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  • Prof: Good morning.

  • The title of today's lecture is "Hometown Boy,

  • Honoring an Emperor's Roots in Roman North Africa."

  • And who was that hometown boy?

  • We met him before; we met him in the last lecture.

  • His name was Lucius Septimius Severus, and he was emperor of

  • Rome between 193 and 211 A.D.

  • And we saw him in this extraordinary round painting,

  • on wood, that comes from Egypt and is now in the museum in

  • Berlin, that depicts Lucius Septimius

  • Severus with his family.

  • You see Septimius Severus on the right-hand side of the

  • screen.

  • You see his wife, Julia Domna,

  • on the left, with her famous wig and pearls,

  • and then, down below, their two sons,

  • Caracalla, over here on the right,

  • and Geta, whose face has been erased because of the

  • damnatio memoriae that was voted him by the Senate at

  • his death.

  • We learned that Julia Domna came from Syria.

  • She was the daughter of a priest by the name of Bassianus,

  • and Septimius Severus came from North Africa.

  • He was the third Roman emperor to be from somewhere other than

  • Italy.

  • You'll recall that Trajan and Hadrian came from Spain,

  • Septimius Severus from North Africa.

  • And after he ascended to the throne,

  • and after he began his reign, and with all the interesting

  • things that he initiated as emperor,

  • he was honored by his hometown, as hometown boys often are,

  • and the city of Leptis Magna was renovated quite

  • significantly during his reign.

  • And it's to that renovation, and to the history of Leptis

  • Magna in general, and its architecture,

  • that I want to turn today.

  • Before I do that, however, it's important for us

  • to get a sense of this part of the world;

  • this part of the world before the Romans took over.

  • And any of you who are working on term papers that are on works

  • of architecture in the provinces,

  • or are designing a Roman city in anywhere other than Italy,

  • have definitely found out that in order to analyze those,

  • in order to think about them and figure out what's happening,

  • you have to not only look at what's going on in the center of

  • the Empire-- that is, in Rome--and what may

  • have been sent from the center out to the periphery,

  • but you also have to understand what was going on in the local

  • area in which that building was built;

  • the local culture, the civilizations that preceded

  • the Roman civilization.

  • And what's fascinating about provincial Roman architecture is

  • the way in which those two things come together,

  • that is, what comes from Rome to the frontiers,

  • but also the indigenous culture that mixes with what comes from

  • Rome, to make something unique,

  • in the case of each of these provinces.

  • So it's absolutely critical for us to understand the area that

  • we're looking at, and in this case Roman North

  • Africa.

  • Before the Romans got to the northern part of Africa,

  • it was an area that was overseen primarily by Carthage;

  • there was a very significant Carthaginian period in this part

  • of the world.

  • The language was neo-Punic and Berber, before it was Latin,

  • and neo-Punic stays on, even when Latin becomes

  • important here.

  • The Greeks did have some impact, but they didn't have as

  • strong a foothold in this particular part of the world as

  • they did elsewhere.

  • And then eventually the area is colonized by Rome and begins to

  • be--and Roman colonies begin to be built here,

  • all over the northern part of Africa.

  • I show you here a map of the Western Empire,

  • where we see not only places that we've already studied--

  • Rome and Ostia and Pompeii--but also down here the continent of

  • Africa; you see it here.

  • And the cities that we're going to be talking about--

  • there were lots of Roman cities in this part of the world,

  • but the two that we're going to be focusing on today are the

  • city of Timgad, which you see over here,

  • and then the city of Leptis Magna.

  • And please note while the map is on the screen that Leptis

  • Magna is right on the coast; in fact it was an extremely

  • important sea port, which is one of the reasons

  • that it grew to the size and significance that it did have in

  • ancient times.

  • Timgad, a little bit further into the mainland of North

  • Africa.

  • And you can also see, of course, the relationship--

  • when you think of Leptis Magna as a port,

  • you can see the relationship, the easy relationship in a

  • sense, that it had to other major

  • ports in Roman times, specifically Ostia,

  • and how easy it clearly was to send things from one place to

  • another; which again led to the

  • efflorescence of Leptis Magna.

  • Now the reason I've chosen these particular cities--

  • we're going to be talking primarily about Leptis today--

  • but the reason that I've also chosen to look at Timgad is

  • because they make a very interesting contrast to one

  • another.

  • Both of them have extraordinarily well-preserved

  • Roman remains.

  • But they're interesting to play off against one another because

  • the city of Leptis Magna-- and this is extremely important

  • in analyzing it-- the city of Leptis Magna had a

  • longer Roman history.

  • It was already--it too had a Carthaginian period,

  • but most important, in this regard,

  • was the fact that the Romans began to build there already in

  • the first century B.C., as we shall see.

  • It was built up under Augustus, then under Hadrian;

  • renovated under Septimius Severus.

  • So there're not only the local structures and buildings and

  • customs and so on to contend with,

  • but also earlier Roman architecture,

  • by the time we get to the time of Septimius Severus.

  • In the case of Timgad, the city was built entirely

  • from scratch.

  • There was nothing on the site when Trajan founded the city as

  • a Roman colony in 100 A.D., and it was at that time that

  • the Romans laid out their ideal plan.

  • And what we're looking at here is a view from the air of

  • Timgad, as it would have looked after

  • it was laid out by Trajan in 100,

  • as it continues to look today.

  • We are looking down from the air, and we see here one of the

  • best examples that I have been able to show you this semester

  • of the way in which the Romans, when they are left to their own

  • devices, when there are no earlier

  • structures that they need to contend with,

  • no earlier customs on the site, no earlier temples and the like

  • that they need to contend with, this is what they do when they

  • build their ideal Roman city.

  • And you can see it is exactly as we described it in the

  • mid-fourth century B.C.

  • at Ostia; that is, a castrum plan.

  • It's laid out like a military camp -- very regular,

  • either rectangular or square, as you see it here.

  • It is surrounded by city walls.

  • It has the two main streets, the cardo and the

  • decumanus, exactly in the center of the

  • city, intersecting with one another at the center of the

  • city, and then right at that

  • intersection, as was customary for Roman town

  • planning of this castrum type,

  • they have placed the forum right at the intersection of

  • those two, and you can see it here also

  • from the air.

  • The forum has a great open rectangular space.

  • It has a basilica.

  • It has a temple on one short end.

  • I'm not going to show you that forum in any--

  • I'm not going to show it to you at all,

  • except for what you see here, but it is similar to others

  • that we've seen.

  • We can also see from the air the theater of the city of

  • Timgad, also taking its customary shape,

  • and in this case again very close to the forum.

  • But as you look at the rest of this from the air,

  • you can see again not only is it a regular- is the whole city

  • a regular shape, but it has been laid out within

  • the city in very regular insulae or blocks,

  • with the streets very straight, as again the Romans were wont

  • to do.

  • The city of Timgad, by the way, is located in the

  • high plains of what is Algeria today,

  • just for you to get your bearings in terms of the modern

  • location of this city.

  • What I hope you can also see, from this view from the air,

  • if you look very, very closely at the individual

  • streets, and especially this one right

  • here, you will see--perhaps it's

  • clearest over here-- you will see that one of the

  • ways in which this however differs from a town like Ostia

  • and the way Ostia was laid out, is although the general layout

  • is comparable, the city streets are lined with

  • columns.

  • We've talked about the fact that colonnaded streets--

  • we never see colonnaded streets in Rome or in Italy,

  • but we do see them quite extensively in the provinces.

  • This is an area that is part of the western provinces,

  • but we see them also even more extensively in the eastern

  • provinces.

  • So you see this colonnaded, this very dramatic colonnaded

  • street.

  • And I can show you a detail of one of the colonnaded streets of

  • the city of Timgad, as it looks today,

  • and you can see the effect that putting those columns,

  • the punctuation points of those columns,

  • along the way, which actually adds to--

  • makes the vista that one sees from one part of the street to

  • another very, very interesting indeed;

  • as those columns, in a sense, march toward the

  • arch that you see at the end here.

  • I'm going to show you that arch, just as the one example of

  • a monument in the city of Leptis Magna .

  • It's very well preserved.

  • It's usually called the Arch of Trajan,

  • because Trajan was the one to have founded this particular

  • city, but it is almost certainly not

  • an Arch of Trajan, since we believe it was put up

  • in the late second century A.D.

  • But we still call it the Arch of Trajan, because that's its

  • conventional name.

  • And I can show you a detail of that arch, as it looks today,

  • on the screen.

  • And I think it's interesting to compare it to another,

  • in this case early third-century arch,

  • the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum,

  • put up to Septimius' Parthian victories in the eastern part of

  • the Empire, that we looked at last time.

  • And I think you'll see immediately why I've chosen to

  • pair those two, not only because they are

  • roughly comparable in date, but because both of them have a

  • triple bay, triple bays:

  • a central, a very central large arcuated bay,

  • two smaller arcuated bays, one on either side.

  • And since the building that you see here we believe dates to the

  • late second century A.D., and this building is not until

  • the early third century A.D., 203 A.D.

  • to be precise, it is another example--I

  • mentioned this last time; I talked about the fact that

  • the arch in the Roman Forum, the Arch of Septimius Severus

  • in the Roman Forum, is our first preserved Roman

  • arch with a triple arcuated bay, in Rome, but that there was an

  • earlier example that I showed you in the south of France,

  • at a place called Orange, in what is now Provence,

  • where we seem to have a Tiberian arch --

  • a Tiberian arch that is also tripled bayed.

  • So I raised the point with you that while we usually think of

  • ideas flowing from the center to the periphery,

  • this may be an instance where certain ideas are developed

  • first in the provinces, and then make their way to Rome.

  • Or it is also possible that there may have been

  • triple-arcuated arches in Rome that no longer survive today,

  • that we don't know about, that might have been earlier

  • than the early third century.

  • But the fact that here we have another example,

  • in one of the provinces--a completely different part of the

  • world, but the western provinces

  • nonetheless-- we have another example of a

  • triple-arcuated bay arch that was put up prior to the Arch of

  • Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum.

  • So it just makes us think even more so that this idea was

  • floating around the Empire earlier,

  • clearly, than the time of Septimius Severus,

  • and makes it more possible that the idea may have begun in the