Page:Book of the Riviera.djvu/167
A LIFELESS TOWN
it when the young folk come up there for examination for professions, and from the military who are quartered there, and from the prisons which accommodate the criminals of the department. Draguignan is supposed to have been a Greek town called Antea. But there must have been people living here in prehistoric times, for near the town is a dolmen as fine as any in Brittany or Wales. It is composed of four upright stones supporting a quoit eighteen feet long and fifteen wide, and the height above the ground is seven feet.
In the Middle Ages the place was called Drachcenum, and it was fabled that the old town stood on the heights above, as the plain was ravaged by a dragon. St. Armentarius, Bishop of Antibes (A.D. 451) slew the monster, whereupon the people came down from the heights and settled where is the present town. The town really began to flourish in the thirteenth century, when, owing to the silting up of the port of Fréjus, that city declined in prosperity. Then it was surrounded by a wall pierced by three gates, of which two remain. Within the old walls the streets are scarce six feet wide, and the houses run up to a great height. The sun never penetrates to their pavement. The town was also defended by a castle on rising ground. In 1535 Draguignan was one of the principal Sénéchaussées of Provence. She rapidly spread beyond the walls, and then a second circuit of walls was erected where is now the boulevard; but portions of the ramparts to the east and north-east still remain.
In 1650 Draguignan was the scene of bloody fights on account of the troubles of the Fronde. During the minority of Louis XIV., the Regent, Anne of Austria, committed all authority to Cardinal Mazarin. He