Archaeological Site is a city that grew around Roman
military camp of third legion (Legio III Augusta) between 123 and 129 AD.
In 128 newly established military camp was visited by Emperor Hadrian
himself. Its perfect and orderly layout represents its purpose. Lambaesis was intended to
inspire owe and respect of Rome. Civilian part of the city grew in size and
in the 3rd century it became the capital of Numidia province during reign of
Septimius Severus (reigned from 193 to 211). However after Third Legion was dissolved in 238 AD the
city went into decline. The capital was transferred to a new city of Cirta.
As many other large provincial Roman towns Lambaesis had a
large population of Christians despite frequent attempts of the Roman
government to extinguish new religion. In fact it had its own bishop.
Although one of the more famous bishops was a heretical bishop who was
condemned by a local synod of bishops as it was mentioned by Saint Cyprian. Due to budget cuts and invasion of
barbarians Roman Empire had to cut costs and abandoned its post in 392 AD.
Soon the rest of the city gradually fell in disrepair with its residents
Lambaesis was besieged and sacked by the Berber tribes, but
small population survived in a small provincial village during Byzantine
period. In the 10th century it was captured by Arab troops that renamed
ancient ruins to Bar- el- Molouk. It was abandoned shortly thereafter.
Low population in the region is the main reason why the
former Roman town was not use for quarrying of stone like other places in the
former empire. Much of the city kept its general appearance despite years of
Major sites in Lambaesis Archaeological Site
Praetorium of Lambaesis Archaeological Site
of Lambaesis is one of the best preserved sites in the ancient city. It
stands in the center of the city domineering over its ruins. This Latin term
comes a word that indicated a general's tent in the Roman makeshift military
camp or castra. Since Lambaesis was a significant military encampment for
hundreds of miles in all directions from a city, its Praetorium was intended
to offer maximum comfort for the legion's commander in the hostile
environment in the Northern Saqqara desert. Additionally it kept documents
and a treasury of the legion. Praetorium was constructed in 128 AD and
apparently reconstructed by the civilian government in 267 AD after most of
troops left the city. Praetorium stood on an open square that was reserved
for parades, inspections and other important events in the lives of the
military city. Additionally it was flanked by steam baths for the Roman
soldiers. A paved road those stones you might see mark beginning of the road
to another major Roman town of Timgad.
French Foreign Legion marching through the Ancient Roman
Praetorium in 1958
Arch of Septimius Severus
Three arched triumphal arch was constructed
upon orders of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and
inaugurated in 203AD during his visit to inspect military
camp. Septimius Severus was born in
Leptis Magna in the Northern Africa so he brought his
whole family on that trip to visit his home town.
Amphitheatre of Lambaesis was constructed
during reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121- 180 AD). Much
of the original structure was demolished and used as a
quarry by subsequent generations, however underground
structures of the area are evident. It gives an idea about
pulleys, elevators and other mechanisms that were used to
impress spectators of bloody battles.
Temple of Aesculapius was dedicated to Roman
god of healing and medicine. It played both religious role
as well as served as a medical center for the wounded Roman
soldiers. Today it lies in ruins.