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Fréjus (Municipality, Var, France)

Last modified: 2010-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: var | frejus | god: hermes |
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[Flag of Frejus]

Flag of Fréjus - Image by Gerard van der Vaart, 24 July 2001

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Presentation of Fréjus

The town of Fréjus (35,000 inhabitants) is located in the lower valley of river Argens, which separates the mountains of Maures and Esterel. The center of the city is now 1,500 m away from the Mediterraean Sea, but there is a sea resort named Fréjus-Plage (Fréjus-Beach).

Fréjus was in the Roman times Forum Julii, probably founded by Julius Caesar in 49 BC. The town became an important military harbour in 39 BC, when Octave (later Emperor Augustus) set up there an arsenal where rapid and light galleys were built and crews trained to fight. The galleys helped him to defeat the heavy and slow galleys of Anthony and Cleopatra during the Actium battle. The city was then renamed Colonia Octavanorum. The amphitheater and parts of the theater, aqueducts and city walls have been preserved until now.
The town became less important during the Pax Romana but remained a rich trading port. A Bishopric was created there by Emperor Constantine at the end of the IVth century. In the Xth century, the town was sacked by the Sarracens, and rebuilt in 990 by Bishop Riculf. The medieval fortified center of Fréjus included the cathedral and its cloister (XII-XIIIth centuries, early Provencal Gothic style) and baptistry (Vth century, one of the oldest ones in France), and the Bishop's palace (XIVth century, now the city hall).

Under King Henri II (1547-1559), an Admiralty was established in Fréjus. However, the port and waterways lacked upkeep and malaria developed in the area. During the Revolution, the port was sold as bien national (national good) and eventually filled in, thus explaining the location of the modern town.

Ivan Sache, 24 July 2001

Flag of Fréjus

The flag of Fréjus shows the municipal logotype on a white field, with the name FREJUS written in black below the logotype.

The logotype of Fréjus is derived from a bicephalous Roman statue. The statue is a marble bicephalous Hermes, which was discovered in 1970. It is now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Fréjus. The statue is also shown on a French postage stamp released on 13 June 1988 (face value: 3.70 FRF, YT 2548, M 88-35). The designer Roger Druet and the line-engraver Eugène Lacaque received the Prize of Philatelic Art for their artwork. The stamp is a long rectangle of 88 x 25 mm and shows on a blue background three views of Hermes (both heads facing the viewer, flanking a profile view showing the two opposite heads.)

Ivan Sache, 24 July 2001