BEZIERS HISTORY

"Si Deus in terris, vellet habitare Biterris"

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Some Toponymies and Origins
of surrounding Villages

Abeilhan

 From a Roman property's name : "Apillius"

Agde

 Founded by Phoceens at the VI-th BC, the village is named "Agathé Tyché" : "The Good Fortune". "Agata" is a beneficial lunar goddess.
The Agde volcano, designated by Mont Saint Loup, was at the beginning an island (around the II-nd century).

Alignan du Vent

 "Alinian" (1060) becomes "Allinha del Ven" in 1425 then "Alignan du Vent" in 1571. Gets its name from a Gallo-Roman property's owner named "Alinnius".
The extension "du vent" (of wind) allows it to be differentiated from the village of Lignan and allows to suppose the presence of a windmill.

Autignac

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Altinius"

Balaruc

 Previously "Baladunum", from "Belenos"(Gallic god dieu equivalent to Apollo)

Bassan

 Its settlement would came from 500 BC. The name's root would come from a Roman legionary named "Bassus" who got, in recompense to his loyal services, many lands where he built his villae (Roman property). The name "Bassan" only appears in 1625.

Bédarieux

 Would come from a proto-Basque word "Bitteri"that means "Burg of the road"

Bessan

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Bettius"

Boujan sur Libron

 Dating from Neolithic, the village was named "Boianum" in 937, then "bovianum". The most probable hypothesis about this name's origin would be "Boius", the first name of the villae "Boiana", Gallo-Roman property of "Bovianus".
About the name of the river "Libron", its origin would come from the Celtic word "the broun" meaning "torrent".

Brescou

 It's the little island in front of Cap d'Agde. Its name was initially "Blâscon" that could be come from the Phoenician root "Balagon" meaning "devoured", "gulped", "consumed by fire".

Cabrières

 Previously "Capraria", derived from "gapra" (goat) or "Cabre" in Provençal.

Capestang

 Means "pond's extremity", pond ("Mare Rubresus" in the Roman time) whose salt was extracted until the XV-th century.

Caussiniojouls

 Previously cassano-ialos or cassano-ialon, then Caveinugulo in 966.
 The name could come from "Cassanos" (holy oak) - in old French "Chasne/Chesne" and in Irish "Cas".
 Its religious sense has been kept in removing the Latin part "Quercus".
 Ialon/Ialos meant in Gallic "Glade/Open space", "Land".
 So the translation of the name "cassano-ialos" would be : the glade (Ialos) of oaks (Cassano).

Caux

 Would come from "Caus" : the lime

Cazouls-lès-Béziers

 The village would exist since the Roman period (1st century), having the name of "Casulae". However, the name's origon is uncertain : maybe it is a contraction of the roots "Casa" (house) and "Olei" (olive), then signifying a place where was an olivemill. Nevertheless, "Casulae" can designate too tombs.
The village got longtime the name of "Casouls de Narbounès" (Cazouls of Narbonne).

Cers

 Coming from the Gallic god Circius or Cercius, personification of a strong north west wind. Another explanation would make come the name from "Circum" : in circle, because Cers is built in circulade (a specific construction style where houses are built in circle surrounding a central point, in generaly a church or a castel).

Cessenon

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Cincinus"

Colombiers

 Comes from "Colomb" : pigeon

Corneilhan

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Cornelius"

Coulobres

 Or from "Cal" (boulder) + "Briga" (fortress),
or coming from "Colòbra" (grass snake)

Espondeilhan

 Espondeilla in 1170, from a Roman property owner's name : "Spondelius" or "Sponde"

Florensac

 Many origins are evoked :
The first would come from the name "Florence", witness of Saint Thybérius (St Thibéry)'s martyrdom in 303 and, impressed by his courage, she would have been converted to Christianity.
The second would come from "Florentius", Gaul consul,
and the third would make the name coming from "Flore" : flowers.

Faugères

 From "fougères" (fern)

Fontès

 Has its origin from "Font" which, in Latin as in Occitan, means source or fountain.

Gabian

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Gavius"

Laurens

 Means "Laurel" in patois

Lespignan

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Espinus"

Lieuran-lès-Béziers

 Already inhabited at the neolithic time, Lieuran takes its village's form around the year 1000. The name would come from a Roman property owner's name : "Lurano"

Lignan sur Orb

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Lignon"

Magalas

 Comes from "meg" (mountain) or "magal" (stones heap).

Maraussan

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Marucius" and his property : the "Villa Maruciana"

Marseillan

 Founded at the VI-th century BC by the Phoceens. It's the "little Marseille"

Maureilhan

 It was, until the French Revolution, two villages : Maureilhan and Ramejan. The name would come from two Romans settlers : Maurelius and Ramigacus.

Mèze

 Previously "Mesua". The name would come from a Phoenician word "Mansa" which means : "elevated place where a smoke raises". It seems the Phoenicians lighted up a brazier to lead their boats.
 However, if we consider the Greek root, "Mesua" would come from "middle", because of village localization in the middle of the pond.

Montady

 At Roman time, its name was "Pelian". Then the place got the name "Vinacan" (coming from a Roman name : Venciano). It was, at the beginning, a cremation's necropolis - becoming village and burnt in 1209 - which was located on the current cimetary's place. Until the Revolution, the village had the name "Saint Géniès".
The name Montady could come from "Mont" : mountain + a guy named "Atinus",
or from "Mons" + "Dunum" (mountain in Latin and Celtic)
or "Mont" + "Di" : "God mountain".
The village is quoted in 1097 in the book "Livre Noir" (cartulary). Then it got the name of Montadino, then Montaddia, Monteadino, Montadi, and finally Montady.

Montblanc

 Means "White Mountain". The village was first named "Sainte Eulalie de la Tonghe", then "Monte Blanco" in 1178.

Montpellier

 Comes from "montis" (hill, in latin) + "pastell" (plant).
In the past, the city was named "Lo Clapàs" (stony ground).

Murviel-lès-Béziers

 At the XI-th centry we can find the origin of the name Murviel, composed with "muri" : the walls, and "vetuli" : old. So, Murviel means : Old walls (referring to the ramparts which surrounded the village)

Narbonne

 From "Narbo", Gallic god, coming from "ner" : spurting source

Nissan-lez-Ensérune

 Comes from a Roman villae name "Aniciano", whose mention is done in 782 during a judgment in favor of the Narbonne archbishop.

Olargues

 Comes from "Olla" (crucible, pot), no doubt because of the Jaur river basins' form.

Paulhan

 Comes from a province Roman intendant's name : "Paulianus"

Pézenas

 Was named "Piscenae", then "Pédinatis" in 990 and "Pédénaz" in 1036.
 The name could come from the Gallic time, deriving from the nearby little river : "Pédenu" (the Peyne)

Poilhes

 It was the "Podium Valerii" in 958. The word comes from Podium (mountain) and Valerii (a guy named Valère)

Portiragnes

 Named in 1035 : "Porcaimiacos", in 1115 : "Porcairanicis", in 1179 : "Porcairanegnes", in 1213 : "Porcaraignes", around 1500 : "Pourcairanhes" and finaly "Portiragnes" in 1750. It seems the pig husbandry was the main economic activity of the village for some centuries : "Porcairagna" means "pigpen" or "pigs place".
However, the name seems to have changed, at the XVIII-th, in "Port" + "Iragnes", name of a local fish with a venomous bone (the vive- Trachinus draco).

Pouzolles

 The name would come from the ancient Occitan word "posòla" which means "well"

Puimisson

 

Puissalicon

 Would come from "Puech salicon" : salty hill. Perhaps because of a salty water's well (the Noguier's one) which was at the end of the Montels street.

Puisserguier

 Was named "Podio Segario" in 1094, then "Castrum de Podio Serigorio" in 1146. Podio = hillock and Segario is certainly the name of a man : "Serigarius".

Quarante

 Was named "Santa Maria de Quadraginta" in 902. Reflects the pious adaptation (the Forty martyrs) in the church's designation, by a Gaul named "Caranta"

Roujan

 Was named "ROGANI" at the IX-th, then "ROGANO", "ROJANO", "ROGIANO", which means "red land".
 Another hypothesis would be the name of a Roman property owner : "ROIUS"

Saint Chinian

The village exists since 780. The name would came from distortion of "Saint Aignan" (Anianus, who saved the city of Orléans against the Huns during the V-th century). Then the village was named "Saint Chénian" then "Saint Chinian."

Saint-Geniès de Fontedit

 Built around a church devoted to Saint Geniès (Genesius), Arles court's registrar and martyred at the middle of the III-rd century, and - of course - owning a fount (font), managed during Carolingian time by a adictum (sentence of justice or power). At the XI-th, the village had the name "Sanctum Genesium de Fonte adicta". However, others deriving designations were used : "Sanctum Genesium de Fontedicta", "Sant Ginieis de Fontazeicha", or at the XVII-th century : "Fontedict", "Fontédit". At the beginning XIX-th it becomes "Saint Geniès le Bas" then in 1988 "Saint Geniès de Fontedit".

Saint Pons de Thomière

From "Saint Pons", a martyr saint from Nice, whose relics were brought to this village by Pons, earl of Toulouse during the X-th century, who created in this place a Saint Benoit order's monastery.
Thomière : was before named "Tomières", coming from the Greek word "tomos" that was an iron tool used to carve marble : numerous marble quarries are around the village.

Saint Thibéry

 From the name of a martyr saint (around 300).
The village was named "Cessero" at the Roman time.

Sauvian

 From a Roman property owner's name : "Salvius"

Sérignan

 Many origins can be envisaged :
- Ancient denomination "Serinnacum" seems to come from "Sarragna" meaning "closed place"/"toll gate", that can be explain by a maritime counter intended for receive taxes of ships which navigated on the Orb river,
- or it comes from the contraction of "sierra" (seashore) and "inanus" (sterile),
- or it would come from a Roman centurion's name "Serenus" or "Surinus" who would have received there a villae, in recompense for its job. The name changed from "Serinnacum", "Sérinhanus", to "Sérignagnus", "Sirinianus" and "Sirignianus".

Servian

 Cerviano in 1010, Cervianum in 1076, it was the Gallo-Roman property of a guy named Cervius.

Sète

 Its origin comes from Copper Age (around 1100/800 BC). The first names was "Kittim" or "Settim", used by Phoenicians to designate a wooded and elevated maritime hill. At the Ptolemy time, the St Clair hill was named cape "Sigium". This name comes from "seg" (spur shaped hill). The hill was water surrounded and the Thau pond, connected to the sea through a large opening, formed a secondary gulf.
Then the city was named "Cette" (inscribed too as : Sette, Septe, Cète, or Cept). It took the present-day name in 1928.

Thézan-lès-Béziers

 "Tesano" in 972 then "Thesa" and "Tezan". The denomination comes from the Roman-Germanic domain's owner : "Tedo", "Teza" or "Tezo".

Vailhan

 The Lord of the place, coming back from Crusade in Palestine, would had just be back with seven of his soldiers. To thank them, he gave them parts of his lands. From there comes the name of 7 "valiants".

Valras

 Means in patois "flat area" or "flat valley". But this name can too comes from a Roman "Valère" (Valerius) who was member of same family than the Romain de Poilhes' one.

Valros

 Was named "Valeros" in 990, then "Valrano" in 1199. As Valras or Poilhes, the name would come from the Roman settlers' family : the Valerius.

Vendres

 Named "Venres" at the Middle Age (contraction of : Veneris), because it had a temple devoted to Venus

Vias

 Mentioned for the first time in 899, its origin comes from an ancient Roman villae's name. However, this place was settled since - at least - 2000 years BC.

Villeneuve-lès-Béziers

 Villeneuve coming from : "ville nouvelle - new city" (the Latin name "Villa - Villae", designating previously "farm" became "village");. Built in 778, it was named in the past "Villeneuve la Crémade" (crémade=burnt) because it had been burned by Simon de Montfort's troops. It kept that name until 1631.

Some Toponymies of Watercourses

Agout

 From the Latin word "aquaten", coming from "aqua" (water) or from pre-Latin "adguttum" (channel or sewer)

Etang de Thau

 It was named before "Taphron" (ditch, in Greek). However, another origin gives it the name of "Taurum stagnum" : Taurus pond.

Grau

 The word "Grau" (Grau d'agde, Grau de Vendres,...) comes from the Latin word "gradus" meaning "passage". It is used to designate the waters passage coming from pond to sea. However, today, it is used to designate any kind of embouchures.

L'Hérault

 Previously "Arauris" at the 1st century BC, then "Aréror" at the Middle Age, the name comes from the precious metal : l'Or (Gold), which can be found in its waters.
But too the name can come from the root "aar" : river

Le Libron

 Its origin would come from the Celtic word "broun" meaning "torrent".

L'Orb

 Previously "Orobis" or "Orbis". Means, in Latin, a circular move (but nothing sure about that origin)
 Some ancient texts seems to claim this stream carried golden sequins - so perhaps where the name's origin comes from - and the latest gold washers ceased their researches at the beginning of the modern time.