Leptis Magna, Libya.

Steven Sklifas

On the northwestern coast of Libya, the extensive archaeological site of Leptis Magna is one of the most splendid and unspoiled Roman sites in the Mediterranean. The ancient city encompasses some of the finest Roman monuments that were ever built.

Founded by the Phoenicians at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, the colony existed without real influence until the 4th century BC when Carthage became a Mediterranean force. The town eventually became part of the Roman Republic (and then Roman Empire) and it was integrated in to the province of Africa around 46 BC. The city was expanded and became a major trading centre and leading city of Roman Africa during the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus and Tiberius.

The city reached its glorious pinnacle during the reign of Lucius Septimius Severus (193-211 AD), who was born there and the first Roman Emperor to be from Africa (he was…

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