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Bavay is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Nord department in northern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


It lies 15 m. ESE of Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

 by railway.


Under the name of Bagacum or Bavacum, the town was the capital of the Nervii
The Nervii were an ancient Germanic tribe, and one of the most powerful Belgic tribes; living in the northeastern hinterlands of Gaul, they were known to trek long distances to engage in various wars and functions...

 and, under the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, an important center of roads, the meeting-place of which was marked by a milestone
A milestone is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at intervals of one mile or occasionally, parts of a mile. They are typically located at the side of the road or in a median. They are alternatively known as mile markers, mileposts or mile posts...

, destroyed in the 17th century and replaced in the 19th century by a column. Bavay was destroyed during the barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 invasions and never recovered its old importance. It suffered much during the wars of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
One of the Roman highways connected Bavay to Tongeren via the relay of Liberchies
Liberchies is a village in the municipality of Pont-à-Celles, in the Belgian province of Hainaut.It is situated along the previous Roman highway Bavay-Tongeren where a vicus was discovered. Geminiacum is the name of the vicus that developed along the Roman highway next to the center of today's...

, and later on continued to Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...