town, Calvados departement, Basse-Normandie region, northwestern France, on the Aure River, northwest of Caen. As Bajocasses, it was a capital of the Gauls, then, as Augustodurum and, later, Civitas Baiocassium, it was an important Roman city that became a bishopric in the 4th century. Captured in 880 by Rollo the Viking, it became a Norman stronghold. While Rouen was completely Gallicized, Bayeux remained Norse-speaking. During the quarrels between the sons of William I the Conqueror, Henry I of England pillaged the town in 1106. Bayeux was besieged and taken on several occasions during the Hundred Years' War and the 16th-century Wars of Religion. Occupied by the Germans in June 1940, it was the first town liberated by the Allies (June 7, 1944) and the first to receive General Charles de Gaulle (June 14) on his promised return to France.
Learn more about Bayeux with a free trial on Britannica.com.