Beziers (anc. Baeterra or Bceterrce), a town of Languedoc, France, in the department of Herault, at the junction of the Orb with the Languedoc canal or canal du Midi, 38 m. S. W. of Montpellier; pop. in 1866, 27,722. Situated upon a commanding eminence, its fine appearance led to the proverb, Si Deus in terris. Tel-let hahitare Baiterrk; but the interior of the town is far from attractive. The old walls flanked with towers still remain, but the citadel has been razed and converted into pleasure grounds, in which there is a monument of Riquet, the native engineer of the Languedoc canal. The cathedral of St. Nazaire is a Gothic building surmounted with towers like a Gothic castle. In the church of the Madeleine 7,000 persons were burnt during the Albigensian war. The convents and the bishopric were abolished in 1789, and the episcopal palace has been since used for courts of law and public offices. The town possesses a communal college, a public library, and an economical and archaeological society. Silk stockings, woollen and cotton goods, parchment, verdigris, starch, gloves, glass, and famous sweetmeats are manufactured; but the principal industry is that of distilling, and the brandy made here is almost as good as cognac.
Owing to the situation near the sea, the commerce is very active in wine (which is produced in the neighborhood in excellent (jnalities), grain, homy, oil, almonds, and other articles. - An amphitheatre and other remains of the Roman era -till exist fhe town dates from 120
Cathedral of St. Nazaire, Beziers.
B. C., but it was named Julia Baeterra in honor of Julius Caeesar, who established a colony here. Flourishing in the 4th century, the Visigoths destroyed the town in 460, and Charles Martel in 788, in wresting it from the Moors. In 1209 the fearful massacre of the Albigenses depopulated the place, the loss of life reaching over 20,000, and according to some authorities over 50,000, besides the victims in the Madeleine. In 1229 Beziers was united with the French crown, after having been ruled in the loth century by the local counts of Septimania, and subsequently by viscounts of Beziers, Carcassonne, and Albi, subject to the counts of Barcelona. Several synods were held here in the 13th and subsequent centuries. Beziers Buffered much during the religious wars of the I6tb century.