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NORA Sardinia, Italy.

An ancient city SW of Cagliari on the promontory that ends in Capo di Pula. It is mentioned by the geographers (Ptol. 3.3.3, It. Ant. 85, Tab. Peut.), Pausanias (10.17.5); and Solinus (Coll. Rer. Memorab. 4.2) attributed the foundation of the city to Iberians under the guidance of the mythical king Norace. An inscription from the end of the 9th c. B.C., however, preserves a record of the city's founding by Phoenicians coming from Cyprus. Like the rest of N Sardinia, Nora fell to the Carthaginians at the end of the 6th c. B.C., and in the 3d c. B.C. to Rome. Both in the Punic period and in Roman Republican times Nora's preeminence among Sardinian cities was unchallenged until Cagliari assumed the official title of municipium Iulium and became the residence of the governors of the island. In Imperial times Nora was a municipium ruled by quattuorviri iure dicundo and by decurions. The city declined during the Vandal invasions and was last mentioned by the Ravenna Geographer (5.25).

The Punic necropolis, on the isthmus that joins Capo di Pula with the island, contains pit tombs cut in the rock and is rich in funerary material. Near the beach behind the present church of S. Efisio, is a tophet from Hellenistic times. The habitation zone extended along the peninsula, with houses lining the present beach. On higher ground in the center of the peninsula is the square foundation of a temple dedicated to Tanit, and lower down another sacred zone is indicated by a foundation in squared masonry. Under Roman domination the plan of the habitation area became more precise, although the irregularity of the street axes which follow the routes of earlier paths persisted. Roman streets coming from the various sectors converge toward the Tanit temple. The forum is near the sea in the depression that extends to the E of the cliff of Coltellazzo. The theater (1st c. A.D.) is built of sandstone. Its cavea is divided into four radial sections and two maeniani. The orchestra has a mosaic pavement and the front of the pulpitum is articulated in curved and squared niches. In the hyposcenium are preserved four large jars used as part of the acoustical equipment. Nothing remains of the frons scaenae; the porticus post scaenam looked out on one of the city streets. There are also a nymphaeum and two large bath complexes. Only the major bathing establishments have been completely excavated. Although they were constructed on a grandiose scale and richly decorated, the plan is not clearly articulated. The rooms are arranged in a circular pattern; and the frigidarium the tepidarium, and the apoditerium have mosaic pavements. Along the shore to the NW were luxurious houses, for example, the tetrastyle House of the Atrium. There is a complex of sanctuaries of various periods at Sa punta de su coloru, from which comes a Hellenistic period votive stipe from the 2d c. B.C. An aqueduct existed of which very little remains. The material from the excavations is housed in the National Museum at Cagliari.


G. Patroni, Mon. Ant. dei Lincei 14 (1904)MPI; G. Pesce, Nora (1957)MPI; id., EAA 5 (1963) 540ff; G. Maetzke, Boll. del Centro per la Storia dell Arch. 17 (1961) 53,56.


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