Leptis Magna Libya, Spectacular Ancient Roman City

by Steven Sklifas
Leptis Magna Libya.
Leptis Magna Libya.

Leptis Magna. Libya. Partial view of the remains of the Roman market which was built around 8-9 BC with alterations and enhancements made during the reign of Septimius Severus (193-211 AD).

Located on the northwestern coast of Libya, the vast archaeological site of Leptis Magna is one of the most spectacular and unspoiled Roman sites in the Mediterranean.

The ancient city encompasses some of the finest Roman monuments that were ever built.

Founded by the Phoenicians at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, the colony existed without real importance until the 4th century BC when Carthage became a Mediterranean power.

The town eventually became part of the Roman Republic (and then Roman Empire) and it was integrated in to the province of Africa around 46 BC. The city was expanded and became a major trading centre and leading city of Roman Africa during the reign of Roman Emperors Augustus and Tiberius.

Arch of Septimius Severus, Leptis Magna, Libya.

Leptis Magna. Libya. View along an ancient Roman street to the restored four way Arch of Septimius Severus. The Arch was built hastily in AD 203 to commemorate the visit of the Roman Emperor and his family back to his native city.

The city reached its glorious pinnacle during the reign of Lucius Septimius Severus (193-211 AD), who was born and breed there and the first Roman Emperor to be from Africa ( he was of Phoenician rather than black African descent).

Severus mastered and instigated an ambitious building program that incorporated the latest and finest architectural and artistic elements, which completely transformed the city into one that was the envy of the Roman world. What is seen today is mostly from this wonderful period.

There after the city was plundered and then become a stronghold of the Byzantine and then the Arabs. Its preservation was helped by the drifting sands of the Sahara burying the city over a number of the centuries.

Leptis Magna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are a total of five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Libya –  Archaeological Site of Cyrene. Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna. Archaeological Site of Sabratha. Old Town of Ghadames and the Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus.

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.

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