Arles, a Roman town
The position of the town, not far from the mouth of the Rhône, makes it a strategic site which was occupied by the Celto-Ligurian peoples and then by the Greeks who settled in Massalia, the future Marseille. The town took off in the first century B.C., when the town supported Julius Caesar. The winner, who was magnanimous, made it a Roman colony that welcomed many veterans. An ambitious town plan was launched with the creation of a fortified wall, the development of public spaces, the construction of the forum, the theater and the Arc du Rhône.
Under Roman rule, Arles experienced an era of exceptional prosperity. Trade flourished, with the city controlling river traffic on the Rhône. The arenas that we still know today were built in the 1st century AD. An amphitheater was erected in the 2nd century. The city adopts Christianity around the 3rd century. At the beginning of the 4th century, Emperor Constantine regularly resided in his Arlesian palace.
Many monuments and countless remains have been preserved from this glorious period. The ancient Gallo-Roman villas and shipwrecks have given archeologists their lots of amphoras, coins, mosaics, sculptures, etc.