Rome Journal

Andrew moves to Italy. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dougga-E Fresh

So I'm back from Tunisia, basking in the cool cool air-conditioned goodness of my office, and enjoying food that I know won't send me to an all-afternoon session on the john. Hooray for the First World!

A great trip, one that I'm still processing a little bit. I've got some notes that I'll try to write up into something coherent, but in a meantime, I want to post a big ol' mess of photos from the trip, beginning with Dougga. It's a crazy-cool site, up on a ridge in the hill country of the northwest. Most of what's there is second century CE; the place did very well for itself under the Antonines and Severans. Later on, not so much.

I got there mid-morning, spent about four hours there, and had the place almost completely to myself: for the first three hours, I saw one other visitor. After that, a German tour group showed up and I had to share the place; sigh. But it's really shocking just how empty a lot of these sites are, especially after coming from Rome (or Florence, or Venice) in June... rock!

Anyway, here are some photos, with minimal commentary:

This is the temple of Juno/Tanit, which to my eye looks like a crazy mix of Punic and Roman architecture: it's peripteral, and on a platform. But the columns just seem to have enclosed a sanctuary, with only a little teeny tiny cella, something that (I think) is more Carthaginian than anything else. Anyway, it's cool:

The scaena of the theater:

This arch is from the Antonine baths (built by Caracalla). They're very well-preserved, down to the access tunnels running underneath. I think that this is the palaestra, but I'd have to check:

And the capitolium:

It's definitely the most impressive building at Dougga, parked right in the middle of the forum at the top of the hill. The city is sort of bracketed between two temples to Carthaginian gods: the Tanit/Juno temple I showed above, and on the other side of town, one to Baal/Saturn. They're both kind of non-standard Roman temples; but right here in the middle is as canonical a Roman temple as you could ask for:

Only the finest for Jupiter and the symbol of Romanitas...


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