Thuburbo MAIUS (Fig 18)
Thuburbo Maius is some 30-40 kms. from the coast and 50 kms. from Tunis. It was a Berber-Carthaginian settlement before the Romans arrived. The town’s public buildings date from the great imperial era of the 2nd to 3rd centuries AD, They consist of the Forum, Temple of Mercury and the Market, the Palaestra of the Petronii and the Summer Baths. Thuburbo Maius was the first site visited in Tunisia to provide larger amounts of cipollino.


The Forum
It is in the Forum that there are columns of cipollino. To the northeast of the Capitol building there are two standing columns. One measures 6m. /20.27 Rf high including the base, plinth and collar, but not the Corinthian capital. The diameter is .60 m. /2.02 Rf. The second standing column with the same base and plinth, measures 5 m. /16.89 Rf high and .60 m,/2.02 Rf in diameter, has a broken shaft and no capital (Plates 6.15A & 6.15B). In the opposite corner of the forum are five columns. One column, with the surface of the column badly worn, measures 5 m. /21.95 Rf high and .50/1.68 Rf in diameter. They all have a concave scotia base, square plinth and three have Corinthian capitals. The next column measures 6 m. high/20.27 Rf and .45 m. /1.52 Rf in diameter. The third also measures 6 m. /20.27 Rf in height and .45 m. /1.52 Rf in diameter and is cemented at the bottom. The last two columns have broken shafts, one measuring 2.2 m. /7.43 Rf high and the shaft broken at 1.7 m. /5.7 Rf, the other 1 m. /3.37Rf in height with the shaft broken at a lower level. They have a base but no capitals (Plate 6.16A & 6.16B).


In the third and western corner of the Forum there are several pieces of cipollino lying on the ground. One piece is 2.5 m. /8.44 Rf long and .30 /1.01 Rf in diameter, another .70 m. /2.36 Rf long and .30 m. /1.01 Rf in diameter, a third, and very broken piece is 2 m. /6.75 Rf long and .30 m. /1 Rf in diameter (Plate 6.17).

The Baths
The summer baths have a colonnade of 12-13 standing columns of local limestone faced with lime. The columns in the Winter Baths are of Numidian marble but there is one small piece of cipollino in a cistern.

Maps and Plates

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Fig 18 Plan of Thuburbo Maius

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Plates 6.15A & 6.15 B Two cipollino columns, one complete, with Corinthian capital, and one with broken top, in the Forum, northeast of the Capitol, Thuburbo Maius.

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Plates 6.15A & 6.15 B Two cipollino columns, one complete, with Corinthian capital, and one with broken top, in the Forum, northeast of the Capitol, Thuburbo Maius.

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Plates 6.16A & 6.16B Five cipollino columns, three complete and with Corinthian capitals, and two broken, in the southern corner of the Forum, Thuburbo Maius.

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Plates 6.16A & 6.16B Five cipollino columns, three complete and with Corinthian capitals, and two broken, in the southern corner of the Forum, Thuburbo Maius.

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Plate 6.17 Three pieces of broken cipollino lying on the ground in the third and western corner of the Forum, Thuburbo Maius.