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Limousin, France

LIMOUSIN, FRANCE (Lat. Pagus Lemomcinus, ager Lemovicensis, regio Lemomcum, Lemozinum, Limosinium, etc.), a former province of France. In the time of Julius Caesar the pagus Lemomcinus covered the county now comprised in the departments of HauteVienne, Correze and Creuse, with the arrondissements of Confolens in Charente and Nontron in Dordogne. These limits it retained until the 10th century, and they survived in those of the diocese of Limoges (except a small part cut off in 1317 to form that of Tulle) until 1790. The break-up into great fiefs in the 10th century, however, tended rapidly to disintegrate the province, until at the close of the 12th century Limousin embraced only the viscounties of Limoges, Turenne and Comborn, with a few ecclesiastical lordships, corresponding roughly to the present arrondissements of Limoges and Saint Yrien in Haute- Vienne and part of the arrondissements of Brive, Tulle and Ussel in Correze. In the 17th century Limousin, thus constituted, had become no more than a small gouiiernement.

Limousin takes its name from the Lemovices, a Gallic tribe whose county was included by Augustus in the province of Aquitanic Magna. Politically its history has little of separate interest; it shared in general the vicissitudes of Aquitaine, whose dukes from 918 onwards were its over-lords at least till 1264, after which it was sometimes under them, sometimes under the counts of Poitiers, until the French kings succeeded in asserting their direct over-lordship. It was, however, until the 14th century, the centre of a civilization of which the enamelling industry (see ENAMEL) was only one expression. The Limousin dialect, now a mere patois, was regarded by the troubadours as the purest form of Provencal.

See A. Leroeux, Geographie et histoire du Limousin (Limoges, 1892). Detailed bibliography in Chevalier, Repertoire des sources. Topo-bibliogr. (Montbe'liard, 1902), t. ii. s.v.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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