Introduction of Avignon
Capital of the Vaucluse department, on the Rhone River, 55 mi NNW of Marseilles. Originally inhabited by the Cavares and settled by Greeks, in a.d. 122 it became a Roman colony under Hadrian. A republic in the 12th century, it was captured by Louis VIII in 1226 and incorporated into the county of Provence. In 1309 it was made the capital of the papacy by Clement V. After the Great Schism of 1377 it became the seat of the antipopes until 1417. It was annexed by France on September 4, 1791. Among its many notable buildings are the 12th-century cathedral, the 14th-century Palace of the Popes, and the famous 12th-century bridge of St. Benezet.