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MADAUROS (Mdaourouch) Algeria.

Twenty-five km from Thagasta and 900 m above sea-level, the town is built on undulating terrain. According to Apuleius, a native, Madauros was founded in the 3d c. B.C. It belonged to King Syphax and subsequently formed part of Massinissa's realm. A colony of veterans was established there; it was probably called Colonia Flavia Augusta Veteranorum Madaurensium and already existed under Nerva. Dependent on the legate of the Third Legion, Madauros was assigned to Carthage during the Late Empire. It became an important intellectual center with numerous schools—St. Augustine studied there—but not a city of great size. The patrician Solomon ordered the construction of a Byzantine fortress (A.D. 535).

In spite of the excavations from 1905 to 1923, it is difficult to reestablish the plan of the site, much disturbed by Byzantine and Berber constructions. There are numerous monuments: forum, theater, two baths, mausolea, basilicas, four arches, some ten sanctuaries, churches, the Byzantine fortress, and important oil-pressing establishments.

The forum is rectangular, almost square (32.4 x 27 and 28.5 m). It is surrounded by paved porticos and built on a gentle slope, so earth fill had to be brought and retaining walls built. The limestone flagging was renewed in the 3d c. Nearby was a basilica with one nave (19.9 x 7.8 m), of Late Empire date.

The theater was built in the immediate vicinity of the forum against its W portico; thus, an arcade-lobby was not required. Contrary to frequent practice in antiquity, the convex part of the edifice is on the downhill side of the natural slope of the terrain; the semicircle had to be supported by a large wall and the tiers of seats placed on a completely artificial core. Accordingly, in spite of its small size (width: 33 m) it cost 375,000 sesterces. The theater was built through the generosity of the flamen M. Gabinius Sabinus, and probably dates from Severan times. It has a central entry at the same level as the orchestra, an arrangement unique in North Africa but found at Ostia. A portico borders the top of the cavea. The stage is 20.25 x 4 m deep; on either side is a parascenium of ashlar paved with flagstones.

Two public baths, very carefully constructed, are found near one another to the N of the town. The walls are of carefully cemented quarry stone; all rooms were vaulted. The large baths measured 39 x 41 m and included a vestibule, hallway, semicircular latrines, frigidarium, caldarium, two bathing pools, and several other rooms of various sizes. The small baths, 15 to 25 m to the NW of the above, measured 30.2 x 33.8 m. These are no doubt summer and winter baths respectively and probably date to the beginning of the 3d c. A secular basilica was discovered near the large baths.

A Christian basilica (34 x 7.8 to 8.1 m) is found 120 m to the SE of the large baths. Another basilica was situated outside the Roman town. Both are no earlier than the 5th c.

The Byzantine fortress is well preserved, standing in places as high as 10 m. It was partly built on the forum with materials from it.


S. Gsell, Atlas archéologique de l'Algérie (1906) 18, Souk-Arrhas, no. 432MP; and C. A. Joly, Khamissa, Mdaourouch, Announa (1922)PI; L. Leschi, Algérie antique (1952)MI; E. Frézouls, “Teatri romani dell'Africa francese,” Dioniso 15 (1952) 95-96.


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