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MARSEILLES

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 768 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MARSEILLES, a city of southern France, chief seaport of France and of the Mediterranean, 219 M. S. by E. of Lyons and 534 M. S.S.E. of Paris, by the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee railway. Pop. (1906), commune 517,498; town 421,116. Marseilles is situated on the Golfe du Lion on the eastern shore of a bay protected to the south by Cape Croisette but open towards the west; to the east the horizon is bounded by an amphitheatre of hills, those in the foreground clothed with vegetation while the more distant eminences are bare and rugged. The city is built on undulating ground and the south-western and most aristocratic quarter covers the slopes of the ridge crowned by a fort and the church of Notre-Dame de la Garde and projecting westward into the bay to form a protection for the harbour. The newest and most pleasant portion lies on the south-eastern slope of the ridge, between the southern end of the Rue Paradis and the Prado avenues, which is better protected than most other quarters from the mistral that blows down the Rhone valley, and where in summer the temperature is always a little lower than in the centre of the town. The old harbour of Marseilles opens on the west to the Golfe du Lion, the famous Rue Cannebiere' prolonged by the Rue Noailles leading E.N.E. from its inner end. These two streets are the centre of the life of the city. Continued in the Allees de Meilhan and the Boulevard de la Madeleine, they form one of its main arteries. The other, at right angles with the first, connects the Place d'Aix with the spacious and fashionable Promenade du Prado, by way of the Cours Belsunce and the Rue de Rome. Other fine streets—the Rue St Ferreol, the Rue Paradis and the Rue Breteuil are to the south of the Cannebiere running parallel with the Rue de Rome. To these must be added the neighbouring avenue of Pierre Puget named after the sculptor whose statue 1 From the Latin cannabis, Provencal cannebe, " hemp," in allusion to the rope-walks formerly occupying its site.stands in the Borely Park. The Prado, with its avenues of trees and fine houses, runs to within a quarter of a mile of the Huveaune, a stream that borders the city on the south-east, then turns off at right angles and extends to the sea, coming to an end close to the Borely Park and the race-course. From its extremity the Chemin de la Corniche runs northwards along the coast, fringed by villas and bathing establishments, to the Anse des Catalans, a distance of 41 . miles. The old town of Marseilles is bounded W. by the Joliette basin and the sea, E. by the Cours Belsunce, S. by the northern quay of the old port, and N. by the Boulevard des Dames. It consists of a labyrinth of steep, dark and narrow streets inhabited by a seafaring population. Through its centre runs the broad Rue de la Republique, extending from the Cannebiere to the Place de la Joliette. The entrance to the old harbour is defended by Fort St Jean on the north and Fort St Nicolas on the south. Behind the latter is the Anse (Creek) de la Reserve. Beyond this again, situated in succession along the shore, come the Chateau du Pharo, given by the empress Eugenie to the town, the Anse du Pharo, the military exercising ground, and the Anse des Catalans. To the old harbour, which covers only 70 acres with a mean depth of 191 ft. and is now used by sailing vessels, the basin of La Joliette (55 acres) with an entrance harbour was added in 1853. Communicating with the old harbour by a channel which passes behind Fort St Jean, this dock opens on the south into the outer harbour, opposite the palace and the Anse du Pharo. A series of similar basins separated from the roadstead by a jetty 21 M. long was subsequently added along the shore to the north, viz. the basins of Lazaret and Arenc, bordered by the harbour railway station and the extensive ware-houses of the Compagnie des Docks et Entrepbts, the Bassin de la Gare Maritime with the warehouses of the chamber of commerce; the Bassin National with the refitting basin, comprising six dry docks behind it; and the Bassin de la Pinede entered from the northern outer harbour. These new docks have a water area of 414 acres and over 11 m. of quays, and are commodious and deep enough for the largest vessels to manoeuvre easily. In the roads to the south-west of the port lie the islands of Ratonneau and Pomegue, united by a jetty forming a quarantine port. Between them and the mainland is the islet of Chateau d'If, in which the scene of part of Dumas' Monte Cristo is laid. Marseilles possesses few remains of either the Greek or Roman periods of occupation, and is poor in medieval buildings. The old cathedral of la Major (Sainte-Marie-Majeure), dating chiefly from the 12th century and built on the ruins of a temple of Diana, is in bad preservation. The chapel of St Lazare (late ,5th century) in the left aisle is in the earliest Renaissance style, and a bas-relief of white porcelain by Lucca della Robbia is of artistic value. Beside this church and alongside the Joliette basin is a modern building begun in 1852, opened for worship in 1893 and recognized as the finest modern cathedral in France. It is a Byzantine basilica, in the form of a Latin cross, 46o ft. long, built in green Florentine stone blended with white stone from the neighbourhood of Arles. The four towers which surmount it—two at the west front, one over the crossing, one at the east end —are roofed with cupolas. Near the cathedral stands the bishop's palace, and the Place de la Major, which they overlook, is embellished with the statue of Bishop Belsunce, who displayed great devotion during the plague of 1720-1721. The celebrated Notre-Dame de la Garde, the steeple of which, surmounted by a gilded statue of the Virgin, 30 ft. in height, rises 15o ft. above the summit of the hill on which it stands, commands a view of the whole port and town, as well as of the surrounding mountains and the neighbouring sea. The present chapel is modern and occupies the site of one built in 1214. On the south side of the old harbour near the Fort St Nicolas stands the church of St Victor, built in the 13th century and once attached to an abbey founded early in the 4th century. With its lofty crenellated walls and square towers built of large blocks of uncemented stone, it resembles a fortress. St Victor is built above crypts dating mainly from the 11th century but also embodying architecture of the Carolingian period and of the early centuries of the Christian era. Tradition relates that St Lazarus inhabited the catacombs under St Victor; and the black image of the Virgin, still preserved there, is popularly attributed to St Luke. The spire, which is the only relic of the ancient church of Accoules, marks the centre of Old Marseilles. At its foot are a " calvary " and a curious underground chapel in rock work, both modern. Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel, also in the old town, occupies the place of what was the citadel of the Massaliots when they were besieged by Julius Caesar. Of the civil buildings of the city, the prefecture, one of the finest in France, the Palais de Justice, in front of which is the statue of the advocate Antoine Berryer (1790-1868) and the Exchange, all date from the latter half of the 19th century. The Exchange, built at the expense of the Chamber of Commerce, includes the spacious hall of that institution with its fine mural paintings and gilding. The hotel-de-ville (17th century) stands on the northern quay of the old harbour. Al; these buildings are surpassed by the Palais Longchamp (1862-1870), situated in the north-east of the town at the end of the Boulevard Long-champ. The centre of the building is occupied by a monumental chateau d'eau (reservoir). Colonnades branch off from this, uniting it on the left to the picture gallery, with a fine collection of ancient and modern works, and on the right to the natural history museum, remarkable for its conchological department and collection of ammonites. In front are ornamental grounds; behind are extensive zoological gardens, with the astronomical observatory. The museum of antiquities is established in the Chateau Borely (1766-1778) in a fine park at the end of the Prado. It includes a Phoenician collection (containing the remains that support the hypothesis of the Phoenician origin of Marseilles), an Egyptian collection, numerous Greek, Latin, and Christian inscriptions in stone, &c. A special building within the city contains the school of art with a valuable library and a collection of medals and coins annexed to it. The city also has a colonial museum and a laboratory of marine zoology. The triumphal arch of Aix, originally dedicated to the victors of the Trocadero, was in 183o appropriated to the conquests of the empire. The canal de Marseille, constructed from 1837 to 1848, which has metamorphosed the town and its arid surroundings by bringing to them the waters of the Durance, leaves the river opposite Pertuis. It has a length of 97 miles (including its four main branches) of which 13 are underground, and irrigates some 7500 acres. After crossing the valley of the Arc, between Aix and Rognac, by the magnificent aqueduct of Roquefavour, it purifies its waters, charged with ooze, in the basins of Realtort. It draws about 2200 gallons of water per second from the Durance, supplies 2450 horse-power to works in the vicinity of Marseilles, and ensures a good water-supply and efficient sanitation to the city. Marseilles is the headquarters of the XV. army corps and the seat of a bishop and a prefect. It has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a board of trade arbitration, and a branch of the Bank of France. The educational institutions include a faculty of science, a school of medicine and pharmacy, and a faculty (faculte libre) of law, these three forming part of the university of Aix-Marseille; lycees for boys and girls, a conservatoire of music, a school of fine art, a higher school of commerce, a school for ships' boys, a school of navigation and industrial schools for both sexes. Trade and Industry.—Marseilles is the western emporium for the Levant trade and the French gate of the Far East. It suffers, however, from the competition of Genoa, which is linked with the Rhine basin by the Simplon and St Gotthard railway routes, and from lack of communication with the inland waterways of France. In January 1902 the chamber of deputies voted £3,656,000 for the construction of a canal from Marseilles to the Rhone at Arles. This scheme was designed to overcome the difficulties of egress from the Rhone and to make the city the natural outlet of the rich Rhone basin. Much of the activity of the port is due to the demand for raw material created by the industries of Marseilles itself. The imports include raw silk, sesame, ground-nuts and other oil-producingfruits and seeds largely used in the soap manufacture, cereals and flour, wool, hides and skins, olive and other oils, raw cotton, sheep and other livestock, woven goods, table fruit, wine, potatoes and dry vegetables, lead, cocoon silk, coffee, coal, timber. The total value of imports was £64,189,000 in 1907, an increase of £18,000,000 in the preceding decade. The exports, of which the total value was £52,901,000 (an increase of £21,000,000 in the decade) included cotton fabrics, silk fabrics, cereals and flour, hides and skins, wool fabrics, worked skins, olive and other oils, chemical products, wine, refined sugar, raw cotton, wool, coal, building-material, machinery and pottery. The port is the centre for numerous lines of steamers, of which the chief are the Messageries Maritimes, which ply to the eastern Mediterranean, the east coast of Africa, Australia, India, Indo-China, Havre and London, and the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, whose vessels run to Algiers, Tunis, Malta, Corsica, Morocco and the Antilles. In addition many important foreign lines call at the port, among them being the P. and O., the Orient, the North German Lloyd, and the German East Africa lines. Marseilles has five chief railway stations, two of which serve the new harbours, while one is alongside the old port; the city is on the main line of the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee railway from the Riviera and Toulon to Paris via Arles, Avignon and Lyons, another less important line connecting it with Aix. Soap-making, introduced in antiquity from Savona and Genoa, is carried on in upwards of fifty factories. These utilize the products of the oil-distilleries and of the chemical works, the latter being also an important adjunct to the manufacture of candles, another leading industry. A large quantity of iron, copper and other ores is smelted in the blast-furnaces of Saint Louis in the vicinity and in other foundries, and the Mediterranean Engineering Company and other companies have large workshops for the construction or repair of marine steam-engines and every branch of iron ship-building. To these industries must be added flour-milling, the manufacture of semolina and other farinaceous foods and of biscuits, bricks and tiles, rope, casks, capsules for bottles and other tin-goods, tanning, distilling, brewing and sulphur- and sugar-refining. There are state tobacco and match factories. History.—The Greek colony of Massalia (Lat. Massilia) was founded by the mariners of Phocaea in Asia Minor, about 600 B.C. The settlement of the Greeks in waters which the Carthaginians reserved for their own commerce was not effected without a naval conflict; it is not improbable that the Phoenicians were settled at Marseilles before the Greek period, and that the name of the town is the Phoenician for " settlement." Whether the judges (sophetim, " suffetes ") of the Phoenician sacrificial tablet of Marseilles were the rulers of a city existing before the advent of the Phocaeans, or were consuls for Punic residents in the Greek period, is disputed. In 542 B.C. the fall of the Phocaean cities before the Persians probably sent new settlers to the Ligurian coast and cut off the remote city of Massalia from close connexion with the mother country. Isolated amid alien populations, the Massaliots made their way by prudence in dealing with the inland tribes, by vigilant administration of their oligarchical government, and by frugality united to remarkable commercial and naval enterprise. Their colonies spread east and west along the coast from Monaco to Cape St Martin in Spain, carrying with them the worship of Artemis; the inland trade, in which wine was an important element, can be traced by finds of Massalian coins across Gaul and through the Alps as far as Tirol. In the 4th century B.C. the Massaliot Pytheas visited the coasts of Gaul, Britain and Germany, and Euthymenes is said to have sailed down the west coast of Africa as far as Senegal. The great rival of Massalian trade was Carthage, and in the Punic Wars the city took the side of Rome, and was rewarded by Roman assistance in the subjugation of the native tribes of Liguria. In the war between Caesar and Pompey Massilia took Pompey's side and in A.D. 49 offered a vain resistance to Caesar's lieutenant Trebonius. In memory of its ancient services the city, " without which," as Cicero says, " Rome had never triumphed over the Transalpine nations," was left as a civitas libera, but her power was broken and most of her dependencies taken from her. From this time Massilia has little place in Roman history; it became for a time an important school of letters and medicine, but its commercial and intellectual importance declined. The town appears to have been christianized before the end of the 3rd century, and at the beginning of the 4th century was the scene of the martyrdom of St Victor. Its reputation partly revived through the names of Gennadius and Cassian, which give it prominence in the history of Semi-Pelagianism and the foundation of western monachism. After the ravages of successive invaders, Marseilles was re-peopled in the loth century under the protection of its viscounts. The town gradually bought up their rights, and at the beginning of the 13th century was formed into a republic, governed by a pedestat, who was appointed for life, and exercised his office in conjunction with 3 notables, and a municipal council, composed of 8o citizens, 3 clerics, and 6 principal tradesmen. During the rest of the middle ages, however, the higher town was governed by the bishop, and had its harbour at the creek of La Joliette which at that period ran inland to the north of the old town. The southern suburb was governed by the abbot of St Victor, and owned the Port des Catalans. Situated between the two, the lower town, the republic, retained the old harbour, and was the most powerful of the three divisions. The period of the crusades brought prosperity to Marseilles, though throughout the middle ages it suffered from the competition of Pisa, Genoa and Venice. In 1245 and 1256 Charles of Anjou, count of Provence, whose predecessors had left the citizens a large measure of independence, established his authority above that of the republic. In 1423 Alphonso V. of Aragon sacked the town. King Rene, who had made it his winter residence, however, caused trade, arts and manufactures again to flourish. On the embodiment of Provence in the kingdom of France in 1481, Marseilles preserved a separate administration directed by royal officials. Under Francis I. the disaffected constable Charles de Bourbon vainly besieged the town with the imperial forces in 1524. During the wars of religion, Marseilles took part against the Protestants, and long refused to acknowledge Henry IV. The loss of the ancient liberties of the town brought new disturbances under the Fronde, which Louis XIV. came in person to suppress. He entered the town by a breach in the walls and afterwards had Fort St Nicolas constructed. Marseilles repeatedly suffered from the plague, notably from May 1720 to May 1721. During the Revolution the people rose against the aristocracy, who up to that time had governed the commune. In the Terror they rebelled against the Convention, but were promptly subdued by General Carteaux. The wars of the empire, by dealing a blow to their maritime commerce, excited the hatred of the inhabitants against Napoleon, and they hailed the return of the Bourbons and the defeat of Waterloo. The news of the latter provoked a bloody reaction in the town against those suspected of imperialism. The prosperity of the city received a considerable impulse from the conquest of Algeria and from the opening of the Suez Canal. See P. Castanier, Histoire de la Provence dens l'antiguite, vol. ii. (Paris, 1896) ; E. Caman, Marseille au XX'', siecle (Paris, 1905) ; P. Joanne, Marseille et ses environs.
End of Article: MARSEILLES
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