Corseul was the tribal capital of the Coriosolites, until dangerous times as the Empire broke up took them to Alet, near St Malo. The town was an opportunity for Gallic nobles to live the benefits of Roman rule, privately and commercially, as the area of Monterfil in the centre of the modern village shows. Here is preserved a stretch of
Roman street, orientated
east/west along the line of Roman roads entering and leaving the village. The
lay-out, shaped to the sloping contour of the land, is edged by Tuscan
colonnades and lined by the foundations of a basilica and shops on one side,
with houses behind (including the hint of a hypocaust heating system), and a
vast warehouse with a courtyard behind on the other. Originally most of the
buildings would have been two-storeyed, as the helpful reconstruction drawings
around the site indicate. Gutters line the street, with a large cistern for collecting
rain water at the lower end. It is not hard to visual this thriving business
centre in the early 1st century AD.
A smattering of column bases and half pillars are grouped together beside the mairie, including the so-called Jupiter column. Elsewhere in the village, a former school-house – standing on what was probably the ancient forum - holds a dedicated exhibition. This collection of finds contributes the fine brush-strokes to an image of life in the capital of the Coriosolites in the first three centuries AD. On the other side of the road, the villa of Clos Muton reveals its layout and evolution over time into a palaestra and bath-house.
Two inscriptions from the town record individuals, one a high-ranking religious official, the other revealing a more personal picture with a tombstone complete with faded Latin, now in the church. It was erected by the son (presumably a solider in the Roman army) of Silicia Namgidde, who followed him here – eximia pieta - from her home inOnce visible from the town was the sanctuary of the
Africa. She died aged