Sicca (Numidia) 11 El Kef

Sicca, Numidian crossroads city with theatre, other remains, modern el Kef, Tunisia
Hits: 11
Works: 8
Latitude: 36.182600
Longitude: 8.718000
Confidence: High

Place ID: 362087USic
Time period: HRL
Region: Numidia
Country: Tunisia
Department: Kef
Mod: El Kef

- Pleiades
- DARE

Modern Description: SICCA VENERIA: Against the S flank of Mt. Dyr, built high up, between 850 and 750 m, on a spur of the rock from which it draws its present name. It dominates the surrounding rich plains and controls the crossroads of the important artery which, coming from Carthage, divides to the W toward Constantine and to the SW toward Tebessa. A stronghold from the time of the independence of the Numidian princes, then a colony—among the first—under the Romans, a town with a bishop at the time of the triumph of the church, a Byzantine fortress, it has survived to the present in its role of metropolis of this region. One of the oldest references to it in ancient sources is Sallust's statement that the day after its defeat by Rome, Carthage exiled to Sicca the mercenaries who revolted. There is also a reference to the city's providing wheat for the victorious Marius. It is possible that when Nova Africa was created, Sicca was for a brief time its capital. The city is also known for having introduced the cult of Sicilian Venus Erycina. Apart from the unknown or destroyed remains, deeply buried under the present town, the following are the largest buildings or those integrated in the surviving structures. Outside the town: a small amphitheater and a theater situated near the Casbah; several sections of town walls fortified in the Byzantine era. The most important group is made up of a large hexagonal hall preceded by a double portico and forming part of important baths which have recently come to light. They were probably fed by the gigantic group of cisterns made up of 12 rooms with barrel vaults, remarkably preserved, which were served by springs coming from the mountain. Three other monuments: the basilica of Ksar el Ghoula, with mosaic-paved naves, partially explored in 1882; Dar el Kous, another basilica built in the grand style, utilized the component parts of what was probably a pagan temple. The apse 6 m wide is standing; the three naves are preceded by an atrium communicating by three doorways. The whole was paved with mosaic. It has been uncovered since the end of the 19th c. The present grand mosque of Le Kef, an edifice of great magnificence, is well preserved. It comprises a vast vaulted apse with vaulted rooms adjoining on each side, the lateral walls of which were indented by regular niches. This group of rooms opened on a peristyle court which, in the Arab period, was completely covered with vaults and a cupola, and converted into a prayer room. It has recently been restored. Some chance discoveries without precise context may be mentioned: a very extensive mosaic representing a scene in the amphitheater, as well as numerous statues and inscriptions which became the primary acquisitions of the Bardo Museum in Tunis. (PECS: A. ENNABLI)
Wikidata ID: Q2281073

Info: Princeton Encyclopedia

(Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, from Perseus Project)


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Author, Title Text Type Date Full Category Language

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