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HADRUMETUM (Sousse) Tunisia.

An ancient coastal city, situated on the bay of Hammamet and at the edge of the fertile region of Sahel, Hadrumetum drew its fortune from the advantages its position provided: the agriculture of its hinterland and Mediterranean commerce.

A town constantly inhabited and always lively, to judge from the vestiges of antiquity buried under the accumulation of strata, it offers to the visitor today only a few ancient monuments: some paved with mosaics, especially the catacombs, as well as some traces brought to light by chance.

Few of the ruins have survived but the objects (ceramics, statues, inscriptions, and especially the mosaics) have been preserved in the Bardo Museum at Tunis and principally the Sousse Museum.

A Punic settlement, the city developed along the edge of its harbor; only the tophet has been located. It was partially excavated in 1944; the stelae and funerary urns are exhibited in a room of the museum. Several Punic tombs have also been discovered.

Having abandoned Carthage at the time of the last Punic war, Hadrumetum was rewarded by Rome with the status of free town. For its support of Pompey, it was heavily fined by Caesar after his victory at Thapsus. With the Empire, it experienced great economic development, evidence of which is found in the richness of its houses and more particularly in its mosaics. The Vergil mosaic is the most famous. This prosperity is explained by the elevation of the town to the status of colony under Trajan.


L. Foucher, Hadrumetum (1964)PI; La maison des masques à Sousse (1965)PI; Guide du musée de Sousse2 (1967)I.


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