Ken and Nyetta's Blog

We started this blog in January of 2005 as a place to post some random news and photos about us and what's happening here in Krakow, Poland, and other places we wander. This is really just for family and friends, but others are welcome.

Location: Krakow, Poland

Over the years, we have lived in eight different countries and visited over 50. I guess you could say we wander a bit...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Farther South to Speitla (ancient Sufetula)

Sbeitla is a small town on the edge of the desert that is located at the site of ancient Sufetula, a Roman border outpost. It is a great site for wandering precisely because it is so remote - many hours from anywhere. As a result, the remains of the Roman city at Sbeitla were just fenced off in 1998 and very few tourists wander through. On the day we visited, there was one other group of 4 people in the entire 200+ acre site. While the town of Sufetula dates from at least 79 AD (since an inscription to Vespasian from that date was found at the site), the main temples shown in these photos were probably built around the 2nd century AD. By that time, temples of this style and size were almost standardized in newer Roman cities. The arch framing the temple to Minerva in this photo was dedicated to Antoninus Pius. The arch is framing the temple to Minerva, which was always placed on the left. The central temple (just a portion of which is visible here) was always to Jupiter and to the right of that (but not visible in this photo) is a temple to Juno. By the 2nd century AD, the arrangement and style of temples to Minerva, Jupiter and Juno had been standardized across Roman settlements.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Sufetula shrank in population but was reused by the Byzantines following the re-conquest of Africa province by Justinian in the 6th century. The temple complex and the large forum in front of it were originally surrounded with open colonnades, but the Byzantines surrounded the complex with a high wall (built from stones obtained by pulling down other buildings) in the 6th century in order to better defend the remaining city from raiders. The Byzantines held out for over 100 tumultuous years, but in 647 Sufetula fell to Arab, Berber and Vandal raiders. Posted by Picasa


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