In the medina in Tripoli there is cipollino at the corner of ZGT G. DARGUT where there is a cipollino column set into the wall measuring 3.4 m. /11.48 Rf high and .22 m. /.74 Rf in diameter (Plate 5.38) .
The Arch of Aurelius is made of blocks of marble including some fragments of cipollino, and outside the Museum there is a fragment of a large cipollino column. Inside the museum there is a medium size complete column
The amount of cipollino found in the ancient Roman cities of Libya is greater than in any of the others visited, with the exception of Rome, with its 511 pieces recorded by Faustino Corsi. These cities are in a more complete state than most of the others in the empire. It was therefore the more disturbing to read the claim by rebel leaders that, in June 2011, ‘during his battle with the opponents of his government, Gaddafi has taken over the ruins of Leptis Magna as a base for operations’. The claim is that ‘there are more than five Grad rocket-launcher trucks among the ruins. They are inside the old buildings because they know that Nato will never destroy the area. Rebel leaders also claimed that munitions, including hundreds of Grad rockets, were being stored by government forces amid the ruins’. 21
In March 2011 The Times correspondent, Martin Fletcher, produced the following entry, ‘Monday, February 28, we visited Sabratha, another contested town. When we stop at the nearby Roman ruins a regime rent-a-mob follows us. Soon it is rampaging all over one of the world’s finest surviving Roman theatres, stamping and chanting Gaddafi slogans on an 1,800-year-old stage.’22
21 The Times, Tuesday, June 14, 2011, p. 3.
22 The Times, Saturday, March 12, 2011, p. 40.
Maps and Plates
Plate 5.38 The author standing next to a cipollino column in the Medina, Tripoli.