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Ancient Morocco /
Volubilis
Arabic: walīliyy




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Volubilis

Roman basilica, Volubilis, Morocco.
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Roman basilica.

Arch of Caracalla, Volubilis, Morocco.
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Arch of Caracalla.

Volubilis, Morocco.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Volubilis, Morocco.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Volubilis, Morocco.
Volubilis, Morocco.

Ancient Roman city in modern northern Morocco, close to the modern town of Moulay Idriss.
Volubilis was the administrative centre of the Mauretania Tingitana province. It had probably around 20,000 inhabitants at its most.
The economy of Volubilis was agriculture producing grain, olives and olive oil, which was exported as far as to Rome. Wild animals, like lions and elephants, were caught in the surrounding hills and sent to Rome for games in several arenas.
The town boasts structures from a relatively short period, about 240 years, a reflection of being on the extreme borders of the Roman Empire, reflecting how long period the empire was strong enough to reach this far. The main structures are the Forum flanked by a basilica and the Capitol. Strangely, the 3rd century Triumphal Arch of Caracalla stands in the centre of town, and not in the outskirts, which was common for Roman cities. Volubilis is noted for its many fine mosaics still in situ.

History
1st millennium BCE: It is assumed that a town here was founded or conquered by the Carthaginians.
1st century: Under King Juba 2 of Mauretania, the town on this site becomes one of the most important towns in the region.
44 CE: The Romans start building a new town, naming it Volubilis.
285: Rome abandons Volubilis and much of Mauretania Tingitana, in order to secure other, more central parts of the empire. Still, Volubilis remained an important town, and Latin would persist as the local language for 4 more centuries.
788: Becomes the capital of Moulay Idriss.
18th century: Volubilis is finally abandoned, much is destroyed, and valuable materials like marble were used in the building of Meknes.
1915: Excavations at Volubilis begin.




By Tore Kjeilen