Maghreb was divided into a number of provinces: Tripolitania, Byzacena and Africa proper, derived from the old Proconsular Africa, Numidia briefly divided in two at the start of the 4th c., Mauretania Sitifiensis and Mauretania Caesariensis. Mauretania Tingitana was part of the civil diocese of Spain. Ecclesiastical boundaries partially coincided with the provincial borders: ecclesiastical Numidia also included, besides the civil province, cities of the old proconsular province from Hippo Regius to Tebessa, passing through Calama, Madaura and Thubursicu Numidarum. Despite the early Christian presence attested to by the Acts of the Martyrs of the unknown town of Scillium and by those of Perpetua and Felicitas, and by the work of Tertullian and of Cyprian, and even with the number of bishops known from the middle of the 3rd c.
Tripolitania, Byzacena And Africa Proper Gallery Photos
Tripolitania, Byzacena And Africa Proper
In the eastern part of the country and in Numidia ca. 70 there is no certain archaeological evidence from before the 4th c. In particular, none of the simply formulated inscriptions at Carthage can be attributed with certainty to the 3rd c. The same is true at Hadrumetum Sousse, where the catacombs were in use in the 4th or 5th c., as attested by funerary mosaics. A valuable document Gesta apud Zenophilum, an account of a trial held in 320, gives the oldest mention of a church: the curator charged with the investigation at Cirta Constantina during the persecution of 303 went ad domum in qua christiani conveniebant, finding there the bishop and some of the clergy, a library, a triclinium with dolia and orcae; he then went to the houses of the readers. An inscription at Altava 309 mentions a basilica dominica, as well as a memoria in honor of persons otherwise unknown; the epigraph specifies that there existed there a mensa Ianuari martiris. Here we glimpse a link between a martyr's memorial and a church, and undoubtly a burial ground as well. The earliest surviving monument connected with the cult of the martyrs, however, is at Tipasa. An enclosure in the western necropolis, bounded on the east by a portico, was excavated, under which can be seen masonry beds placed over the tombs, one of which mentions the martyrs Rogatus and Vitalis. Nearby was found the epitaph of the martyr Victorinus d. 315? Also nearby are what appear to have been the graves of some of the city's bishops, who were later buried in sedem pulchram by Alexander, their successor. In this basilica where the bishop is buried a mensa for the funeral banquet is preserved, giving an idea of the importance of these rites in African Christian society. A mosaic recently found in the western necropolis, but at a certain distance from the basilica, confirms the power of these traditions, which Augustine of Hippo opposed in vain. The inscription there reads in Christo Deo pax et concordia sit convivio nostro. Thanks to Augustine's sermons, some of the places at Carthage where Cyprian's memory is preserved are known; he died in the ager Sexti and was interred in the areae of Macrobio Candidiano. In each place there were mensae upon which the eucharistic synaxis was celebrated at the start of the 5th c.; Victor of Vita refers to two basilicas in each of these places. A mosaic second half 4th c. Found at Tebessa recorded the names of the martyrs Heradius, Zebboc, Donatus, Secondianus, Victorianus, Publicia, Meggen undoubtedly companions of St. Crispina. Above these was built late 4th or early 5th c. A tribolate hall, attached to the great martyrial basilica restored in the 19th c. An old discovery tells us of the five-aisled basilica of El Asnam castellum Tingitanum: in the western counterapse of the nave an inscription provides a date: the cornerstone was laid in the year 285 of the province, 324 of the Christian era. Not until the late 4th early 5th c., however, are there sufficiently numerous and precise archaeological remains to give us an idea of the Christian architecture, which perhaps also explains the dearth of older documents. In any event, it explains the beginning of the African church the vitality of which is attested to by the conflicts between Catholics and Donatists and the urban development, of which archaeology has begun to show the effects, i.e. the remodeling of houses, embellished with mosaics. The study of this late period in Africa is hampered by the fact that those working at Maghreb did not recognize the fundamental necessity of dating basilicas or houses; or, rather, the absence of stratigraphical excavations combined with other persistent prejudices have prevented precise dating. For example, only recent research by J. Christern at Tebessa has disproved the dating of the sanctuary to the Byzantine era. Conversely, many buildings that are considered old may be later, even 5th c., thought to be a less-active period due to the Vandal presence; this would be to forget, however, that the Vandals were Arians, and there is nothing that supports the notion of a regression prior to the Byzantine reconquest. On the contrary, capitals preserved in the mosques of Tunis and Kairouan now studied by N. Harrazi give the impression of a province open to exchange with the East during the entire 5th 6th c., both before and after the conquest. Similarly, what little can be glimpsed of the commerce in ceramics and merchandise shipped in amphorae leads to the hypothesis of a very complex web of exchange across the Mediterranean. Woven into this architectural history is that of the individual Christian communities, with their various components, along with a history of the city since the greater part of the known monuments were in cities an economic history and a history of technical development. In places where the topography of a city can be traced either completely or with sufficient breadth, we find a large number of churches, both in the inhabited areas and in the peripheral necropolises. In Thamugadi Timgad there are at least three basilicas, with their baptisteries: one in the center of Trajan's colonia; another very near the original walls, to the northwest; and the third a bit more on the periphery, but still in the inhabited zone. As for funerary basilicas, these were erected very far from the city to the west, on the Lambaesis road, and to the south. This separation between the place for the dead and that of the living was not always respected, however: from 378, in the northwest quarter at Stif, during the same period when houses were being built, two basilicas accomodated burials dated to the provincial year. At Sufetula Sbeitla in the 5th c., burials were done in an area attached to the original cathedral; likewise at Hippo Regius Hippo, today Annaba, in the city not far from the forum, and at Haidra. The existence of numerous urban churches is attested to in other cities besides Carthage, where various basilicas have been found some very near each another, as at Dermech and where it is known that the city was divided into regions at least 6; consequently, as at Rome, there was a regional clergy alongside the bishop, not at all surprising in the capital and principal city of Roman Africa. Even in apparently minor towns, such as Oued Rhezel 7, H. Seffan 4 or H. Bou Hadef 5, various churches have been identified. At Cuicul Djemila the main monument is clearly the episcopal complex with its two basilicas, but in the original colonia there is also a three-aisled basilica set in a block of houses. The discovery of a baptistery beside a basilica does not prove it to be a cathedral, though this is undoubtedly the case at Hippo Regius, where the basilica in the city was identified with Augustine's church. Only one of that city's basilicas has been excavated, with its clergy house an older house, preserved with its peristyle and baptistery. In the 5th c., therefore, people were buried in church buildings. Some baptisteries have also been found on the periphery of the urban zone, as in the martyrial basilica of Tebessa, or at a certain distance from the city, like at Hergla or near Kelibia. In the absence of excavations, we really do not understand well how the Christian communities situated their urban churches. At Timgad one of the basilicas is built on two city blocks and the road separating them. At Hippo Regius a house was bought and demolished, with only the floor mosaics being reused for the new construction; an adjoining house was also bought at the same time. At Mactar, a portion of the baths to the west housed a basilica: its side walls preserve the raised frigidarium. Similarly, according to Quodvultdeus's testimony, the temple of Caelestis was reused to build a Christian sanctuary at Carthage; the temple in use at Sbeitla was also reused, the baptistery placed in the cella and the three-aisled basilica occupying part of the porticoed courtyard. Something similar developed at Thuburgo Maius, in the courtyard of the temple at Tipasa, and at Jebel Oust: there the baptistery is again located in the cella of the temple, above the cave from which the hot spring fed the baths on the lower level. An interesting detail of Christian urban topography appears during the Byzantine period. When forts were built, sometimes a small basilica was built within the walls as an oratory for the garrison. This occurred at Ammaedara Haidra and Timgad. In the latter, the area to the left of the apse contained a small baptistery. The early episcopal complex at Sbeitla has a three-aisled basilica, oriented north to south, undoubtedly due to the plot of land acquired by the church. To the west was a baptistery, a rectangular space bordered by a portico, with a room with the font in the middle. In the mid-4th c. Another fiveaisled basilica was added to this building, against the wall of the baptistery itself. A new baptistery was then built, to the south of the main apse of this new building, toward the late-5th or early-6th c. More spectacular is the episcopal complex at Tipassa: on a rocky cliff overlooking the sea, opposite the temple hill where the forum was and where the local martyr Salsa was killed, is a seven-aisled hall, the main aisle being 14 meters wide. North of the apse is the baptistery, near the baths and perhaps also the bishop's house. The episcopal complex at Cuicul is situated high in the abandoned part of the city, dominating one of the watercourses that borders the inhabited area and the road to Cirta. Two basilicas are juxtaposed, one three-aisled and facing north the mosaics of which were donated by members of the city's most eminent families at the end of the 4th or early 5th c., the other five-aisled and undoubtedly tribune, whose mosaics are stylistically more recent. To the east, beside the apses, the steep drop of the terrain allowed for the construction of a long corridor at a level lower than the aisles, off of which open a number of semicircular and square rooms. This crypt seems to be contemporaneous with the oldest mosaics; perhaps this is where the bodies of the iusti priores, of whom Cresconius's inscription speaks, were to be buried. To the northwest of the three-aisled basilica is the circular baptistery, with a circular corridor surrounding the central room, the basin sheltered by a canopy. The floor of this central part is covered by mosaics in marine motifs, while the ambulatory displays many geometric decorations. One of the buildings dated with greater certainty is the basilica of Tebessa, a place of pilgrimage undoubtedly built in honor of the city's martyrs, Crispina and companions. A rectangular enclosure sets off the group of monuments; a three-aisled basilica is set on an elevated podium, an unusual feature; a tribolate room is joined to it where the saint's cenotaph must have been. In front of the stairs leading to the sanctuary, ornamental pools reflected the porticoes that surrounded the basilica's fa§ade. The monumental entry arches, the quality of the stonecutting, the decorations of the corbels that supported the height of the aisles, all combined to impress the pilgrim. In the corner of the enclosure was a caravansery for sheltering animals, with one for people on the terrace. It is certain that the building dates to the first years of the 5th c., as is indicated by the quality of the workmanship of both the stone and mosaics, as well as by the effort made to enhance a venerated sanctuary. With the buildings that grew up near the cathedrals, such as martyrial buildings or most of the other church buildings, the usual plan was the basilica. As Augustine says, oblongam habeat quadraturam lateribus longioribus, brevioribus frontibus sicut pleraeque basilicae construuntur Quaest. In Hept. 2,177. The buildings have one aisle Thibilis or three, sometimes five Dermech at Carthage, Feriana, la Skhira; frequently the semicircular apse is set in the middle of the side aisles, according to a plan already known in Maghreb, in the civil basilicas of Tipassa and Leptis Magna. Sometimes the side aisles of the church have tribunes, inviting comparison with the civil basilicas of the same cities. Thus from the 4th and 5th c., plans and elevations very common in official architecture were used. From one city to another, or from one neighborhood to another, the dimensions vary: from 61 by 45 meters in the basilica maiorum of Carthage or 52 by 45 in that of Tipassa, the dimensions typically become smaller 46/22 at Theveste, 41/18 at Stif, 37/18 at Hippo Regius. In these basilicas the apse is always raised, sometimes by several steps above the level of the nave, with the exception of some buildings like at Thibilis, or the fortress oratory at Timgad, where the back of the apse is occupied by seats for clergy. In the elevated portion, the side aisles are separated from the central aisle by columns, sometimes by double columns which in some cases has suggested the existence of tribunes; in other cases pillars or columns backing onto pillars were needed to support the tribunes. The discovery of some fragments permits a reconstruction of the system of arches above the supports. Above them arises a wall with windows, as the funerary mosaic of Tabarka shows, or a tribune gallery Tebessa, Tigzirt. The apse, as far as we can judge, was covered by a half-dome, examples of which are perfectly preserved at Le Kef and at Dar el Kous, with beautiful regular masonry. Elsewhere fragments that had fallen to the ground allow us to suppose an apse with a barrel vault. More frequently the nave seems to have been roofed with tresses, as at Lemellef, where the description of Optatus De schisma don. 2,12 shows assailants removing the tiles to throw them on the faithful who had taken refuge there. This is also depicted in the Tabarka mosaic. Some evidence exists of collateral vaults, as for example in Tripoli, in the nave. There are also buildings roofed in a more complex manner. In its final phase the basilica I of Bulla Regia certainly had a dome at each end of the nave: one over the baptistery, the other over the altar. The basilica VI at Sbeitla, dedicated to the martyrs Silvanus and Fortunatus, is Byzantine; its nave was covered in the middle by a dome. A third domed building, also Byzantine, is at Iunce Macomades minores: in the vast basilica III a basilica and a cruciform plan are combined, clearly expressed on the outside by the three apses and perhaps by the counterapse. The Byzantine reconquest seems therefore to have brought with it a renewal of African architecture, at least in some structures. In many basilicas, beginning in the 4th c., the altar is placed in the nave, in front of the apse El Asnam or in the center Stif, Timgad. The mosaics of the basilica at Tebessa suggest a presbytery toward the east in front of the apse, a counterchoir by the altar to the west, and a corridor joining them; this was from the beginning, since the corridor was later done away with. No«l Duval studied this liturgical arrangement, as well as the counterapses and counterchoirs frequent in many basilicas. The majority are the result of rearrangements in the 5th El Asnam or 6th c. Haidra I and II, La Skhira I. In some cases only the arrangements opposite the original apse lead to the supposition of an altar or a secondary altar used during the same period as the main altar Mactar II and IV, Sbeitla II, Haidra I, La Skhira I. Sometimes relics are deposed therein, but there are cases where the counterapse seems to have had only funerary use. From studies, in particular of Haidra and Sbeitla, it has become clear that liturgical arrangements changed over time; it is difficult to establish a coherent chronological evolution. In some cases the entire nave or the greater part of it was reserved to clergy, either because a corridor joined the choir with the part opposite Tebessa, Iunce III, or because cancelli completely closed off the nave Mactar IV, Thala II, Sbeitla II in its second phase. The faithful in this case were confined to the side aisles and the tribunes where they existed. Many basilicas have an interesting liturgical arrangement: a crypt beneath the main apse, and sometimes beneath one of the side rooms. This seems to be the case with the room attached east of the basilica of Stif prior to 389, as well as with the basilica in the old city of Cuicul, where the axial apse was very raised and windows allowed a view of the tomb in the axis of the crypt, which was approached through the side aisles. Other examples of crypts beneath the apse and its annexes are at Timgad and Tiddis. A crypt was also under the main apse of the basilica of El Asnam, but it is not known whether this belonged to a 4th-c. Phase. A different arrangement has been noted at Henchir Seffan, where a crypt divided by three orders of pillars has been found in the nave before the apse. Other solutions with unusual floor plans are worth noting, such as the side apse of the basilica of Stif, facing east, opposite the site of the altar before 389, or the analogous arrangement of the great western basilica of Timgad, or also the tribolate room beneath the raised nave at Tebessa, undoubtedly in honor of the martyrs. Many of these basilicas urban and suburban have baptisteries attached, whose position, however, varies widely: near the entrance or placed to one side; better still, in an annex of the apse; behind it, and on its axis Mactar III, Sabratha I, La Skhira I, or on one side Leptis Magna I. The shapes also vary widely: a simple rectangular room with no ornament but the pool, at times surmounted by a canopy; a room in the shape of an apsed basilica; a cruciform area as at Sabratha I 6th c.; a quadrilobate room at Tigzirt; circular as at Cuicul. At Dermech Carthage a small basilica with a reliquary was attached to the baptistery. The baptismal pool also differs in plan or height: it could be flush with the ground or encircled by a low wall as at Timgad southwest basilica, where the stairs are covered with mosaics. A simple rectangle, hexagon or circle, they become polylobate in 6th-c. Renovations or new constructions. Encircling steps sometimes only on two sides allow a descent into the pool. Baptisteries are often near baths, which seem to be contemporary. We have today only a very limited idea of the decoration of these basilicas: what is known are basically floor mosaics and some decorative fragments sculpted in stone. Wall mosaics, painted decoration or stuccos have disappeared almost without a trace. The basilica of Tebessa has a very homogeneous mosaic decoration, basically geometric in the side aisles and the nave. Some of the columnar capitals have been reused; others are undoubtedly cut by the same artists who made the decorations on the columns supporting the roof timbers scrolls, rosettes, fish. Very often only the floor decoration is known. The oldest? Could be that covering the five aisles of the basilica of El Asnam with geometric esp. Stellar motifs. The site of the altar is marked by vine shoots and a bunch of grapes hanging between two columns. A maze was placed in a span of the left side aisle close to the dedication, dated 324. Also very homogeneous is the similar floor covering the three aisles of the north basilica of the episcopal complex of Cuicul: the names of donors were written in the center of each motif. In the basilica of Alexander of Tipassa, to geometric motifs very similar to those of the cathedral are added very beautiful inscriptions in capital letters recalling the work of the bishop or inviting the faithful to give alms in memory of the martyrs, and a panel decorated by fish. In the basilica of Rusguniae in its earliest phase the floor of the nave was covered by mosaics of a sea, fish, a flock and a shepherd. These bucolic and marine images were accompanied by inscriptions. The floor of the basilica seems to have been progressively covered by mosaics: this has also been noted in buildings reserved for burials. Through the years epitaphs have been added, filling in the space: in one of the basilicas at Stif, the tombs range from 389 to 429, with an inscription added in 471. Inscriptions were also added in the basilica near Kelibia, or at Tabarka; similarly also at Hippo Regius, although things are more complex there, because on the one hand the mosaics of the earlier house were kept, and on the other hand the left side aisle was given a homogeneous decoration, in which tombs were later placed, some underneath the mosaics and others indicated by a marble gravestone. The floors of some basilicas were completely covered with flagstone, as in the church of Melleus at Haidra. Funerary inscriptions were cut in the flagstone, recording burials in the building. In the Byzantine era there was usually a mosaic decoration, either geometric or inspired by floral motifs Sabratha; perhaps only a simpler ornamental taste and a more restrained color palette is displayed, as at Bulla Regia or at Dermech. In the basilica of Hergla are geometric panels and others with hunting scenes; animals are intercalated between the columns and on the doorsill of the fiveaisled basilica at Cuicul. Another decorative element is stonework, nearly always of local limestone. This decoration is often limited to capitals, which in some regions are very sober, in a form derived from Doric. Sometimes, as at Tipassa or in the mausoleum of Menynx, the capitals are scrolled; more often they are derived from Corinthian, as at Tebessa. A tradition of craftsmanship flourished at Tebessa in the late 4th and early 5th c., of which the capitals and dosserets of Henchir Faraoun are a good example. Similar stylistically were the workshops of Feriana Thelpte and Sbeitla. Less sensitive to classical forms are the pillars of Meskiana Ksar el Kelb? Zoui, Khenchela and Henchir Seffan. Marble capitals were also imported, particularly from the East, with acanthus leaves: prickly with fine indented leaves sometimes with animals under the abacus, at other times swollen or blown about by the wind, capitals with medallions, etc. Marble trade throughout the Mediterranean was not new to Late Antiquity: it has been documented from the time of Augustus at Cherchel and in other places along the coast, as with trade in sarcophagi from the 2nd 3rd c. These latter seem to be less numerous at Maghreb, however, than in other regions of the West, and not only because of the existence of workshops near Carthage that worked the stone from Chemtou at Tebessa. The use of mosaic decoration in geometric or figurative themes on tombs may explain the rarity of relief decoration. Examples preserved at Stif, Tabarka and Kelibia, and at Tenes, Tipassa, Sertei and Hippo Regius in the region of the Enfida, give a very precise idea of funerary mosaics: the essential elements are the inscription, and beside it a decoration, geometric, of either birds or a plant motif. Sometimes the deceased is portrayed. More rarely there is an allusion to his trade e.g. a boat at Tabarka, a hunting scene or an image borrowed from the OT: Daniel among the lions at Sfax; the three Jews in the furnace at Tipassa. There is very little data based on which such decoration or the monuments themselves can be dated to the postByzantine period. A few texts nevertheless suggest constructions like the funerary basilica built by the dux of Tigisis between 641 668 in the southern necropolis of Timgad, or of a castrum camp in the region of Batna under Tiberius Constantine or Constantine IV, or a tower at Lemsa under the emperor Maurice. We are less fortunate with church buildings, and only the numerous alterations of liturgical structures allow us to think of the long-term use of basilicas. This can also be assumed from the fact that the funerary inscriptions of En Ngila, Ain Zana or Kairouan attest to Christian communities until the start of the 11th c. Also, fragments of liturgical manuscripts preserved at Sinai or communities recognized at Jebel Nefusa discount a rapid disappearance of Christian traditions, all the more so because the Arab invasion did not touch the provinces where urban life had regressed. The disappearance of so many Roman towns certainly did not begin with the 7th-c. Situation: a certain kind of archaeology is responsible for a negative interpretation of this transitional phase toward medieval Maghreb. In any event, much remains to be done for an understanding of the evolution that determined the transformation of the region. Byzacena holidaymapq
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