b) Bourbon-Lancy (Saône-et-Loire)

Two inscriptions and two fragments of inscriptions dedicated to the divine couple Borvo/Bormo and Damona were discovered in the territory of the Aedui, in the spa town of Bourbon-Lancy, the name of which undoubtedly derives from the name of the healing god – it probably corresponds to ‘Aquae Bormonis’ mentioned on the 4th-century Table de Peutinger.2040 Bourbon-Lancy is nowadays a renowned water-cure centre, which uses five springs ranging from 48° to 60° for rheumatology and phlebology treatment.2041 Excavations undertaken at the end of the 16th c. and of the 17th c. revealed the ruins of an ancient thermal establishment, composed of basins and baths in white and grey marble, apparently adorned by statues in white marble and supplied by a spring gushing forth from the rock.2042 Fragments of mosaics, potteries, statues, terracotta figurines, columns and coins from Caesar’s and Augustus’s times were unearthed on the site. This proves that the curative spring was already known and used in Gallo-Roman times. Apart from the four dedications, no images of the couple or ruins of a temple erected in their honour have been discovered.

The first inscription is engraved on a fragment of stone, broken at the bottom. Abbot Courtépée, who was a celebrated eighteenth-century historian of Burgundy, saw it in 1774 at the Church of Saint-Nazaire, where it was used as a doorstep.2043 The exact place and date of discovery are unknown. The stele* is now housed in the Musée Rolin at Autun (Saône-et-Loire). It reads: Borvoni et Damonae, T(itus) Severius Modestus…[om]nib[us] h[o]n[oribus et] off[iciis], ‘To Borvo and to Damona, Titus Severius Modestus […] (who fulfilled) all the honours and all the municipal offices(?)’.2044 The dedicator bears Latin names and the tria nomina of Roman citizens.

The second inscription, engraved on a stone, probably dating from the 1st c. AD, was found in 1792 in the foundations of Bourbon-Lancy castle. It was then embedded in one of the walls of the yard of the thermal establishment, and is now in the Musée Rolin at Autun. It reads: C(aius) Julius Eporedirigis f(ilius) Magnus, pro L(ucio) Julio Caleno filio, Bormoni et Damonae, vot(um) sol(vit), ‘To Bormo and to Damona, Caius Julius Magnus, son of Eporedirix, for his son Lucius Julius Calenus, paid his vow off’.2045 Bormo is a variant of the god name Borvo. The dedicator Caius Julius Magnus bears the tria nomina of Roman citizens and Latin names, while his father is a peregrine* with a Celtic name: Eporedirix is composed of eporedo-, eporedia, ‘horseman’, ‘cavalry’ and rix, ‘king’ and means ‘king of horsemen’.2046The dedicator thanks the divine couple for accomplishing a vow he had previously made in the name of his son Lucius Julius Calenus, who bears the tria nomina of Roman citizens. Allmer draws attention to the fact that Eporedirix was the name of an Aedui chief at the time of the War of the Gauls.2047 As it was common to keep the name of one’s ancestors, it is likely that this inscription was dedicated by one of the descendants of the Aedui chief. Honoré Greppo adds that “the son of Magnus could be Julius Calenus, a tribune who, according to Tacitus, belonged by birth to the city of the Aedui, and who was in a legion which had followed the party of Vitellius.”2048

A very damaged fragment was found in 1835 and embedded in the wall of the thermal establishment. The Carte Archéologique de la Gaule, Saône-et-Loire, proposes the following reconstitution: Pr]aest(antissimis) sac[rum --- ba]silica u[etustate collaps(?) --- deo(?) Bo]rvoni et [Damonae].2049 A fourth fragment in white marble, now housed in the Musée Rolin, in Autun, could read: [Praestanti]ssimis Nu[minibus] Deo Bor[voni et Damonae?], ‘According to the divine higher wills, to the god Borvo and to Damona (?)’.2050 Finally, excavations carried out in 1912 on the site of the ancient Church of Saint-Martin, revealed important foundations dating from Gallo-Roman times, furniture, various objects and a fragment of inscription dedicated to Borvo and Damona. Archaeologists assume that the edifice was a temple erected in honour of the divine couple. The reading of the inscription is difficult and unsure: [Borvoni et Da]monae [---]scent Bo[---]p sibi ab[------] Sua do[rix------s]omnolen[tus---]rans.2051 About five metres from the ancient church was unearthed a Roman well of twenty metres in depth, where different objects - such as an iron head of spear, fragments of a vase and a bucket - were discovered. It is likely that Borvo and Damona were worshipped in connection with that fountain.


Lacroix, 2007, p. 147 ; Bourgeois, 1991, p. 29 ; CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, pp. 78-79.


Grenier, 1984, p. 292.


Greppo, 1846, pp. 52-55 ; Bonnard, 1908, pp. 438-444 ; Grenier, 1960, pp. 443-445 ; CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, pp. 82-84.


Courtépée, Claude, Description générale et particulière du duché de Bourgogne, L.N. Frantin, Dijon, t. 4, 1775-1881, p. 380.


CIL XIII, 2806 ; Greppo, 1846, pp. 55-56 ; RE, vol. 3, pp. 385-386 ; Chabouillet, 1880, pp. 77-79, n°12 ; Troisgros, 1975, p. 23, n°2 ; CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, p. 85 ; Musée Rolin, Autun, n° inv. 172, now M.L. 201.


CIL XIII, 2805 ; Greppo, 1846, p. 56 ; Chabouillet, 1880, pp. 80-83, n°13 ; Troisgros, 1975, p. 23, n°1 ; CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, p. 85.


Delamarre, 2003, pp. 162-163, 254-255, 259-260 ; Delamarre, 2007, p. 96.


RE, vol. 3, p. 385.


Greppo, 1846, pp. 56-57 ; Tacitus, The Histories, III, 35.


CIL XIII, 2807 ; Greppo, 1846, p. 57 ; Chabouillet, 1880, pp. 84-85, n°15 ; Troisgros, 1975, p. 23, n°3 ; ; CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, p. 85


CIL XIII, 2808 ; Chabouillet, 1880, pp. 83-84, n°14 ; Troisgros, 1975, p. 23, n°4 ; CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, p. 85 ; Musée Rolin, Autun, n° inv. M.L. 99. The place of discovery of this inscription is unknown.


CAG, 71.3, Saône-et-Loire, 1994, pp 84-85.