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Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) - The Lost Roman City of Timgad

Ancient Roman City Abandoned for 1,000 years

Video from Historyfeels

"Timgad was part of the Roman Empire in North Africa for hundred of years before it fell to the surrounding Barbarian tribes and was abandoned. It lay buried underneath the sands of the Sahara before it was discovered 1,000 years later. Today we will dive into the history of the ancient Roman city." from video introduction

SPQR - Abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romanus (Classical Latin: [s̠ɛˈnäːt̪ʊs̠ pɔpʊˈɫ̪ʊs̠kʷɛ roːˈmäːnʊs̠] English translation "The Roman Senate and People".

Why am I interested in Rome?

The Roman Empire’s relationship with Christianity began at Christianity’s inception. The Bible tells us Jesus Christ was born during a Roman census and later put to death by Pontius Pilate. Then for the next three centuries, Christians were sporadically persecuted and often driven underground, only to reappear later.

Rome's impact on western culture is woven within our western culture and thus America. Much of our legal understanding, building methods and literature, to name a few examples, are from Rome.

The circumstances necessary for our Lord's Incarnation came into being during this time in human history.

The Lost Roman City of Timgad

Timgad was a Roman city in the Aurès Mountains of Algeria was a veteran colony of the Third Legion stationed at Lambaesis. The full name of the city was Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi

Timgad's foundations were laid in 100 AD by the Roman Emperor Trajan. Within two centuries time it had become a lavish city that had outgrown its military planning to include at least 14 bath buildings, a library, and a Donatist Baslilica.

It was intended to be a bastion against The Berbers in the nearby Aures Mountains.

The original plan was to provide space for 15,000 residents, but the city outgrew that number and spilled beyond the orthogonal grid. The city grew for the next 300 years as new buildings were added to the original plan leading to a quadrupling of it's original size.

from about the 3rd century, it became a center of Christian activity, and a Donatist center in the 4th century. Timgad eventually fell into decline after the Vandal invasion in the 5th century and the subsequent sacking by Berbers.

The city was revived in the 6th century under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. A fortress was built outside the original town and many blocks from earlier Roman buildings were reused. But the city fell once again to an Arab invasion in the 7th century. The site was finally abandoned in the 8th century. The city was forgotten until it was excavated from under the sand in 1881.

The Well Preserved Ruins of Timgad

This article gives an excellent description of and photos of the many archeological sites of Timgad

Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveler

Trajans arch
Trajan's Arch

Trajan's Arch or Arch of the Gods in a 1765 ink drawing by James Bruce and Luigi Balugani

Towards the north-west of the town, nearly in the axis of the colonnade of the forum from which at all events it formed a striking view, exists the triumphal arch forming the subject of one of Bruce's illustrations, and which is one of the most important monuments of the kind in Algeria. It consists of three openings, the central one thirteen feet eight inches wide and the side ones seven feet two inches; above the latter are square niches for statues. The monument is of the Corinthian order; each front is decorated by four fluted columns, occupying the angles and the spaces between the arches. To each column corresponds a pilaster, both raised on a common pedestal. The entablature connects all the columns and pilasters together, and was itself surmounted by an attic, with an entablature, a portion of the architrave of which now alone remains. (..) The attic, intended no doubt to receive the dedicatory inscription and perhaps also to support sculpture, appears to have extended over the whole top of the building. None of the original inscription remains in place, but fragments have been found below and near the forum. (..) The mass of the monument is of sandstone, but the columns, capitals and bases of the pilasters, brackets and entablature are entirely of white marble, as was also the crowning of the attic; the sides of the attics were certainly covered by slabs, most probably of the same material. The debris from the entablature and the upper part of the building has fallen round the base of the monument, burying it as far as the imposts of the lower arches. M. Masqueray has found amongst the ruins of the Byzantine Citadel an inscription which proves that this building was called the Arch of the Gods, "ARCVM PANTHEVM", and that it was customary to ornament it with statues, some of which may probably still exist amongst the stones and soil with which the base is encumbered. Travels in the footsteps of Bruce in Algeria and Tunis, illustrated by facsimiles of his original drawings; by R. L. Playfair - 1877.." from the article: Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveler

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