We bargained with a waterman to carry us to Avignon on the river, and got the first night to Vienne, in Dauphiné. This is an Archbishopric, and the province gives title to the heir-apparent of France1. Here we supped and lay, having among other dainties, a dish of truffles, which is a certain earth-nut, found out by a hog trained to it, and for which those animals are sold at a great price. It is in truth an incomparable meat.
We were shown the ruins of an amphitheatre2, pretty entire3; and many handsome palaces, especially that of Pontius Pilate4, not far from the town, at the foot of a solitary mountain, near the river, having four pinnacles. Here it is reported he passed his exile, and precipitated himself into the lake not far from it. 5
The house is modern , and seems to be the seat of some gentleman; being in a very pleasant, though melancholy place. The cathedral of Vienne is St. Maurice; and there are many other pretty buildings, but nothing more so, than the mills where they hammer and polish the sword blades.
The eldest son of France is, during the life of his father, called the Dauphin, from the stipulation (as it seems) made with Umbert: who bequeathed that province [Dauphine] conditionally to Philip de Valois” [Evelyn’s State of France, Miscellaneous Writings, 1825, p. 54] –AD ↩
“On the slopes of Mont Pipet the remains of a Roman theatre may, it is said, be traced amount the vineyards, but they are very inconsiderable.” – from A handbook for travellers in France: being a guide to Norway, Brittany, the rivers Seine, Loire, Rhône, and Garonne, the French Alps, Dauphiné, Provence, and the Pyrenees by John Murray, 1858. -GS ↩
This is widely regarded to be a legend – for example “Tiberius built that high Tower where Pilate is said to have ended his Days. In the neighbouring Vineyards, there are still large Pyramids near the Place where ’tis said his Palace stood, and a Lake in which they say he drown’d himself. ‘Tis pretended, he was a Native of this Town; but some account all that is said of his Birth and Death here a meer Legend, that took its Rise from Humbert Pilati, Secretary to the last Dauphin, before it came to the Crown of France, whose Country House near St. Valliere is by the Vulgar called the House of Pilate” – Book: Atlas geographus -GS ↩