1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vaison

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VAISON, a town of south-eastern France, in the department of Vaucluse, 26 m. N.N.E. of Avignon by road. Pop. (1906) 2148. The Ouvèze, a tributary of the Rhone, divides Vaison into two quarters—the Roman and early medieval town on the right bank, and the town of the later middle ages on the left bank,—the two communicating by an ancient Roman bridge consisting of a single arch. On the right bank is the church (once the cathedral) of Ste Marie, the choir of which is thought to date in parts from the oth century, while the nave belongs to the 12th century. A Romanesque cloister containing a collection of old sculpture flanks the church on the north. Remains of a Roman amphitheatre and the chapel of St Quenin (dedicated to a bishop of the 6th century), with a curious apse of the end of the 11th century, are also to be seen in the old town. On the left bank are the parish church (15th and 16th centuries), remains of the medieval fortifications, and the keep of a castle of the counts of Toulouse. The industries of the town include the manufacture of wooden shoes, bellows and agricultural implements. Vaison, under the name of Vasio, was one of the principal towns of the Vocontii, and was a place of great importance under the Romans, as is shown by an abundance of objects unearthed by excavation, amongst which may be mentioned a fine statue of an athlete (the Diadumenos) in the British Museum. The bishopric established in the 3rd century was suppressed in 1791. Its holders, towards the end of the 12th century, were despoiled of the temporal power in the town by the counts of Toulouse. Subsequently Vaison came, together with the rest of Comtat-Venaissin, under the power of the popes.