on images or on the links below the images to enlarge them.
Rome destroyed Carthage and sold its remaining population into
slavery, but the other Punic cities along with Punic culture and
language survived. In a short time, prosperous Punic inhabitants
of North Africa were integrated into the Roman bureaucracy and Roman
officialdom. This plaque memorializes the donation of the Theater
of Lepcis Magna by a Punic member of the Roman power structure.
Rome's destruction of Carthage was complete, and it literally
cleared the ground for the eventual construction of a new city on the
site of ancient Carthage. The new city, of course, was built on
the standard Roman grid pattern.
The Roman Carthage grid was centered on the Byrsa Hill and was
oriented to the shoreline. The pattern undoubtedly continues
beyond what is shown in the image. The letters on the grid
represent the countries that did the large-scale excavations.
The Punic plan of Carthage radiated from the Byrsa temples.
The Roman plan on the same site was much more regular and much more
The major sites are spread among the suburban sprawl of Tunis City.
The small Carthage archeological park is representational rather
than exhaustive. The Antonine Baths, the remains of which are in
the park, were the largest structure ever built in Carthage. (More on
the Baths below.)
Provincial boundaries set in the first century AD were fairly
stable. A major reorganization took place during the reign of
Diocletian at the end of the third century.
A map of Roman cities and forts and the main archeological surveys
that mapped them.
Africa Proconsularis was a combination of "Africa Vetus" (now
northern Tunisia) and "Africa Nova" )southern Tunisia and Western
Libya), the first two Republican Roman provinces in North Africa.
Most of the coastal and many of the inland Punic cities and towns
were renamed (and renamed again after the Arab conquest). By and
large, the western world today uses the Roman names and the old Punic
names are mostly ignored. The Roman name for Carthage was
Carthago -- fairly distant from the Punic name, which, as we know, was
Jugurtha was a grandson of Masinissa, but not in the regular line of
succession. He fought his cousins, who were the legitimate
successors to the Numidian leadership, and used massive bribes of Roman
officials in North Africa and in the Roman Senate to gain Roman support
for his pretensions. Ultimately, even Rome was disgusted by his
behavior, and legions were dispatched to bring him to account. It
was a drawn out operation, due mainly to Jugurtha's superior knowledge
of the terrain and to his wide popular support in what is now
"Jugurtha's Table", his rugged stronghold, was the main reason that the
"Jugurthine War" lasted more than six years.
After installing Cleopatra as Queen of Egypt, Julius Caesar turned his
attention to North Africa. Cato the Younger, the grandson of Cato
the Elder (the 3rd Punic War rabble -rouser) had sided with Pompey
during the the Roman Civil War and was holed up in Utica.
When Caesar defeated the Pompeian forces at Thapsus (February 6,
46 BC) Cato decided that he'd rather be dead than live in Caesar's
monarchy. He turned down Caesar's probable pardon and gutted
himself. According to Plutarchian legend, a servant found him and
a surgeon sewed him up, but, when he was left alone, he pulled out the
stitches and and removed his own intestines.
Juba II was brought back to Rome by Augustus as a youth after Augustus
defeated Juba I and made Mauritania a Roman dependency. Juba II
was raised in the imperial court, and received a Greco-Roman
education. Augustus also arranged a marriage for him with the
Cleopatra Selene, the alluring daughter of Antony and Cleopatra.
Juba II was thoroughly committed to Rome by the time Augustus made him
in 25 BC. He ruled for 47 years and, with Cleopatra Selene, made
his capital, Cirta, into a rich and sophisticated Roman city.
After the Dido-Aeneas legend was written up by Vergil, it became a
popular decorative motif in Roman North Africa.
Apuleus of Medaurus was a Romanized 2nd century Numidian who is
famous for his Metamorphoses
usually known as The Golden Asse
(golden, in this context, meaning fortunate). The book is the
only Roman novel that is still available, and its raucous bawdiness
ensures that it still widely read. An analysis of the book is
available on the Internet at http://www.jnanam.net/golden-ass/
and the full text in Adlington's 1566 English translation is at http://books.eserver.org/fiction/apuleius/
Adlington's translation is assumed to have been the inspiration for
Fronto was born to a Roman family in Cirta, Numidia, but he always
proudly maintained that he was a Numidian. He became a great
scholar, Latin grammarian, and, especially, a broadener of Latin
vocabulary. He is considered second only to Cicero as an orator
and Latinist -- in his own time he was considered superior to Cicero,
but Cicero's reputation was boosted by Roman renaissance
Humanists. Fronto went to Rome during the reign of Hadrian (117 -
AD) and quickly became a fixture at the Imperial court. He was
the tutor and philosophical (Stoic) mentor of Marcus Aurelius.
Septimius Severus, from Lepcis Magna, picked up the Imperial
pieces following the chaos engendered by the assassination of
Commodus and the end of the Antonine dynasty. The Severan dynasty
(193 - 235 AD), by and large, did very well by Rome (even Caracalla,
who killed his own brother in order to ensure his sole succession to
Septimius Severus.) The Severans were most beneficial to the own
home town and to North Africa in general. During this period,
Lepcis Magna was aggrandized and became one of the richest cities in
the Empire (as its ruins still attest. After the Severans, Roman
North Africa went
into permanent decline and Christian
North Africa came into its own. The 50 year post-Severan
period throughout the Empire is known as the "Military Anarchy"
during which 34 military Emperors and pretenders jostled for power.
Physical Remains of Roman North Africa
Antonine Baths, Carthage
Roman Theatres, Carthage and elsewhere
Villas at Carthage
Carthage and other Amphitheatres
Mosaics in the Bardo Museum
Carthaginian/North African oil lamp industry