Narbonne: after Roman times, Jean Vernat and Gilbert Bénédicto immerse us in the local Middle Ages

Narbonne: after Roman times, Jean Vernat and Gilbert Bénédicto immerse us in the local Middle Ages

After “Narbo Martius, the Vanished City”, the two authors move forward in time and offer us “Medieval Narbonne, Broken Fate”, a comic that covers another ten centuries of eventful local history.

Jean Vernat, screenwriter, and Gilbert Bénédicto, designer confirm this: “fThis album took us two and a half years of work. There was less precise documentation for the former. The starting point was to some extent connected with the construction of the Narbo Via museum and more broadly with the fact that the monuments of that time were not visible, and we wanted to revive the images. When the work was finished, we could not leave the city on such a good path and decided to make this album that takes the previous and history of the city from the end of the 5th century..”

The narrative process is the same: today a storyteller guides visitors and evokes episodes of history that take us back more than ten centuries. “This figure serves as a common thread and enables the transition, when necessary, from one box to another, 50 years of history, and even centuries..” explains Jean Vernat, whom the drawn narrator of the book resembles line by line. “I’m goodme,” he admits.

Gilbert Bénédicto dressed several characters in the book as local faces, known or unknown. A certain Flemish merchant who wants to settle in our region has the face of Pierre Richard. “That’s him. We met him at the very beginning of the project, and we asked for authorization, which he gladly gave us.“, says the designer.

Precise and demanding documentation

The glossary and bibliography at the end of the book show that the drawings are based on very precise documentation. “In that period, we could not leave much room for imagination. The documents and traces we have had to be very precise. As our goal is to make history as close as possible to reality as known by experts“specifies the designer. The historian adds”we checked and checked again. The only freedom we have allowed ourselves is certain dialogues that give life to the story.

A third actor made this realization possible: Nicolas Cayrol, owner of the Printing House in Bourg that published the comic. “It is a Narbo-Narbonne product, made in a short circuit, which will be available for purchase in city bookstores (BD and Co, Libellis, Culture), City shop, museum bookstores and the Tourist Board.” specify the authors. Special attention was paid to the design of the book, which was printed in notebooks, sewn and bound, using a more artisanal than industrial process. The two authors will soon have several signings, the first of which should take place at BD and Co., rue Droite, 3 December all day.

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