william feet prince
ORANGE, a city of France, the chief town of an arrondissement in the department of Vaucluse, is situated 18 miles north of Avignon on the railway from Lyons to Marseilles at some distance from the left bank of the Rhone, in the midst of meadows, orchards, and mulberry plantations, watered by a stream called the Meyne, and overlooked by the majestic summit of Mount Ventose, which lies 22 miles to the east. The district is highly fertile, and the city deals largely in silks, woollens, and fruits, and also till quite recently in wines and madder. The population of the city numbers 6860. Orange is interesting mainly from its Roman remains. The triumphal arch is not only far finer than any other in France, but ranks third in size and importance among those still extant in Europe. Measuring 72 feet in height, 69 feet in width, and 26 feet in depth, it is composed of three arches supported by four Corinthian columns. On three sides it is well preserved, and displays remarkable variety and elegance in its sculptured decorations. To judge from a partly decipherable inscription, the arch seems to have been erected in the reign of Tiberius. It suffered from being used as a fortification in the Middle Ages. Another most imposing structure is the theatre, built against the hill commanding the town. The facade, which is 118 feet high, 340 feet long, and 13 feet thick, is pierced by three square gates surmounted by a range of blind arches and a double row of far-projecting corbels. Of the seats occupied by the spectators - to the number, it might be, of 7000 - only the lower ranges remain. By many this theatre is regarded as the most beautiful, or at least the most imposing, of the Roman monuments of France. The princes of Orange made it an outwork of the castle which they erected on the hill, and which was demolished by De Grignan after he had taken the town for Louis XIV. Up to the beginning of the present century it was filled with hovels and stables ; these are now quite swept away, and the preservation of the building assured. In the neighbourhood of the theatre traces have been found of a hippodrome capable of containing 20,000 persons ; and statues, bas-reliefs, and ruins of an aqueduct also serve to show the importance of the Roman town. Several of the churches at Orange are very old. Notre Dame, the old cathedral, originally erected by the prefect of Gaul, was ruined by the Barbarians, rebuilt in the 11th century, and damaged by the Protestants. A statue of Rambaud II. count of Orange and that of Gasparin the celebrated agriculturist may also be mentioned.
Orange (Arausio), capital of the Cavari, became after Cresar an important Roman colony. Its ramparts and fine buildings were partly destroyed by the Alemanni and Visigoths, and partly ruined by the erections of the Middle Ages. Orange was included in the kingdom of Austrasia, fell into the hands of the Saracens, and was recovered by Charlemagne. It became an independent count-ship in the 11th century ; and Count Bertrand de Baux (d. 1181) received from Frederick I. the title of prince of Orange. On the death of Philibert of Chalons in 1530 the inheritance fell to his sister's son, Rene (Renatus) of Nassau Dillenburg, stadholder of the Netherlands, who, dying childless, chose (1544) as his successor his cousin William, afterwards William I. Though Francis I., king of France, whose predecessors had long claimed to be sum-rains of the principality, caused it to be declared part of the domain of Provence, Henry II. recognized William's rights in the treaty of Cateau Cambresis, and "prince of Orange" remained the title of the stadholders from Maurice to William III. In 1672 Louis XIV. seized the principality and handed it over to the count of Auvergne in compensation for his loss of the rnarquisate of Bergen-op-Zoom confiscated by William ; but the claims of the house of Nassau were acknowledged by the peace of Ryswick. On William's death there were two claimants, John William Friso of Nassau-Dietz, designated heir by William's will, and Frederick I. king of Prussia, who held. that be was nearer of kin and had been appointed by the will of Frederick Henry. Thereupon Louis XIV. declared the principality forfeited to the French crown and bestowed it on the prince of Conti, who also had pretensions. The parlament of Paris decided that this prince should have the dominium utile ; and its finding was confirmed by the treaty of Utrecht, which, however, left the title and coat of arms to the king of Prussia, who is still styled prince of Orange (Prinz von Oranien). John William Friso, however, also took the title, and his descendants, the stadholders and kings of the Netherlands, have all been designated princes of Orange-Nassau.