18 Roman North Africa: Timgad and Leptis Magna

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 18 of 24

Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner discusses two Roman cities in North Africa: Timgad and Leptis Magna. Timgad was created as an entirely new colony for Roman army veterans by Trajan in A.D. 100, and designed all at once as an ideal castrum plan. Leptis Magna, conversely, grew more gradually from its Carthaginian roots, experiencing significant Roman development under Augustus and Hadrian. Septimius Severus, the first Roman emperor from North Africa, was born at Leptis and his hometown was renovated in connection with his historic visit to the city. This large-scale program of architectural expansion features the Severan Forum and Basilica and the nearby Arch of Septimius Severus, a tetrapylon or four-sided arch located at the crossing of two major streets. The lecture culminates with the unique Hunting Baths, a late second or early third-century structure built for a group of entrepreneurs who supplied exotic animals to Rome's amphitheaters. Its intimate vaulted spaces are revealed on the outside of the building and silhouetted picturesquely against the sea, suggesting that the bath's owners knew how to innovate through concrete architecture and how to enjoy life.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

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