to Belfort. Pop. (1906) town, 6663; commune, 9803. Langres stands at a height of some 1J5o ft. on a jutting promontory of the tableland known as the plateau de Langres, and overlooks eastward and westward respectively the valleys of the Marne and its tributary the Bonnelle. From the cathedral tower and the ramparts which surround the town there is an extensive view over the valley of the Marne, the Vosges and the Cote d'Or, and in clear weather Mt Blanc (16o m. distant) is visible. The cathedral of St Mammes, for the most part in the Transitional style of the 12th century, has a west front in the Graeco-Roman style of the 18th century and a fine Renaissance chapel. The church of St Martin (13th, 15th and 18th centuries) possesses a figure of Christ of the 16th century, one of the finest wood carvings known. The ramparts are protected by several towers, most of which date from the 16th century. The Gallo-Roman gate, one of four entrances in the Roman period, is preserved, but is walled up. The Porte des Moulins (17th century) is the most interesting of the other gates. The town possesses a museum rich in Gallo-Roman antiquities, a picture gallery and an important library. The birth of Denis Diderot here is commemorated by a statue. Langres is the seat of a bishop and a sub-prefect, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a higher ecclesiastical seminary and communal colleges for both sexes. It manufactures well-known cutlery and grind-stones. Trade is in grain and other farm-produce, live stock, wine, &c. Langres, the ancient Andematunum, was capital of the Lingores. Under Roman rule it was at first to some extent autonomous, but was reduced to the rank of colony after the revolt of the chief Sabinus in A.D. 71. The bishopric was founded about 200 and in the middle ages its holders became peers of the realm and enjoyed the temporal power in the town. In 301 the Alemanni were defeated at Langres by the Romans, but in the next century it was burnt by the Vandals and by Attila. The " plateau of Langres " appears frequently in the military history of the 18th and 19th centuries as a dominant strategic point, though its importance as such has appealed chiefly to the advocates of wars of positions and passive defence. The modern fortifications of Langres, which serves as a second line fortress, consist of (a) Fort St Menge or Ligniville on high ground above the confluence of the Marne and the Neuilly brook, about 5 m. N. by W. of the town; (b) the west front, comprising Humes battery (2 M. N.W. of Langres), Fort de la Pointe de Diamant, and the redoubts of Perrancey, Le Fays and Noidant (the last 4 m. S.W. of the town), overlooking the deep valley of the Mouche brook (this front was attacked in the mock siege of August 1907) ; (c) the south front, comprising Fort de la Bonnelle or Decres (2 m. S.S.W. of the town), a small work commanding the Chalon-Langres road, Le Mont and Le Pailly batteries, Fort Vercingetorix, the last, 5 m. S.W. of the place, standing on a steep and narrow spur of the main plateau, and in second line the old fort de la Marnotte, and the large bastioned citadel (the town enceinte is "declassee") ; (d) the east front, marked by Forts Montlandon and Plesnoy at the north and south ends respectively of a long steep ridge, 6 m. E. of Langres, the bridges over the Marne leading these works being commanded by Fort Peigney. a work about half a mile east of the town; (e) Fort Dampierre, 8 m. N.E. of the town, which commands all the main approaches from the north, and completes the circle by crossing its fire with that of Fort St Menge.
End of Article: LANGRES
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