Parisii, Celtic fishermen who settled on the ГЋle de la CitГ© in 3rd century BC, become known to us thanks to Romans. Celtic tribes (Romans called them Gauls) resisted conquest against Julius Caesar for seven years, and even their defeat in 52 B.C. near the Gallic settlement AlГ©sia was considered heroic and worth remembering. A thousand years later, the battle is immortalized in the name of a street and a metro station in Paris.
Romans had founded a colony on the Left bank of Seine, right opposite the ГЋle de la CitГ© on the Lutetia hill (meaning "yellowish", "made from clay"). This is where the Pantheon stands today. The town kept its original name, Parisii Lutetia, till 212 A.C., and was built according to Roman town standards. Gallic wood structures have long perished under the weight of time and war, but Roman stone buildings had better luck: ruins of Thermes de Cluny, the Arena and the Roman temple can be seen even today. The locations of theatre and forum, the obligatory structures in Roman cities, can be determined by looking at the map of modern Paris and finding the Odeon (meaning "theatre" in Roman) and the intersection of two main Roman roads - the modern Rue Soufflot (west-east) and rue Saint-Jacques (north-south). Starting from the 3rd century A.C. the main town of Northern Gallia was increasingly called Paris.
The first Christian bishop of Paris, Dionysius (Denis) from Athens, was martyred for the denunciation of pagan gods. He was beheaded in 260 A.C. on the Mars hill, which was swiftly renamed Montmartre, "The hill of martyrs". Dionysius became a patron saint of Paris and is more well known as Saint-Denis. The burial site of all French monarchs (Basilica Saint-Denis), as well as the boulevard and the street leading to it, are named after Saint-Denis.
Another patron saint of Paris is Sainte GeneviГЁve, whose prayer saved the city from the Hun invasion in 451, forcing Attila the Hun to turn south from the city. Failing to protect Paris from German pagans, Sainte GeneviГЁve managed to convert their Frankish king Chlodwig to Christianity. In 496 Chlodwig was christened in Rheims, and from that moment on all French kings had been crowned in the Rheims cathedral. In 470 king Chlodwig, the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, made Paris the capital of the Frankish kingdom.
The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad