Ernagina, Ernagena, Ernagino, Ernagini, Ernagin, Arnaginem, Arnagine, Bergine, Berginé,
Ερναγινον. What names for a town now long since disappeared!
Ernaginum: the most important crossroads of Roman Gaul. In fact it was
here that the Via Domitia (which continued onto Spain) met the Via Agrippa
(from Arles and then onto Lyon) and the Via Aurelia (the coast-‐road from Rome).
At the foot of Ernaginum flowed the two branches of the River Durance,
one from Chateaurenard, via Maillane and Laurade, the other from Orgon via
Saint-‐Remy. From here the waters continued towards Arles flowing into the
ponds of Desuviates which then linked into the Marius canal and the sea, near
Ernaginum was an important city whose economy depended principally on
these three great routes, together with the crossing of both the Rhone and the
marshes of the Durance which at this point was assured by local boatmen. The
town extended over 2km along the edge of the hill.
Ernaginum served as the advance camp for the Emperor Marius to protect
Arles against attacks from the Cimbres in approximately 100 BC. At that time
called Bergine it was perhaps the capital of a Gallic tribe belonging to the
federation of Salyens: the Nearchi.
This tribe of shepherds and farmers, who lived in the Alpilles and on
part of the Crau in the 6th century, was nevertheless trading with ships from
the Mediterranean (Punic, Etruscan and Greek).
In 480 Ernaginum was destroyed stone by stone by the Visigoths. Rebuilt,
it was again destroyed, this time in the 11th century by the Saracens from
Ernaginum would have been more important than Glanum and would have
included at least five cemeteries.