Roman Emperor Septime Severe (193-211) was born in Leptis Magna (Tripolitaine, now Lybia). He created the autonomous province of Numidia, ruled by the chief of the 3rd legion Augustus with its seat in Lambaesis. Septime Severe built the territorial continuity of the Empire between the two Mauretania, from Egypt to Morocco and wanted to expand the power of Roman inland, to the Sahara. He was celebrated in Lambaesis by a Triumph Arch.
As I have not taken a picture of this monument, I give here the picture of a stamp that was issued by the post-office in Algeria in the 30s (I was once a stamp collector!).
Tazoult-Lambèse is another Roman city standing only 20 km west to Timgad and 10 km east to Batna. When we arrived in Lambèse (or Lambèze), the weather was even worse than in Timgad. There was nobody on the site.
Lambaesis was a military town. A first 200 m x200 m camp was built in 81 AD by the Augusta 3rd legion. A second, larger one, was built a little later and a third one, not much later again. The place was inspected by Emperor Hadrian in 128 AD.
The photo shows what should be an entrance into the city and in the background (right) the remains of a temple (most probably not Esculape’s temple). In the further background (left) should be one of the two Public baths of the city.
Given that the weather was so bad and that we were in Timgad on our way to the desert, we did not spend much time to explore the city. In the small part we visited, we found some amazing carved tombstones.
On this one, a man clad in an elegantly hanged tunic put his right hand on top of "something". Is it a very young child on top of a small column? May be!
A young girl, naked with long hair is carved on the pediment (see enlargement on the second photo) between a scallop-shell and a pinecone. Strange! Is it Venus going out of the sea (scallop-shell) ?
Another tombstone shows a man in a tunic, holding a circular object on top of a very small building (a road mile stone?).
Is it an early Christian's tombstone? There is no cross anywhere. However, a ram eating corn is carved in the base on the tombstone (enlargement). I know a ram is not the usual Christian's lamb.
On the pediment, threes faces are carved (enlargement). One is a bearded man. Another has sun (?) rays escaping from his/her hair. Are they angels? Strange again.
Dee (VT Deecat) suggests that the bearded figure might be Zeus/Jupiter and the figure with sun rays Apollon. The figure on the left might then be the goddess Junon. May be, that makes sense!
"L'Enfant à l'Aiglon" (Children with a young eagle) is a bronze statue that was unearthed in 1906 in Tazoult/Lambèse. We have not seen it as it is on display in Algiers at the musée National des Antiquités, Parc de la Liberté, the oldest museum in Africa that opened in 1897.
I give here a photo of the stamps that were issued by the post office in Algeria in 1952.
A praetorium was originally the name of the headquarters of a Roman army. The praetorium was the commander's residence. Later, the praetorium was the residence of a procurator (governor) of a Roman province.
As Lambèse was built as a military town and became the capital of the province of Numidia, no wonder that it has a praetorium . It is the largest building in the city and the one kept in the best condition, as seen from the photo.
Around the military town, with its three camps, a civilian town developed and the municipium became a colonia and the capital of the province of Numidia. It had two Public baths, one in the military part of the town, the other in the civilian part.
The large building standing on the photo should be the ruins of one of these two Public baths.
The few documents available on Lambèse mention two temples, the Temple of Esculape and an unidentified temple.
There are few photos and plans available of Lambèse.
The photo shows what should be the remains of a temple. It is most probably not the temple built in the honor of Esculape as the only photo I have seen show a building that has a different look.
When, a little further, we made a U-turn, we almost got stuck in the soft muddy tuft! We were lucky to escape!
You can see on the right the temple that appeared in the background of the previous photo and on the left, what should be a Public bath.
On the base of another tombstone, that unfortunately, I have not photographed entirely, a bull has been carved.
I have been unable to find any clues on these tombstones and amazingly very little information on the whole site of Timgad.
The theater has kept only its stepped rows of seats. The wall behind the scene is down.
The photo gives also a general view of the town. It shows that only the basements and the columns of everything (temples, public baths, etc) has been kept but the plan of the city is very clear and untouched.
Timgad is situated at an elevation of 1070 m and when we visited the city, in early April, it was drizzling and a freezing wind blew! Given the conditions, we did not visit very thoroughly the town! The Trojan triumph arc is the taller building standing in the town. It is in good condition.
The theater is well preserved, during the summer a big festival is held on this theater with the participation of many algerians and arab singers, I hope that this will not affect the theater itself.
The empror Trajan founded the colony of Timgad around 100 A.D, The arch of Trajan is one of the most impressive architectural features in the roman city.