TRIPOLI (Ancient city) LIBYA
Oea (Pomp. Mela, i. 7. § 5; Oeensis civitas, Plin. v. 4; Tac. Hist. iv. 50; Solin. 27; Amm. Marc. xxviii. 6; Eoa, Ptol. iv. 3. § 12), a town in the district of the Syrtes, which, with Leptis Magna, and Sabrata, formed the African Tripolis. Although there had probably been an old Phoenician factory here, yet, from the silence of Scylax and Strabo, the foundation of the Roman colony ( Oeea colonia, Itin. Anton.) must be assigned to the middle of the first century after Christ. It flourished under the Romans until the fourth century, when it was greatly injured by the Libyan Ausuriani. (Amm. Marc. l. c.) At the Saracen invasion it would seem that a new town sprung up on the ruins of Oea, which assumed the Roman name of the district--the modern Tripoli; Trablis, the Moorish name of the town, is merely the same word articulated through the medium of Arab pronunciation. At Tripoli there is a very perfect marble triumphal arch dedicated to M. Aurelius Antoninus and L. Aurelius Verus, which will be found beautifully figured in Captain Lyons Travels in N. Africa, p. 18. Many other Roman remains have been found here, especially glass urns, some of which have been sent to England.
For some time it was thought that a coin of Antoninus, with the epigraph COL. AVG. OCE., was to be referred to this town. (Eckhel, vol. iv. p. 131.) Its right to claim this is now contested. (Duchalais, Restitution a Olbasa de Pisidie, a Jerusalem et aux Contrees Occ. de la Haute Asie de trois Moonnaies Coloniales attributes a Ocea, Revue Numismatique, 1849, pp. 97-103; Beechey, Exped. to the Coast of Africa, pp. 24-32; Barth, Wanderungen, pp. 294, 295, 391.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
The district on the northern coast of Africa between the two Syrtes, comprising the three cities of Sabrata (or Abrotonum), Oea, and Leptis Magna, and also called Tripolitana Regio.
The central one of the three cities (treis poleis) that gave the region
its name. Founded as a trading station by the Carthaginians beside a small natural
harbor, it prospered under Roman rule. In late antiquity its location in a fertile
coastal oasis saved it to some extent from the rapid decline of its neighbors,
and after the Arab conquest of A.D. 643 it was chosen to be the military and administrative
capital of the whole territory between the two Syrtes. The heart of the Classical
city, enclosed within its late antique walls, has been continuously occupied ever
since, obliterating all but a few remains of the Roman town.
The principal surviving monument is an elaborately ornamental quadrifrons archway dedicated to M. Aurelius and L. Verus in A.D. 163, the central stone dome of which was carried on flat slabs laid across the angles and was concealed externally within the masonry of an attic, now destroyed. Early drawings show this attic in turn supporting a circular pavilion, but this seems to have been a later Islamic addition. The arch stood at the intersection of the two main streets of the town and the adjoining streets and alleyways of the post-Classical town incorporate many elements of an orthogonal street plan. Near the arch are the remains of a temple dedicated to the Genius Colonine (A.D. 183-85), and the forum probably lay nearby. There was a monumental bath on or near the site of the present castle. The city walls, demolished in 1913, incorporated long stretches of the late antique defenses.
Near the base of the W harbor mole was found a Punic and Roman cemetery, and scattered burials, including a small Jewish catacomb (now destroyed), have come to light towards the E, under the modern town. In and near the oasis are the remains of several villas, with mosaics; also two Christian cemeteries, one of the 5th c. at Ain Zara, and one of the 10th c., at En-Ngila.
The archaeological museum, housed in the castle, contains antiquities from the whole of Tripolitania except Sabratha. The fine series of sculpture from Leptis Magna includes the Julio-Claudian group from the Forum Vetus and the figured panels of the Severan Arch. Other notable exhibits are the mosaics and the Romano-Libyan sculpture from Ghirza.
J. B. Ward-Perkins, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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