AUTUN    Autunois (pays).

Français : L'Arroux à Autun, près de la Porte ...

Français : L’Arroux à Autun, près de la Porte d’Arroux. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medieval County in east central France, in the south of Burgundy, named after a city, which was once the Roman Augustodunum.   It lies southwest of Dijon and northwest of Chalon-sur-Saône, and stands on the River Arroux, a tributary of the Loire.   It is now in the department of Saône-et-Loire.

The County had special importance because it lay on one of the routes from the south of the Frankish Kingdom to the heartlands of the Kingdom, and was often held by powerful men.   Its importance was underlined in the early 860s when a revolt in the south, headed by Hunfrid, the Marquis of Gothia, threatened for a while to spill northwards.   King Charles the Bald gave special powers to the Count of Autun in 863.

Richard the Justiciar, who held the county from c.880, helped to prevent his brother Boso, who had been crowned King in 879, from advancing into the heart of the West Frankish Kingdom, and Boso became sidetracked.   Richard built up a considerable principality, to meet the threat of Vikings from west and north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.   By the time of his death in 921 he was known as the Duke of the Burgundians.   Whatever else was in or out of Burgundy thereafter, the Autunois belonged to the Duchy.

The city of Autun is the seat of a Bishop, the most famous of whom was Talleyrand.   The diocese has usually belonged to the province of Lyon.        

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