写真

Photographer's Note

The Antonine Gateway at sunset, Sbeitla

The Antonine Gateway was part of the ancient city walls. It has 3 archways that were closed by wooden doors. It gives access to the Forum of Sbeitla. An inscription carved in its basement refers to Emperor Antonius Pious and his two adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius, the future Emperor and philosopher, and Licius Verus, allows to date its building to 138-161 AD.
The arch leading into the open courtyard of the Forum with its three openings, was built in 139 CE, according to an inscription on the entrance archway.
It is clearly among the finest arches of any site in Tunisia, and adds a dramatic effect to the arrival to the Forum.

Sbeitla

Sbeitla or Sufetula (Arabic: سبيطلة‎) is a small town in north-central Tunisia. Nearby are the Roman ruins of Sufetula, containing the best preserved Forum temples in Tunisia. The ancient town, then held by the Byzantine Prefect Gregory was captured by Rashidun Caliphate's Governor of Egypt, Abdullah ibn Saad and his General Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr in 647AD and briefly served as capital of Ifriqiya.

The ancient site of Sufetula is partly incorporated into the town of Sbeitla which, almost a thousand and a half years later, succeeded to it as one of the main towns of the Higher Steppe.
Even if the place name Sufetula indicates a more ancient foundation, the vestiges so far excavated do not date back beyond the lst century AD.

The city seems to have experienced great prosperity under Septimus Severus (IInd-IIIrd century) and into Diocletian痴 reign (285-305). Most of the buildings visible today date to that period : houses, forum, temples, baths, triumphal gate, theatre etc.
In the absence of inscriptions to shed light on the different phases of the city痴 past, the discovery of later vestiges, from the late Empire or the Vandal and Byzantine periods, reflect the great vitality of the Christian community in the city. It gained even more importance on the eve of the Arab conquest, in 647, which put a stop to Africa痴 membership in the Christian world, signalling its adhesion to the Islamic empire, after the defeat of the Patriarch Gregory who ruled the kingdom that had distanced itself from Constantinople and had made Sufetula its capital instead of Carthage. (Source: patrimoinedetunisie.com)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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