(Henchir Botria) Tunisia.
Forty-five km N of Sfax, some 10 km S of Cape Kaboudia.
The abandoned site, spread along the seashore, is identified by an inscription found there in 1947. This town
is mentioned several times in ancient sources. Presumably
founded by the Maltese, it later came under Carthaginian
rule. It took sides with Rome in the third Punic war. This
won it the status of a free city, and at the time of the
civil war it joined Caesar. It became a municipium under
Hadrian. The town soon experienced a period of great
prosperity, essentially because of the cultivation of olive
trees and its commerce by both land and sea routes. The
quality and richness of its mosaics bear witness to this
Of the pre-Roman era only a sanctuary is known, presumably the tophet, partially excavated in 1937. Largescale excavations, undertaken between 1947 and 1955,
revealed only Roman remains.
About 800 m from the sea the Baths of Trajan, of
which there remains a frigidarium
with a double apse,
was paved with a remarkable mosaic representing the
Triumph of Bacchus and the Dionysiac cycle, now in the
Bardo Museum at Tunis.
South of the town, the incomplete excavation as well
as the deterioration of the Baths of the Marine Revel,
constructed of very fragile material, permitted the decipherment only of the general plan. The mosaics alone
Apart from these two public buildings, several villas
have been excavated. The Villa of the Head of Oceanus,
situated 50 km E of the baths, included some rooms
paved in mosaic of which one represented the seasons.
Another with painted walls was decorated with a satyr
and nymphs with an Eros and panther. A head of Oceanus
decorated a semicircular fountain.
In the Villa of the Triumph of Neptune, excavated
in 1954, a portico of a peristyle had three semicircular
fountains paved with marine scenes in mosaic. Opposite
was a room also paved with a fine mosaic representing
a Bacchic troop of revelers and a Triumph of Neptune.
The House of Asinius Rufinus was also arranged
around a peristyle. The rooms opened on galleries, one
of which was paved with a mosaic showing Herakles
and his Labors. In one of these rooms an inscription
was found, mentioning the cursus honorum of Asinius
Rufinus, native senator of Acholla, who built (or probably bought) the villa in A.D. 184, the year Commodus named him consul. The cycle of Herakles in mosaic commemorates the kinship of the emperor with the divine
hero. In the Villa with the Red Columns, one room of
which is decorated with still-life paintings, excavation
has not been completed. In all these edifices, ingenuity
and finesse in plan and decoration are coupled with
mediocrity of construction: walls of unbaked brick
raised on a masonry foundation coated with stucco and
A public square paved with flagstones is situated
nearly at the center of the site. Bordered on the E by
the Baths of Trajan, on the N by the house of Asinius
Rufinus; it is identified as the forum, but it has not
been completely excavated.
From the Christian period, a baptistery with double
apse survives and several tombs, the epitaphs of which
were in mosaic.
(1928) 86-88; (1938) 151; (1946-47) 300-6, 381; (1954) 113-15; G. Picard in CRAI
(1947) 557-62; (1953) 322; Etudes d'archéologie classiques, Nancy
2 (1959) 75-95MPI
; Antiquités Africaines
2 (1968) 95-151MPI