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N 10 B 251 C 1 E Jun 3, 2022 F Aug 10, 2022
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The parish church in the small village of Civaux in the département of Vienne (province of Poitou, modern-day administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine) is one of the oldest in France. It is dedicated to the saints Gervais and Protais, twin Italian brothers martyred during the 1st century, who for some reason had quite a strong following in the Poitou after their bones were discovered in Milan in 386.

The church is first mentioned in writing in 862, but it existed several centuries before that. Archæologists tell us that the base of the choir, the oldest part, is from around 400, possibly a little earlier, making this a building from the late Antiquity. It could have been a Christian mausoleum, hence the presence of the archaic stela of Æternalis and Servilla, found in the wall of the apse (I will show a photo of it tomorrow).

From the Merovingian era are the apse from the years 500–600, as well as vestiges of a baptismal font built over the remains of a Roman sanctuary. There was also a Merovingian and Carolingian necropolis around the church, but all that area was fenced of and being worked on when I went. Therefore, not only do I have no photos of it, but I had a hard time keeping the fencing and work site equipment out of my frames!

The nave and bell tower were built during the 11th and 12th centuries.

Two fine examples of funny/scary historied capitals, disfigured and ridiculed like the rest by the cheesy 19th century colors, which today’s doctrine of heritage preservation stupidly forces us to keep as it is more than 100 years old!

Notice, on one of them, the clever use of lateral and diagonal perspective to show us alternatively the body of a monster and a human face.

Tags:   France Nouvelle Aquitaine Poitou Vienne Civaux old stones vieilles pierres Historic Landmark Monument historique Moyen Âge moyenâgeux Medieval médiéval Middle Ages Year 1000 An mil roman Romanesque romane church église Saint-Gervais et Saint-Protais Nikon mirrorless Z7 II trépied tripod Gitzo Traveler GT2530 Benro GD3WH tête micrométrique geared head Nikkor Antiquity Antiquité Antiquité tardive Merovingian mérovingien Carolingian carolingien nef nave 85mm f/2.8 PC-E chapiteau capital

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