Leptis Magna

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Leptis Magna


(Lepcis Magna), an ancient city on the Mediterranean Sea in Libya, near the modern city of Horns (Al Khums). Founded by the Phoenicians in the seventh century B.C., Leptis Magna was ruled by Carthage from the sixth to the end of the third century B.C. After the Second Punic War (218–201 B.C.), it was seized by the Numidians, and in 107 B.C. by the Romans. The city flourished at the end of the second century A.D. In the seventh to the 11th century, as a result of Arab conquests and the gradual filling of the harbor by sand, the city gradually became deserted.

Numerous monuments from Roman times have been preserved, including a theater (first century), the ruins of thermae (113–127, reconstructed in the late second century; the central hall was decorated with statues, and the floors with mosaics), the remains of a colonnaded street leading to the port (late second century to the early third), a triumphal arch (about 203), and the ruins of mosaic-ornamented villas. A large circus and an amphitheater were found outside the city. Archaeological investigations were conducted in the 1920’s.


“Obzor arkheologicheskikh otkrytii v oblasti Zapadnogo Sredizemnomor’ia.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1939, no. 1.
Gerkan, A. von. Leptis Magna. Rome, 1942.
Leptis Magna. Rome, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Leptis Magna in northwestern Libya has been able to escape vandalism thanks to local history fans and relative security at its location near the city of Misrata.
The subject is the Roman Libyan city of Leptis Magna.
Hubs of trade and scholarship in Libya -- including the municipalities of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Oea that formed the three-city zone, or
Crossing from Tunisia into Libya, there was an abundance of Roman remains.Sabratha is noted for the layout of its Roman city with temples, a toilet seating about sixty people and a theatre with a good stage and carved stage buildings on three levels, but it was Leptis Magna, one of the major Roman cities, which was the most spectacular.
It is home to many historic and archaeological sites including five UNESCO world heritage sites at the Roman Empire outpost Leptis Magna and the Greek Hellenic city of Cyrene.
We spent many hours with our Libyan consultants, who provided us with the opportunity to see much of Tripoli and its surrounding areas, including the ancient Roman city of Leptis Magna, which lies just outside of Tripoli.
High on the list are some of the most spectacular Roman ruins to be found anywhere in the Mediterranean basin, the most prominent of which are at Leptis Magna, some 80 miles east of Tripoli.
One company, Sherwes Travel, already advertises a three-day, 295-euro tour of "post-war Libya" on its website, featuring visits to sites in Tripoli and to the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna. Employees admit it may be a bit optimistic.
The LFIC was also using its international experience to promote other projects in Libya, including a chain of six tourist hotels across the country - notably in Tripoli, Sabha and Ghadames, one each near the ancient Roman cities of Leptis Magna and Subratha and one near the ancient Greek city of Cyrene.
The Libyan rebels fear that the Gaddafi regime could try to hide rocket launchers at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Leptis Magna, which is located between Tripoli and the rebel-held town of Misrata.
Today's films are "Leptis Magna: Rome in Africa," about the third largest city in the Roman Empire; and "Samucha: The Last Journey of a Shepherd," the story of the last drive of 2,000 sheep across the high Caucasus Mountains by a still-living shepherd.
The west of the country, which is still controlled by the "iconic" leader, boasts two fine Roman cities, Leptis Magna and Sabratha, while sites in the rebel-held east retain countless vestiges of the Greek world.