Thuburbo Majus is an archaeological site located in the north of Tunisia, about sixty kilometers southwest of Tunis, near the current city of El Fahs. One can admire its ruins from the banks of the Oued Miliane at Henchir Kasbat.

Identified in the mid-nineteenth century, excavations have remained incomplete there despite several campaigns which have yielded important material deposited in the Bardo National Museum, in particular mosaics and fragments of a colossal statue of Jupiter.

Due to these unfinished excavations, despite important remains, in particular those of the Capitol, a large part of the forty hectares of the site remains to be cleared.

It became a district capital (pagus as much as civitas) in 27 BC. AD, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It is supposed that the place was already inhabited before by the Berbers then, in a sure way, by the Phoenician-Punic because of the place of the cults of the two main divinities at the later time: Saturn takes again the cult of Ba’al Hammon and Juno Caelestis takes over the cult of Astarte1.

In 128, under the reign of Hadrian, the city obtains the right of city (municipe) and reaches maturity between 150 and 250. Its prosperity then rests primarily on the trade between the interior of the grounds and the coastal cities. According to estimates, the city had at that time between 7,000 and 12,000 inhabitants. Emperor Commodus granted the city, renamed Colonia Julia Aurelia Commoda, the status of a Roman colony3 in 188. Integration into the empire and prosperity enabled the city to adorn itself with public buildings2.

The city begins to decline towards the end of the third century. The emperor Constantine tries to revive the agglomeration which counts then still 1000 inhabitants. Renamed Res Publica Felix Thuburbo Majus, it received a new impetus under the reign of Constance II, who pursued a policy of reconstruction, in particular of the thermal baths5.

Additional Details

  • Historic Category:Romanian, Byzantine, Punic, Berber

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