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Thuburbo Majus

Thuburbo Majus

1. Capitol and the Forum

2. Baths

3. Sanitary functions

4. Temple of Mercury and Market

5. Other religious buildings

6. Palaestra of Petronii

7. House of Neptune

8. Oil press

9. Triumphal arches


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Irregular Roman
Thuburbo Majus, Tunisia

A stone with the winged horse of Pegasus standing in the Curia, next to the Capitol.

Thuburbo Majus, Tunisia

Baptistry basin from a temple having been transformed into a church.

Thuburbo Majus, Tunisia

Paved main road.

Unlike most Roman cities, Thuburbo Majus lacks the straight streets, the rectangular outlay. A common theory is that when the Romans started to build it in 27 BCE as a veteran's colony, an existing Punic town was already here, and it was not sacrificed for the new developments. This town is in the dip between the Forum and the House of Neptune, although every stone here have been relocated many times during the Roman centuries.
Before Thuburbo Majus became a municipality in 128, it was burned with heavy taxes. After this it got much control with its own income, increasing the town's wealth. Great buildings came as a result. The main sources of income were oil, wheat and wine.
Most great buildings date back to the 2nd century, but much of you see is still from the end of the 4th century, when reconstruction was performed after some decades of neglect.
Streets were often narrow, winding, and houses had few 90 degree angles. Even the two baths in this minor town, had irregular shapes. The remaining quarters is in an area of a modest 250 times 300 metres, but triumphal arches stand further apart, so the total town was several times bigger than that. Still Thuburbo Majus was never a large settlement, perhaps housing some 7,000 to 12,000 people.
Thuburbo Majus is still very much worth the visit, with its attractive Capitol, its several fine mosaic floors and the striking colours of its columns.

By Tore Kjeilen