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Exhibits recapture the Roman past of Valais

Roman objects from Canton Valais dating back to 15 BC are on display at the Vidy museum in Lausanne.

Roman objects from Canton Valais dating back to 15 BC are on display at the Vidy museum in Lausanne.

Items never before seen in public are included in the exhibition, which traces the history of the Rhone Valley in Switzerland when it was part of the Roman Empire.

The Romans took control for economic reasons, while looking for new trade routes between Roman and Gaul. They named the region from Chablais to the Conches valley "Vallis Peonious" after the god Peonius, who according to legend was the protector of the Grand St.Bernard Pass.

Thus it was the Romans who gave the name to the later Swiss canton of Valais, or Wallis in German.

The exhibition explains how the local population adopted the customs of Roman civilisation, especially urbanism and political structures. However some of the more remote valleys escaped colonisation and were able to keep their traditions.

"These objects have a rare aesthetic quality," says the museum curator, Nathalie Pichard, "especially the safety-pins used for robes."

The exhibition was conceived by the Archaeology Museum at Sion in Canton Valais.

by swissinfo




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