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Meaux (Municipality, Seine-et-Marne, France)

Last modified: 2016-04-02 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Meaux]

Flag of Meaux - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 18 April 2002

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Presentation of Meaux

The municipality of Meaux (50,755 inhabitants in 2010; 1,518 ha) is located around a meander of river Marne, 45 km north-east of Paris.
Meaux was initially a village settled by a Gaul tribe called Meldes. These Meldes gave their name to the town of Meaux, its inhabitants, called Meldois, and the neighbouring region, deslimited by rivers Marne and Ourcq, called Multien. After the Roman conquest, the town increased in size and was mentioned by Julius Caesar as Iatinum, located on the crossing of two important Roman ways.
During the dark ages following the fall of the Roman Empire, Meaux was sacked several times, for example during the Barbarian invasions in the 4th century and another two times by the Normans in the 9th century.

In 943, feudality was established in the north of France, and the County of Meaux was founded, which was rapidly incorporated into the powerful County of Champagne. At that time, such a county was more powerful than the small kingdom of France, whose territory was restricted to the traditional province of Île-de-France. In 1179, Count Henri le Libéral granted the citizens of Meaux a municipal charter. In 1229, the Treaty of Meaux, ending the Albigensian Crusade, was signed by King of France Philip II Augustus and ther Count of Champagne, on behalf of the Count of Toulouse.
In 1284, Joan of Navarre, the Count of Champagne's last heiress, married king of France Philip the Handsome (1285-1314) and Champagne was definitively incorporated to the Kingdom of France. In 1420, during the Hundred Years' War, Meaux was seized by King of England Henry V (1413-1422). In 1439, Constable of Richemont reincorporated the town to France.

In the 19th century, the economical development of Meaux was triggered by the digging of the Ourcq Canal (1803-1825), linking in 108 kms the rivers Seine and Ourcq, the introduction of sugarbeet cultivation in the area in 1806 as a response to the Continental System, and the inauguration of the railway line Paris-Meaux in 1849.
In 1914, the Battle of the Marne took place between 6 and 13 September around Meaux. The Allied Armies, commanded by Joffre, stopped the German Army commanded by Moltk,e and forced him to withdraw.

As early as the 4th century, Meaux was an important (Roman Catholic) episcopal town. Some of its bishops played a great role in the religious history of France.
In 660, during a short period of peace, Bishop St. Faron founded the monastery of Sainte-Croix.
In 1351, the poet and musician Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361), one of the founders of the polyphonical school called Ars Nova, was appointed Bishop of Meaux.
In 1516, Bishop Guillaume Briçonnet (1472-1534), influenced by Erasmus, founded the Cénacle de Meaux, a group of religious humanists, which included the reformist theologians Guillaume Farel (1489-1565) and Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples (1450-1536). Due to the increase in religious intolerance in France, the Cénacle was dissolved in 1525. The area of Meaux was then scouted by a religious civil war which ended only on 1 January 1594, when King of France Henri IV entered ceremoniously the town and established the religious peace.
The most famous of the bishops of Meaux was Jacques Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704). Bossuet had been the Dauphin's private tutor before being appointed Bishop of Meaux in 1681. Bossuet, as the unofficial leader of the French Roman Catholic Church, defended the religious politics of Louis XIV against the Protestants and condemned Fénelon's quietism. His sermons (On Death, On the Eminent Dignity of the Poor) and funeral orations are among the most beautiful texts of the Classical period of French litterature. Bossuet's ability to distance on religious questions and his charitable behaviour in Meaux yielded him the nickname of the Aigle de Meaux (Eagle of Meaux).

The region of Meaux is also known for two excellent products:
- The Brie of Meaux is a softcheese which was elected "Prince of the Cheese" during the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), and should not be mistaken for the Brie de Melun, the Brie de Nemours and the Brie de Nangis, much less common.
- The mustard of Meaux is still manufactured à l'ancienne.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2002

Flag of Meaux

The flag of Meaux is vertically divided red-green with the municipal coat of arms, also divided red-green, in the middle.

The arms of Meaux are "Per pale gules and vert overall the uncial letter "M" or a chief azure semy de lis or".
According to Brian Timms, these arms were ascribed by the Armorial Général, but at that period, it was known that the town had possessed the arms which it uses today de temps immemorial (from time immemorial). The letter "M" represents of course Meaux.
The arms of Meaux were confirmed in 1821 by Lettrs Patented signed by King Louis XVIII.

Ivan Sache, 23 July 2003

Ceremonial flag of Meaux

[Ceremonial flag]

Ceremonial flag of Meaux - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 July 2003

On 28 February 2003, Ange Anziani, Mayor of Meaux, and Jean-Francois Copé, State Secretary in charge of the relations with the Parliament and Spokesperson of the Government, former Mayor of Meaux, officially gave the municipal flag to the Scouts of Meaux (Scouts de France).
The flag is white with the municipal arms in the middle and "Ville de Meaux" written in black under the coat of arms.

Ivan Sache, 23 July 2003