HSAR 252 - Lecture 18 - Hometown Boy: Honoring an Emperor's Roots in Roman North Africa

Lecture 18 - Hometown Boy: Honoring an Emperor's Roots in Roman North Africa


Professor Kleiner discusses two Roman cities in North Africa: Timgad and Leptis Magna. Timgad was created as an entirely new colony for Roman army veterans by Trajan in A.D. 100, and designed all at once as an ideal castrum plan. Leptis Magna, conversely, grew more gradually from its Carthaginian roots, experiencing significant Roman development under Augustus and Hadrian. Septimius Severus, the first Roman emperor from North Africa, was born at Leptis and his hometown was renovated in connection with his historic visit to the city. This large-scale program of architectural expansion features the Severan Forum and Basilica and the nearby Arch of Septimius Severus, atetrapylon or four-sided arch located at the crossing of two major streets. The lecture culminates with the unique Hunting Baths, a late second or early third-century structure built for a group of entrepreneurs who supplied exotic animals to Rome's amphitheaters. Its intimate vaulted spaces are revealed on the outside of the building and silhouetted picturesquely against the sea, suggesting that the bath's owners knew how to innovate through concrete architecture and how to enjoy life.


The lectures in HSAR 252 are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection, along with others from a variety of sources, especially Wikimedia Commons, Google Earth, and Yale University Press. Some plans and views have been redrawn for this project.


Ward-Perkins, John B. Roman Imperial Architecture, pp. 370-413

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