SITE AND RUINS OF THE CAPITAL OF THE LEXOVII—HISTORY OF LISIEUX—MONASTERIES OF THE DIOCESE—ORDERICUS VITALIS—M. DUBOIS—LETTER FROM THE PRINCESS BORGHESE.
(Lisieux, July, 1818.)
Lisieux represents one of the most ancient capitals of the primitive tribes of Gaul. The Lexovii, noticed by Julius Caesar, in his Commentaries, and by other authors, who were almost contemporary with the Roman conqueror, are supposed by modern geographers to have occupied a territory nearly co-extensive with the bishopric of Lisieux; and it may be remarked, that the bounds of the ancient bishoprics of France were usually conterminal with the Roman provinces and prefectures.
The capital of the Lexovii was called the Neomagus or Noviomagus Lexoviorum; and no doubt ever was entertained but that the present city occupied the same site, till an accidental discovery, in the year 1770, proved the contrary to be the fact.—About that time a chaussee was formed between Lisieux and Caen; and, in the course of some excavations, which were made under the direction of M. Hubert, the superintending engineer, for the purpose of procuring stone, the laborers opened the foundations of some ruined buildings scattered over a field, called les Tourettes, about three-quarters of a mile from the former town. The character of these foundations was of a nature to excite curiosity: they were clearly the work of a remote age, and various specimens of ancient art were dug up amongst the ruins. The extent of the foundations, which spread over a space four times as large as the plot occupied by modern Lisieux left no doubt but that Danville, and all other geographers, must have been mistaken with respect to the position assigned by them to the ancient Neomagus. M. Hubert drew a plan of the ruins, and accompanied it with an historical memoir; but unfortunately he was a man little capable of prosecuting such researches; and though M. Mongez, in his report to the National Institute, eulogized the map as exact, and the memoir as excellent, they were both of them extremely faulty. It was reserved for M. Louis Dubois, of whom I shall have occasion to speak again before I close this letter, to repair the omissions and rectify the mistakes of M. Hubert, and he has done it with unremitting zeal and extraordinary success. The