L´amphithéatre d´Avenches el le château médiéval du 13e siècle à l'arrière-plan. Photo: TES.

The Romanisation of Vaud

During two centuries of Roman peace —the “pax romana”—  and domination, the area of the canton of Vaud was romanised.

The Celtic population adopted the Roman way of life, the Latin language and customs. One of the most important contributions was urbanisation.

The Celtic settlements, the oppida (oppidum in the singular) developed into cities or new towns that were founded ex novo.

The Romans built and maintained an extensive road network and Vaud became the crossroads of two major roads, one connecting Geneva (Genava) and the Rhone valley with Windisch (Vindonissa) via Lausanne (Lousanna) and Avenches (Aventicum), and another connecting Italy and Northern Europe through the Great St. Bernard Pass and Martigny (Forum Claudii Vallensium) and Aosta (Augusta Praetoria Salassorum) on the other side of the valley.

Waterways were also vital, such as the Rhône, lakeside ports and the Avenches canal.

(Source: L. Hubler, Histoire de Vaud, Lausanne 1991).