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AGGAR (Henchir Sidi Amara) Tunisia.

Until the Dorsale could be crossed by road between Mactar and Kairouan, the way between the N regions of Siliana, Sers, and Le Kef, and the basins of El Ala, Ousseltia, and Kairouan to the S lay over one of the very few passes in the continuous chain formed by the Jebels Barbrou, Kesra, Bellota, and Serj. At this pass—Foum el Afrit—several roads converged before crossing the Dorsale; the pass was used continually in every period and, up to recent times, by nomads moving their flocks. In antiquity it was dominated by an important city, Aggar; today all that is left of it is ruins, with the Sidi Amara marabout overlooking them. Aggar appears in the Peutinger Table between Althiburos and Thysdrus, halfway between Uzappa and Aqua Regia; it is also mentioned by Arab writers who refer to it as a station on the road from Jelloula to Lorbeus. Proof of the importance of this highway is the fine bridge on the wadi Jilf, on the other side of the pass. The city's identification is confirmed by certain inscriptions.

At the beginning of the 3d c., Aggar was still a municipium (CIL VIII, 14), to become a colonia later. Situated at the outlet of the rocky pass and backed against the S flank of the mountain, it enjoys a favorable position from which it overlooks the immense basin of the wadi Marouf and Bahir ech Chiha (formerly Behir Aggar), which is bounded to the SE by the Ousselet and to the S by the Trozza.

The ruins are fairly extensive and have not been excavated. A Byzantine citadel can be made out; it is 30 m square with square, slightly projecting towers at the corners. This fortress was put up on the site of a large monument that has been identified as a Temple of Juno; a great arcade is still standing. To the right is a triumphal gate, only the piers of which remain. It led to a large porticoed square (whose fallen columns are still lodged in the ground) with a temple behind it. These are, presumably, the capitol and forum. Adjoining the citadel is a temple (undetermined) that stands SE of the city. On its SE facade the monumental gate gives onto a courtyard surrounded by a portico. In the plain at the foot of the mountain stands the two-tiered mausoleum of C. Marius Romanius (Ksar Khima); the roofing is almost intact. Some 1500 m farther W, on the other side of the pass, is the aforementioned bridge over the wadi Jilf, six of whose ten original arches are still preserved.


Nouv Arch 4 (1893) 387-89I.


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