Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité in Vence: taurobole and saints galore
The cathedral, Vintium… and Romans
Vence is the former Roman city founded by the Ligurian (a Celtic people): Vintium.
Did you know you could find pieces of Vintium in the cathedral?
Indeed, this one was raised on the foundations of an old pagan temple dedicated to Mars and Cybele.
Roman remains in Our-Lady are still standing, look!
For instance, on the outside wall: we have funerary steles slot in the stone, but also a sculpture representing a taurobolium. What’s this??
An antic sacrifice of a bull, especially for goddess Cybele’s cult.
Besides, the inscription says: ″Valeria Mariana, Valeria Carmosina and Cassius Paternus, priest and lawyer, celebrated the taurobolium in honour of goddess Maia.″
Come on, let’s get back in time… in the 5th century!
Saint Véran was bishop of Vence between 446 and 492.
A strange scene is carved on his sarcophagus: a man and a woman in the middle. On the corner, a newt playing horn.
A spirit stands next to a cave: above, a bird eats grapes...
Another saint! In the 12th century lived saint Lambert: and we have his grave, here!
Lambert was a monk from famous Lérins abbey (Provence): he managed diocese of Vence between 1114 and 1154.
His epitaph carved on the stone says:
DISCAT Q NESCT Q EPS HIC REQESCIT DOTVS LAMBERTVS MVLTA BONTATE REFERTVS QQVE QVATERDENS HVIC SEDI I REFVIT AKNIS NON HVNCERENIT RES BLANDA NEC PIETATIS PARCAT PECCATIS ILLIVS FONS PIETATIS ET LVCESCAT ET LVX PPETVAE REQVIEI.
Which means: ″Here lies bishop Lambert, a benefactor saint, equal in happiness like in adversity.″
His relics were translated in a city of Provence, Bauduen.
The rest was put in a 19th century reliquary we still can see in the cathedral.