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MOISSAC, a town of south-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Tarn-et-Garonne, 17 m. W.N.W. of Montauban on the Southern railway between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Pop. (1906) town, 4523; commune, 8218. Moissac stands at the foot of vine-clad hills on the right bank of the Tarn; it is divided into two parts by the lateral canal of the Garonne, which crosses the Tarn by way of an aqueduct a short distance above the town. It contains little of note except the abbey-church of Ft Pierre, a building of the i Sth century with a porch of the 12th century which is decorated with elaborate Romanesque carving unsurpassed in France. The cloister of the early 12th century adjoining the north side of the church is also one of the finest of its kind. Romanesque in character, it has pointed arches resting alternately on single and clustered columns with sculptured capitals. Among other remains of the abbey is the abbot's palace, which contains two halls of the Romanesque period. St Martin, the oldest of the other churches of Moissac, dates from before the year 1000. The town has a sub-prefecture, a tribunal of first instance, a communal college for boys, a library and a museum. Trade is in oil, wine, eggs, wool, poultry and fruit (peaches, apricots, etc.).

The town owes its origin to an abbey probably founded in the 7th century by St Amand, the friend of Dagobert. After being devastated by the Saracens, the abbey was restored by Louis of Aquitaine, son of Charlemagne. Subsequently it was made dependent on Cluny, but in 1618 it was secularized by Pope Paul V., and replaced by a house of Augustinian monks, which was suppressed at th^ Revolution. The town, which was erected into a commune in the 13th century, was taken by Richard Cceur de Lion and by Simon de Montfort.

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

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