دقة (تونس)

( Dougga )

Dougga or Thugga or TBGG was a Berber, Punic and Roman settlement near present-day Téboursouk in northern Tunisia. The current archaeological site covers 65 hectares (160 acres). UNESCO qualified Dougga as a World Heritage Site in 1997, believing that it represents "the best-preserved Roman small town in North Africa". The site, which lies in the middle of the countryside, has been protected from the encroachment of modern urbanization, in contrast, for example, to Carthage, which has been pillaged and rebuilt on numerous occasions. Dougga's size, its well-preserved monuments and its rich Numidian-Berber, Punic, ancient Roman, and Byzantine history make it exceptional. Amongst the most famous monuments at the site are a Libyco-Punic Mausoleum, the Capitol, the Roman theatre, and the temples of Saturn and of Juno Caelestis.

Dougga's history is best known from the time of the Roman conquest, even though numerous pre-Roman monuments, including a necropolis, a mausoleum, and several temples have been discovered during archaeological digs. These monuments are an indication of the site's importance before the arrival of the Romans.

Berber Kingdom  Remains of the walls built in Late Antiquity, once believed to be Numidian fortifications

The city appears to have been founded in the 6th century BC.[1] Some historians believe that Dougga is the city of Tocae (Greek: Τοκαί, Tokaí), which was captured by a lieutenant of Agathocles of Syracuse at the end of the 4th century BC;[2] Diodorus of Sicily described Tocae as "a city of beautiful grandeur".[1]

Dougga was in any case an early and important human settlement. Its urban character is evidenced by the presence of a necropolis with dolmens, the most ancient archaeological find at Dougga, a sanctuary dedicated to Ba'al Hammon, neo-Punic steles, a mausoleum, architectural fragments, and a temple dedicated to Masinissa, the remains of which were found during archaeological excavations. Even though our knowledge of the city before the Roman conquest remains very limited, recent archaeological finds have revolutionized the image that we had of this period.

The identification of the temple dedicated to Masinissa beneath the forum disproved Louis Poinssot's theory that the Numidian city stood on the plateau but that it was separate from the newer Roman settlement. The temple, which was erected in the tenth year of Micipsa's reign (139 BC), is 14 m × 6.3 m (46 ft × 21 ft) wide. It proves that the area around the forum was already built upon before the arrival of the Roman colonists.[1] A building dating to the 2nd century BC has also been discovered nearby. Similarly, Dougga's mausoleum is not isolated but stands within an urban necropolis.

Recent finds have disproved earlier theories about the so-called "Numidian walls". The walls around Dougga are in fact not Numidian; they are part of the city's fortifications erected in late antiquity. Targeted digs have also proven that what had been interpreted as two Numidian towers in the walls are in fact two funeral monuments from the Numidian era reused much later as foundations and a section of defences.[3]

The discovery of Libyan and Punic inscriptions at the site provoked a debate on the administration of the city at the time of the Kingdom of Numidia. The debate—about the interpretation of epigraphic sources—focussed on the question of whether the city was still under Punic influence or whether it was increasingly Berber.[4][5] Local Berber institutions distinct from any form of Punic authority arose from the Numidian period onwards,[6] but Camps notes that Punic shofets were still in place in several cities, including Dougga, during the Roman era,[7] which is a sign of continuing Punic influence and the preservation of certain elements of Punic civilization well after the fall of Carthage.

Roman Empire  Dougga Theater Ruins amongst Dougga's olive trees

The Romans granted Dougga the status of an indigenous city (Latin: civitas) following their conquest of the region.[8]

The creation of the colony of Carthage during the reign of Augustus complicated Dougga's institutional status. The city was included in the territory (pertica) of the Roman colony, but around this time, a community (pagus) of Roman colonists also arose alongside the existing settlement. For two centuries, the site was thus governed by two civic and institutional bodies: the city with its peregrini and the pagus with its Roman citizens. Both had Roman civic institutions: magistrates and a council (ordo) of decurions for the city, a local council from the end of the 1st century AD, and local administrators for the pagus, who were legally subordinated to the distant but powerful colony of Carthage. In addition, epigraphic evidence indicates that a Punic-style dual magistracy, the sufetes, achieved some civic stature here well into the imperial period. In fact, the city once had three magistrates serve at once, a relative rarity in the Mediterranean.[9]

Over time, the romanization of the city brought the two communities closer together. Notable members of the peregrini increasingly adopted Roman culture and behavior, became Roman citizens, and the councils of the two communities began to take decisions in unison. The increasing closeness of the communities was facilitated at first by their geographic proximity—there was no physical distinction between their two settlements—and then later by institutional arrangements. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the city was granted Roman law; from this moment onward, the magistrates automatically received Roman citizenship and the rights of the city's inhabitants became similar to those of the Roman citizens. During the same era, the pagus won a certain degree of autonomy from Carthage; it was able to receive bequests and administer public funds.

Nonetheless, it was not until AD 205, during the reign of Septimius Severus, that the two communities came together as one municipality (municipium), made "free" (see below) while Carthage's pertica was reduced. The city was supported by the euergetism of its great families of wealthy individuals, which sometimes reached exorbitant levels, while its interests were successfully represented by appeals to the emperors. Dougga's development culminated during the reign of Gallienus, when it obtained the status of a separate Roman colony.

Dougga's monuments attest to its prosperity in the period from the reign of Diocletian to that of Theodosius I,[10] but it fell into a sort of stupor from the 4th century. The city appears to have experienced an early decline, as evidenced by the relatively poor remains of Christianity.[10] The period of Byzantine rule saw the area around the forum transformed into a fort; several important buildings were destroyed in order to provide the necessary materials for its construction.


Dougga was never completely abandoned following the Muslim invasions of the area. For a long time, Dougga remained the site of a small village populated by the descendants of the city's former inhabitants, as evidenced by the small mosque situated in the Temple of August Piety and the small bath dating to the Aghlabid period on the southern flank of the forum.

Archaeological work

The first Western visitors to have left eyewitness accounts of the ruins reached the site in the 17th century. This trend continued in the 18th century and at the start of the 19th century.[11] The best-preserved monuments, including the mausoleum, were described and, at the end of this period, were the object of architectural studies.

The establishment of France's Tunisian protectorate in 1881 led to the creation of a national antiquities institute (French: Institut national du patrimoine), for which the excavation of the site at Dougga was a priority from 1901, parallel to the works carried out at Carthage. The works at Dougga concentrated at first on the area around the forum; other discoveries ensured that there was an almost constant series of digs at the site until 1939. Alongside these excavations, work was conducted to restore the capitol, of which only the front and the base of the wall of the cella were still standing, and to restore the mausoleum, particularly between 1908 and 1910 .[11]

After Tunisia's independence, other buildings were excavated, including the Temple of Caracalla's Victory in Germany. During the same period, the last inhabitants of the site were evicted and relocated to a village located on the plain several kilometers from the antique site, which is named New Dougga. In 1991, the decision was taken to make the site into a national archaeological park. A cooperative scientific programme aims in particular to promote the study of the inscriptions at the site and the pagan temples. In 1997, Dougga was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Despite its importance and its exceptional state, Dougga remains off the beaten track for many tourists and receives only about 50,000 visitors per year. In order to make it more attractive, the construction of an on-site museum is being considered, while the national antiquities institute has established a website presenting the site and the surrounding region.[12] For the time being, visitors with sufficient time can appreciate Dougga, not only because of its many ruins but also for its olive groves, which give the site a unique ambiance.

^ a b c Mustapha Khanoussi, « L'évolution urbaine de Thugga (Dougga) en Afrique proconsulaire : de l'agglomération numide à la ville africo-romaine », CRAI, 2003, pp. 131-155 ^ Cite error: The named reference camps2522 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Mustapha Khanoussi, « L'évolution urbaine de Thugga (Dougga) en Afrique proconsulaire : de l'agglomération numide à la ville africo-romaine », pp. 131-143 ^ Gabriel Camps, « Dougga », L'Encyclopédie berbère, pp. 2522-2527 ^ Gabriel Camps, Les Berbères, mémoire et identité, coll. Babel, éd. Actes Sud/Leméac, Paris/Montréal, 2007, pp. 299-300 ^ Gabriel Camps, « Dougga », L'Encyclopédie berbère, p. 2525 ^ Gabriel Camps, Les Berbères, mémoire et identité, p. 300 ^ Collectif, L'Afrique romaine. 69-439, éd. Atlande, Neuilly-sur-Seine, 2006, p. 309 ^ Ilẹvbare, J.A. (June 1974). "The Impact of the Carthaginians and the Romans on the Administrative System of the Maghreb Part I". Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria. 7 (2): 187–197. JSTOR 41857007. ^ a b Collectif, L'Afrique romaine. 69-439, p. 310 ^ a b Exploration et collections du site de Dougga (Strabon)[permanent dead link] ^ Portail de Dougga (Ministère de la culture et de la sauvegarde du patrimoine) Archived 2009-04-03 at the Wayback Machine
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