Avignon has been inhabited since neolithic times dating from around 3000 B.C. and has for centuries found itself as a crossroads for commerce, culture, and the quest for power and control. The city has a long and rich history; it had been a Celto-Ligurian capital, a Phoenician colony with its own money with its name on it, AOYE; and then it became a wealthy Romanesque city, Avenio. It was known as one of 80 cities of Gaul under the Emperor Augustus, a Latin colony under Claude, before being promoted to the grade of Roman city during the IInd century under Hadrien.
In 1309, Pope Clement V (originally from Bordeaux) came to Avignon and established the seat of the Papal Government because of insecurity in Rome. This event brought with it a newfound prestige to the city which lasted for almost a century with 9 popes calling Avignon home. Cultural, spiritual, economic and political capital of Christianity, Avignon became one of the most populated and wealthy cities in medieval Europe.