Leptis Magna is the oldest city in Libya, which flourished during the Roman Empire. The ruins of the city are located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, 130 kilometers east of Tripoli in the city of Al-Khums. Because of its layout, this place was named "Rome in Africa".
Today we will learn about one more monument of past civilizations.
Presumably the city was founded around 1100 BC. e. as a Phoenician colony and served as the region's main port. The importance of the city increased dramatically in the 4th century BC. e., with the growth of the power of Carthage. The city, although it recognized the protectorate of Carthage, remained independent and was occupied by the Romans only after the victory in the Third Punic War in 146 BC. e.
The city became part of the province of Africa in 46 BC. e., after the Battle of Thapsus, when Julius Caesar put to flight the army of Pompeii. During the reign of Augustus, the city began to acquire its appearance, which will retain in subsequent times. It was built along two main axes from the small river Wadi Lebda. Within one century, thanks to the generosity of the local nobility, an old forum, a basilica, the Liber Pater temple, the temples of Rome and Augustus and Hercules, as well as a large market, near which the theater was located, appeared in the city. In 126, under Trajan, Leptis became a colony and after 17 years, thanks to Adrian, it became attractive thanks to a complex of thermal baths in the southeastern part of the city.
The city reached its peak after 193, when the twentieth Roman emperor Septimius Sever, born in Leptis, took over the empire. He took care of his hometown, which became one of the greatest cities in Roman Africa. An impressive 18 m wide avenue with columns was laid through the city, next to which new buildings appeared. To the west of this street a new forum and the basilicas of the North have grown. The city has become one of the richest in the Mediterranean thanks to the export of ivory, exotic animals and local products.
For a whole century, thanks to the generosity of the local intelligentsia, an ancient forum, a basilica, the Liber Pater temple, the temples of Rome, Augustus and Hercules, and also a huge market, not far from which the theater is located, were founded in the city. Then, under Trajan, Leptis was proclaimed a colony and after 17 years became attractive thanks to a group of thermal baths in the southeast of the city.
The city has become one of the richest in the Mediterranean thanks to the export of ivory, local products and outlandish animals.
In the 3rd century, due to the crisis in the Empire, the importance of Leptis Magna decreased, and by the 4th century parts of the city were abandoned. Only during the time of Emperor Theodosius I, the city partially restored its former significance.
In 439, Leptis Magna and other cities of Tripolitania fell under the pressure of the Vandals - then the Vandal king Geyserich captured Carthage and founded his capital here. Then the king destroyed the city walls of Leptis, fearing a revolt of the townspeople against the vandals. In 523, the city was again devastated, this time as a result of the invasion of Berbers.
Belisarius occupied Leptis Magna again in 534, destroying the Vandal kingdom. Leptis became the provincial capital of Byzantium, but never recovered from the destruction of the Berber attacks. After the Arab conquest in the 650s, the city was practically abandoned, only the Byzantine garrison remained there. Leptis now has unique ruins from the Roman period.
In June 2005, archaeologists at the University of Hamburg found five colored mosaics from the 1st to 2nd centuries, about 10 meters in size. The mosaics depict scenes of a warrior with a deer, four young men fighting a wild bull, and scenes from the life of gladiators. The Holiday Gladiator Mosaic has been noted by scientists as one of the finest examples of mosaic art ever found, a masterpiece comparable in quality to the mosaics in Pompeii.Mosaics adorned the pool walls in the baths in a Roman villa. Mosaics of good quality and high artistic value. They are currently on display at the Leptis Magna Museum.
Walking along the streets on which pavements, foundations, columns, fragments of individual buildings, ruins of the Forum, baths with beautiful mosaics of the beginning of our era have survived, one can personally imagine what a stormy life was in full swing in this city and how abruptly it ended: in the IV century Leptis -Magna was first plundered by barbarians, after which the city simply survived for a while, and then was completely abandoned.
The sands and windy climate have preserved for us the remnants of the former greatness of Leptis Magna, and today archaeologists and historians are seriously working on its riddles.