Lyon was founded on the Fourvière hill as a Roman colony in 43 BC by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lug[o]dunon, from the Celtic god Lugus ('Light', cognate with Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish Lú) and dúnon (hill-fort). Lug[us] was equated by the Romans to Mercury.
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa recognized that Lugdunum's position on the natural highway from northern to south-eastern France made it a natural communications hub, and he made Lyon the starting point of the principal Roman roads throughout Gaul. It then became the capital of Gaul, partly thanks to its convenient location at the convergence of two navigable rivers, and quickly became the main city of Gaul. Two emperors were born in this city: Claudius and Caracalla. Today, the archbishop of Lyon is still referred to as "Primat des Gaules" and the city often referred to as the "capitale des Gaules".
The Christians in Lyon were martyred for their religion under the reigns of the various Roman emperors, most notably Marcus Aurelius and Septimus Severus. Local saints from this period include saints such as Blandina (Blandine), Pothinus (Pothin), and Epipodius (Épipode), among others.
The great Christian bishop of Lyon in the 2nd century was the Easterner Irenaeus.
Burgundian refugees from the destruction of Worms by the Huns in 437 were resettled by the military commander of the west, Aëtius, at Lugdunum, which was formally the capital of the new Burgundian kingdom by 461.
In 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, Lyon, with the country beyond the Saône, went to Lothair I, and later became a part of the Kingdom of Arles. Lyon only came under French control in the 14th century.
Fernand Braudel remarked, Historians of Lyon are not sufficiently aware of the bi-polarity between Paris and Lyon, which is a constant structure in French development from the late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution (Braudel 1984 p