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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.