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Lambaesis Archaeological Site

View of Lambaesis



Location: village of Tazoult  Map

7 miles (11 km) Southeast of Batna

17 miles (27 km) West of Timgad

Found: 123- 129 AD




History of Lambaesis Archaeological Site

Lambaesis Archaeological Site is situated near a village of Tazoult, 7 miles (11 km) Southeast of Batna and17 miles (27 km) West of Timgad in Algeria. Lambaesis 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 fleeing elsewhere.




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 abandonment.


Major sites in Lambaesis Archaeological Site

Temple of Aesculapius

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.


Praetorium of Lambaesis Archaeological Site

Praetorium 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.

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.









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