sbeitla

8

Capitoline of Sbeitla

Sbeitla, Tunisia

2nd century CE

70 m. X 67 m.


From left to right: Temple of Minerva is in the best condition, while the Temple of Jupiter next to it has almost all of its walls still standing. The Temple of Juno has fared worse, but there is plenty to help you imagine what it must have looked in pristine condition.
To the south of the forum is the Arch of Antionius Pius.


The southernmost of the three temples was dedicated to Minerva, which was the daughter of the two gods revered in the other two temples. She was considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts and inventor of music.
Her temple appears as the most impressive of the three from the outside, and even the interior is in excellent condition.

The Temple of Jupiter stands in the middle, being the temple of the most important of all gods in the Roman pantheon. It is the largest temple, and deduced from its present, excellent condition, it was the object of first-class engineering.
It is noteworthy that the temple has no entrance by itself, it was entered by bridges across arches from either of the other two temples. 


The Temple of Juno is by far the least impressive of the three making up the Capitol. It is also the most ruined one.
Juno was the Queen of the gods, the wife of Jupiter and the mother of Minerva. The niche in the middle had a statue of the goddess, which has never been found. 

3

Antonine Gate

Sbeitla, tunisia

139 CE


The arch is leading into the open courtyard of the Forum with its three openings ans was built on 139 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.
Note that it was never finished, to which the rough surface of the four columns in front testifies.

Sbeitla (سبيطلة‎) is located 264 km from Tunis in north-central Tunisia. Nearby are the Roman ruins of Sufetula, containing the best preserved Forum temples in Tunisia. The oldest traces of civilization here are Punic megaliths and funereal stela. The region was inhabited by nomadic tribes until the Legio III Augusta established a camp at Ammaedara. Through the surrender of Berber leader Tacfarinas, the region was pacified and populated under Emperor Vespasian between 67 and 69 AD. Some inscriptions found in the city suggest that the settlement had success along the lines of others in North Africa during the 2nd century, reaching great prosperity through the olive industry, whose cultivation benefited from excellent climatic conditions; olive presses found in the ruins further bolster this conclusion. The resulting prosperity made possible the construction of a splendid forum and other important buildings. The city began to decline during the Late Empire, during which it was surrounded and occupied by Vandals, a fact that is demonstrated by the appearance of temples dedicated to the Barbarian Gods. The arrival of the Byzantines inaugurated a new period of splendor. In 647, the fields before the city were the site of a major battle between Byzantines and Berbers of Gregory the Patrician and the Rashidun Caliphate’s governor of Egypt, Abdullah ibn Saad. The battle ended in a Muslim victory, which shook Byzantine control over the region and signaled the beginning of the Muslim conquest of North Africa.