ELNE, a town of south-western France in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, 10 m. S.S.E. of Perpignan by rail. Pop. (1906) 3026. The hill on which it stands, once washed by the sea, which is now over 3 m. distant, commands a fine view over the plain of Roussillon. From the 6th century till 1602 the town was the seat of a bishopric, which was transferred to Perpignan. The cathedral of St Eulalie, a Romanesque building completed about the beginning of the 12th century, has a beautiful cloister in the same style, with interesting sculptures and three early Christian sarcophagi. Remains of the ancient ramparts flanked by towers are still to be seen. Silk-worm cultivation is carried on. Elne, the ancient Illiberis, was named Helena by the emperor Constantine in memory of his mother. Hannibal encamped under its walls on his march to Rome in 218 B.C. The emperor Constans was assassinated there in A.D. 350. The town several times sustained siege and capture between its occupation by the Moors in the 8th century and its capitulation in 1641 to the troops of Louis XIII.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)