Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna was a thriving city of the Roman Empire, whose ruins are located in Al Khums, Libya, 130 km east of Tripoli. It was one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire due to Septimius Severus, who developed and embellished it with important public buildings, a port, a market, warehouses, shops and residential neighborhoods.

After the Punic period, Leptis was incorporated into the empire as part of the Roman province of Africa, becoming the third most important city in Roman Africa. Septimius Severus, born in Leptis, would favor his hometown and support its development. Leptis Magna’s palace was built at this time. During the crisis of the third century BC, with the decline of trade in the Roman Empire, the importance of Leptis Magna also fell. In the middle of the fourth century, the main parts of the city had been abandoned.

Because of military anarchy, Leptis Magna and surrounding cities were unprotected. In 439 the Vandals invaded the Roman Empire and founded a kingdom in North Africa, with Carthage as its capital. Leptis Magna became part of the Kingdom of the Vandals. In 534 the Byzantine general Belisarius recaptured Leptis Magna and destroyed the kingdom of the Vandals. The city was annexed to the Byzantine Empire, and Leptis Magna converted the capital of the province, but never recovered from the destruction caused by the Berbers and Vandals.

In 650 the Arabs dominated the Tripolitania. The Arab invasion, which quickly reached North Africa after the defeat of Byzantium against Muslims, concluded the process of decline of a large and important network of large cities. The sand starts to invade Leptis. The prestige and the sumptuousness of its construction materials will become a source of profit. Part of the marbles of the Palace of Versailles were taken from Leptis. Since the 1920s the place was systematically excavated.