Sunday, August 20, 2017

Roman Tunisia

The Romans, and their successors the Byzantines, rule the present day Tunisia for roughly 800 years, until the conquest by the Muslims.  They left a lot of ruins behind, such as those at Dougga. It is said to be a “small” Roman town.  But it is pretty big, with a Capitol Temple, theatre, many baths, brothel, etc.  And it was not purely Roman.  It was a Numidian town before it was conquered by the Romans and some Numidian architecture remained.  

The theatre remains impressive. It still overlooks a wide plain growing a variety of crops. 

Presumably this was why Dougga was built, to protect the crops which feed armies. 

The Capitol Temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva (the Roman equivalent of Zeus, Hera and Athena) remains impressive, from various angles.  

There are many baths, including modern looking toilets.  One thing, however, that is missing is privacy.  Perhaps it wasn’t considered as important as it is now.  It was said Romans often do business with each other in the toilet, before golf was invented. 

At least one brothel was identified.  With a central courtyard flanked by many smaller rooms where, presumably, businesses were conducted. 

My wife pointed out to me one Roman “video”. 

These ruins have stood for more than a thousand, some more than two thousand years.  It seems the Muslim conquerors were mostly happy to just leave them there.  That apparently is not true for some of the more radical “fundamental” Muslims these days.  Fortunately, Tunisia seems to remain one of the most open and tolerant Muslim countries. 

The ruins were surrounded by a kind of cactus which produce the “prickly pears”.  

Once you get rid of the needles and thick skin, you are rewarded with juicy, lightly sweat flesh.  If you can deal with the numerous grape-seed-sized seeds.  

And it is cheap, at least in Tunisia.  

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