Histoire

(Vous trouverez un livre d’histoire local produit par Voconce Anim’ : Luc autrefois…traversée d’un siècle.  Vendu à la mairie au prix de 17,50 euro)

English version below

Les traces d’occupation humaine les plus anciennes dans la vallée de la Drôme remontent au Moustérien, lorsque des néandertaliens du Paléolithique moyen venaient surveiller les migrations d’animaux depuis les plateaux surplombant le cours de la rivière (site de Maumuye à Saint-Roman) il y a plus de 35.000 ans.

Il faut ensuite attendre la fin des glaciations pour retrouver des traces humaines ; c’est durant la période Néolithique que la vallée commence à être vraiment exploitée. Les découvertes de Charens, dans le Haut-Diois, montrent que cette région est en relation avec l’importante culture alpine durant l’âge du Bronze.

Le nom antique de Luc-en-Diois, Lucus, signifie « Bois sacré » et indique sans doute l’existence d’un sanctuaire d’époque gauloise, qu’il reste à localiser.

Lorsque les Romains soumettent le sud de la Gaule entre 125 et 121 avant J.-C., les territoires gaulois sont réorganisés administrativement. Les Voconces, peuple gaulois qui occupe le secteur allant de l’Isère au Ventoux et de la Durance jusqu’aux collines surplombant le Rhône, forment alors une cité qui bénéficie d’un traité d’amitié avec Rome (le foedus) et compte deux chefs-lieux, Vasio (Vaison-la-Romaine) et Lucus Augusti (Luc-en-Diois). Les postes politiques et religieux les plus importants semblent être concentrés à Luc.

Cette vaste cité est subdivisée en territoires plus petits, appelés pagus (pays), situés en périphérie de la vallée de la Drôme. La ville de Luc se développe entre le Ier siècle avant J.-C. et le Ier siècle après ; on y a trouvé une superbe mosaïque dont 20 m² sont conservés au musée de Valence, les vestiges architecturaux d’un édifice monumental (temple ?), des fragments de grandes statues en marbre, des colonnes, des murs, des inscriptions, des monnaies… qui montrent l’importance de la ville. Une partie de ces découvertes est conservée au musée de Die.

On a également mis au jour des restes de villas gallo-romaines dans les campagnes avoisinantes (notamment Pauliane, avec un sanctuaire à Mercure), mais aussi sur les communes de Montlaur, Recoubeau, Barnave…
En l’an 69, la ville de Luc souffre des troubles politiques qui frappent Rome et l’Empire à la mort de Néron. Les légions d’un candidat-empereur arrivent du Rhin en direction de Rome et menacent d’incendier la ville, projet abandonné contre le versement d’une rançon. Un demi siècle plus tard, le statut de capitale est transféré de Luc vers Die (Dea Augusta Vocontiorum), qui deviendra colonie romaine et se fortifiera derrière un rempart à la fin du IIIe siècle.
C’est vers la même époque, lors de la création temporaire de l’Empire Gaulois, que des fortifications sont installées au sommet du Pic de Luc pour contrôler le trafic sur l’importante voie romaine qui suit la vallée de la Drôme. Ce fortin, abandonné à la fin de l’époque romaine, sera réoccupé durant le Moyen-âge. Au IVe siècle, la ville de Luc n’est plus qu’une simple étape sur la Via Vocontia, entre le Rhône et les Alpes.

Territoire dépendant au XIe siècle des comtes de Die, Luc et ses fortifications sont l’objet, après la ruine de cette famille suite aux Croisades, d’un litige avec les évêques de Die. Le castrum de Luc, mentionné dans des textes de 1165 et 1201, est reconnu aux évêques par décision de l’empereur Frédéric II en 1214 (les territoires à l’est du Rhône font partie à cette époque du Saint-Empire Romain Germanique). Il en est de même pour d’autres châteaux dont les ruines sont encore visibles dans la région (Montlaur, Beaumont, Montmaur, le Pilhon…).
La gestion du village et des terres est donnée en fief par les évêques, fief acquis par alliance à la famille d’Agoult en 1225, qui reste sous contrôle de l’épiscopat Diois jusqu’à l’intégration du diocèse à la France dans la province royale de Dauphiné au XVe siècle (peu de temps après la chute du Claps, en 1441). Appelé alors baronnie, le territoire de Luc passe successivement entre les mains des Lhère de Glandage (1540), de Gilbert de Sallière (1705), puis chez les Morard jusqu’à la Révolution.

L’organisation républicaine de 1790 fait de Luc le siège d’un canton comprenant les communes de Barnave, Jansac, Micon, Montlaur, Montmaur, Pennes, Poyols et Recoubeau. La réorganisation de l’an VII soustrait Montmaur mais ajoute Aucelon, La Bâtie-Crémezin, La Bâtie-des-Fonds, Beaurières, Beaumont, Charens, Fourcinet, Jonchères, Lèsches, Le Pilhon et Les Prés.

 

Le village accueille une gare de chemin de fer à la fin du XIXe siècle et fait partie des pionniers de l’installation de l’électricité dans les campagnes, en 1926. La construction d’un théâtre dans les années 1930 montre le dynamisme culturel et touristique des montagnes durant l’entre-deux guerres.

Pour en savoir plus sur Luc-en- Diois: ICI        Pour en savoir plus dur le Diois : ICI

Pour en savoir plus sur le canton (ancien) de Luc : ICI

Histoire de la résistance : Les résistants, et la majorité des Drômois, vivent dans l’attente des Alliés. Des messages à la radio compris par les seuls responsables de la Résistance annoncent le débarquement du 6 juin 1944 en Normandie. C’est le signal d’une véritable levée en masse des volontaires…

VOIR SUITE  (musée de la résistance à Vassieux en Vercors)

HISTORY

The oldest traces of human activity in the Haut Diois date back 35,000 years to the last Ice Age, when the upper part of the Valley of the Drome was still being carved out by a giant glacier. There is evidence from St Roman that Neanderthals surveyed the migrations of animals from cliffs overlooking the river (site de Maumuye) during the Middle Paleolithic Period.

For another 25,000 years the glaciers slowly receeded but it was not until the beginning of the Neolithic Period 10,000 years ago that we again find any evidence of human settlement in the Haut Diois. Archeological investigations at Charens have shown that this little village was part of an important culture in the Alps during the Bronze Age. The scattered self-sufficient villages of the Haut Diois later developed into a distinct Celtic Culture called the Voconces, which stretched from the River Isere in the north to Mont Ventoux in the south, from the River Durance in the east to the Rhone in the west. Luc was by then an administrative and trading centre for the Voconces, apparently larger and more important than Die. Luc means ‘sacred wood’ but we know nothing of its cultural significance, nor of any ancient forest that might have given the town its name.

The Alps and Pre-Alps were the very last part of France to resist Roman occupation. Although the whole of Gallia (France) was conquered by 49BC, the mountainous region east of Luc did not fall to the Romans until 64AD. The Romans conquered the Valley of the Drome from the west and founded Die long before they succeeded in pacifying Luc. Once the Voconces had become Roman subjects, they were reorganised with two administrative centres, Vasio (Vaison la Romaine) and Lucus Augusti (Luc en Diois), though Luc seems to have retained the most important political and religious functions. The town of Lucus was built during the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD. Amongst the Roman artefacts discovered in Luc there are fragments of marble statues and columns, walls, inscriptions and money, mainly from the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. Some 20 square metres of a magnificent mosaic from Luc are preserved in the Museum de Die, as are a number of other discoveries. Four kilometres down the valley from Luc there are further Roman remains at Paulianne, including inscribed stones, a column and a fountain dedicated to Mercury, the Roman god of travelers. Remains, sometimes parts of the same artefacts, have also been discovered in the villages of Montlaur, Recoubeau and Barnave. Finds from all of these sites can be seen in the Museum de Die and the Museum de Valence.

The ascendancy of Luc was not to last long because in 69AD, during the political unrest throughout the Roman Empire following the death of Nero, the Voconces rebelled. A Roman Legion threatened to burn the town down and this was only avoided by the payment of a ransom. Half a century later Luc was further punished by the Romans when they deprived the town of its status as an administrative and religious capital by shifting these functions to Dea Augusta Vocontiorum (Die), which was further fortified to become a fully-fledged Roman garrison by the 3rd century AD.

Luc was never fortified but the Romans built a military observation post at the very top of the Pic de Luc, which overlooks the Drome Valley for 20 kilometres in each direction.  The valley had become an important route, the Via Vocontium, which linked Vienna (Vienne, just south of Lyon) to Mediolanum (Milan), and thus the Rhone Valley to the Po Valley.   The fort above Luc was abandoned with the collapse of the Roman Empire in the early 5th century AD but   became important again in the Middle Ages.

During the long feudal period, the Haut Diois was ruled by a series of Counts that changed according to their fortunes (or misfortunes) in war and disputes with the Church. Texts from 1165 and 1201 mention the status of Luc and there is an intervention by Emperor Frédéric II in 1214 when the Drome was part of the German dominated Holy Roman Empire.   The ruined fortifications at the villages of Pilhon, Beaumont, Montlaur and Montmaur date from this period. Passing from the family of the Agoults in 1225, the lands around Luc were controlled by Lhère de Glandage in 1540, Gilbert de Sallière in 1705, then by the family Morard until the Revolution. The most calamitous event during this period was the collapse in 1442, of a large part of the Pic de Luc into the valley below, blocking the River Drome in two places to form two lakes that inundated the Via Vocontium. For the next 262 years the route from Luc up to the Col de Cabre, then down to the Durance Valley and on to Briancon and Italy was physically blocked and involved circuitous detours.

Some people still believe that the catastrophic collapse of the Pic de Luc resulted in the destruction of Luc by floodwaters, necessitating the reconstruction of the town higher up. The story seems to have started with the historian Aymar de Rivail, who visited in 1553 and wrote about seeing the ruins of buildings emerging from the waters. He must have been writing about buildings submerged by the Grand Lac, possibly near Beaumont, or possibly a village that has now been totally lost. The Roman ruins in the middle of Luc prove that the town has remained in the same place for at least 2000 years. In any case, the collapse actually blocked the river in two places above Luc, leading presumably to the river drying up at Luc until the newly formed lakes eventually overflowed some years later.   The main road from Luc up to the Col de Cabre still winds its way between a chaotic pile of rocks bigger than houses that rest exactly where they fell over 550 years ago. The lakes so formed generated their own history. In 1561 the Grand Lac was acquired by the monks of Chartreux de Durban who turned it into a fishery, but they soon ran into conflict with the locals who poached fish to such an extent that the Parliament of Grenoble, and finally Louis XIV became involved.   By the end of the 18th century the lake had largely silted up and much of it had become a stagnant swamp. The first proposal to drain the lake dates back to 1753 but the monks clung on to their fishing rights until the Revolution. The lake was eventually drained in 1804 by drilling a tunnel through the solid rock to form Le Saut de la Drome, a series of dramatic waterfalls over which the present road passes.

In 1895 the Valence-Briancon railway reached Luc, revolutionising the local economy. Goods that took three days to arrive from Valence by horse and cart took little more than three hours by train. Before the coming of the railway the only exports from the Haut Diois were sheep and goats that could be driven to markets in the Rhone Valley, and relatively light, high value goods such as lavendar oil, shelled walnuts and silk, that were worth transporting laboriously by horse or mule. The railway made it possible to export heavier goods such as wine, fruit, vegetables and cereals, turning a largely self-sufficient local agriculture into an exporter of food to growing industrial cities.

When the railway was extended beyond Luc at the end of the 19th century it was necessary to build a viaduct across the lower waterfalls of the Drome some 44 metres above the river. The viaduct is 244 metres long and enters directly into a tunnel at the southern end. Since 2004 the Claps, as it is called in the local dialect, has been classified as a conservation site. There are numerous rock climbs that have been pegged for amateur climbers, a via ferrata that traverses the rock face above the entrance to the railway tunnel and a restaurant-bar that is open all summer.

The Republican reorganisation of France in 1790 made Luc the capital of a canton including all the villages down river directly north of Luc – Barnave, Jansac, Miscon, Montlaur, Montmaur, Pennes, Poyols and Recoubeau.   With the administrative reorganisation in Year VII of the Revolution, when the draining of the lakes was already agreed, the canton of Luc ceded Montlaur to Die but added all the villages up river from Luc – Batie-Crémezin, Batie-les-Fonds, Valdrome, Beaurières, Beaumont, Charens, Fourcinet, Lèsches, Pilhon and Meadows, plus Jonchères and Aucelon, an arrangement that lasted until the reorganisation of all French cantons in 2015.

In 1926 Luc was one of the first towns in rural France to install a 110 volt electricity supply that extended to most of the farms in the commune. A few years later Luc boasted two hotels, a theatre and cinema. A spa for exhausted Parisiens was built where sulphurous water springs from the mountainside at Poyol.   More recently Luc installed its own hydro-electric plant at the Claps and this now exports electricity to the national grid when the River Drome is swollen by winter rains.

The history of Luc would not be complete without mentioning the two World Wars. Although the Drome Valley was never invaded and occupied during the First World War, 47 young men from Luc lost their lives – almost 40% of their generation – and the town has never regained its pre-war population. During the Second World War the valley was occupied first by the Italiens, then latterly by the Germans and eventually liberated by the Texas Regiment of the US Army driving in from Italy. For nearly six years the valley was the scene of heroic resistance to fascism. The Nazis exacted appalling punishments, culminating in the dreadful massacre on the Vercors Plateau in 1944. Luc lost two men. Over 70 years later, Luc now welcomes visitors from all over the world and amongst the locals there are Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German, Belgian, British and American residents.

See the continuation in english