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Arles(ärl), city (1990 pop. 52,543), Bouches-du-Rhône dept., S central France, in ProvenceProvence
, region and former province, SE France. It encompasses what now are Var, Vaucluse, and Bouches-du-Rhône depts. and (in part) Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes depts.
..... Click the link for more information. , on the Rhône River delta. Arles is an important railroad, shipping, agriculture, and industrial center with varied manufactures. It was a flourishing Roman town (Arelate) and the metropolis of Gaul in the late Roman Empire. Constantine I convoked (314) a synod at Arles that condemned DonatismDonatism
, schismatic movement among Christians of N Africa (fl. 4th cent.), led by Donatus, bishop of Casae Nigrae (fl. 313), and the theologian Donatus the Great or Donatus Magnus (d. 355).
..... Click the link for more information. ; Constantine II was born there. Arles was an archiepiscopal see from the 4th cent. until 1790 and the seat of many synods. It became (879) the capital of Provence and (933) of the kingdom of ArlesArles, kingdom of,
was formed in 933, when Rudolf II, king of Transjurane Burgundy, united the kingdom of Provence or Cisjurane Burgundy to his lands and established his capital at Arles.
..... Click the link for more information. (see separate article). In the 12th cent. it became a free city governed by an elected podestat, who appointed the consuls and other magistrates. Arles retained its special status until the French Revolution. Among its noteworthy attractions are a Roman arena (2d cent. A.D.), seating 26,000 and now used for bullfights; a Roman theater (1st or 2d cent. A.D.); the Aliscamps [i.e., Elysian Fields], remains of a Roman cemetery; the Church of St. Trophime (11th–15th cent.; formerly a cathedral); the town hall (17th cent.); and the Museon Arlaten, a museum of Provençal culture and folklore, installed in a 16th-century mansion by Frédéric Mistral, who was born near Arles. Arles has attracted many painters, notably Van Gogh and Gauguin.
1. a city in SE France, on the Rhône: Roman amphitheatre. Pop.: 50 513 (1999)
2. Kingdom of. a kingdom in SE France which had dissolved by 1378: known as the Kingdom of Burgundy until about 1200