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It was founded around 50 AD as a Roman colony, and named for Emperor Augustus.
Today, the town is known for its history, cathedral, Roman ruins - most notably its two well preserved gates and its small Roman theater, its prestigious boarding school - once attended by Napoleon Bonaparte and his siblings, sculptures, and beautiful downtown area.
People Born in Autun
Autun in People's Lives
Marc Antony: I fought in the Battle of Bibracte here in 58 BC, under Julius Caesar. We fought against the Celtic armies, and the battle dragged on all day. Victory seemed doubtful, but gradually, we came out stronger, and the Celtic tribe surrendered. Though Caesar accepted the surrender, 6,000 of the enemy men fled regardless. They were hunted down and executed. The survivors were ordered to rebuild this town, now a Roman settlement.
Napoleon Bonaparte: I came here in January of 1779, at the age of 10, to attend a prestigious religious boarding school. My parents had used their noble title and connections to secure me a spot here, as Corsicans - only recently accepted into France - were not usually admitted. I attended the school with my brothers Joseph and Lucien. I was at this school for 5 months, during which time I learned French. In May of 1779, I transferred to a military academy in Brienne-le-Chateau.