Hadrumetum - Encyclopedia

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HADRUMETUM, a town of ancient Africa on the southern extremity of the sinus Neapolitanus (mod. Gulf of Hammamet) on the east coast of Tunisia. The site is partly occupied by the modern town of Susa. The form of the name Hadrumetum varied much in antiquity; the Greeks called it ASpbµns, 'ASpbµnros, 'ASpa o rns, ASpaµn-ros: the Romans Adrumetum, Adrimetum, Hadrumetum, Hadrymetum, &c.; inscriptions and coins gave Hadrumetum. The town was originally a Phoenician colony founded by Tyrians long before Carthage (Sallust, Jug. 19). It became subject to Carthage, but lost none of its prosperity. Often mentioned during the Punic Wars, it was captured by Agathocles in 310, and was the refuge of Hannibal and the remnants of his army after the battle of Zama in 202. During the last Punic War it gave assistance to the Romans; after the fall of Carthage in 146 it received an accession of territory and the title of civitas libera (Appian, Punica, xciv.; C.I.L. i. p. 84). Caesar landed there in 46 B.C. on his way to the victory of Thapsus (De bello Afric. iii.; Suetonius, Div. Jul. lix.).

In the organization of the African provinces Hadrumetum became a capital of the province of Byzacena. Its harbour was extremely busy and the surrounding country unusually fertile. Trajan made it a Latin colony under the title of Colonia Concordia Ulpia Trajana Augusta Frugifera Hadrumetina; a dedication to the emperor Gordian the Good, found by M. Cagnat at Susa in 1883 gives these titles to the town, and at the same time identifies it with Susa. Quarrels arose between Hadrumetum and its neighbour Thysdrus in connexion with the temple of Minerva situated on the borders of their respective territories (Frontinus, Gromatici,ed.Lachmannus,p. 57);Vespasian when pro-consul of Africa had to repress a sedition among its inhabitants (Suetonius, Vesp. iv.; Tissot, Fastes de la prov. d'Afrique, p. 66); it was the birthplace of the emperor Albinus. At this period the metropolis of Byzacena was after Carthage the most important town in Roman Africa. It was the seat of a bishopric, and its bishops are mentioned at the councils of 258, 348,393 and even later. Destroyed by the Vandals in 434 it was rebuilt by Justinian and renamed Justinianopolis (Procop. De aedif. vi. 6). The Arabic invasion at the end of the 7th century destroyed the Byzantine towns, and the place became the haunt of pirates, protected by the Kasbah (citadel); it was built on the substructions of the Punic, Roman and Byzantine acropolis, and is used by the French for military purposes. The Arabic geographer Bakri gave a description of the chief Roman buildings which were standing in his time (Bakri, Descr. de l'Afrique, tr. by de Slane, p. 83 et seq.). The modern town of Susa, despite its commercial prosperity, occupies only a third of the old site.

In 1863 the French engineer, A. Daux, discovered the jetties and the moles of the commercial harbour, and the line of the military harbour (Cothon); both harbours, which were mainly artificial, are entirely silted up. There remains a fragment of the fortifications of the Punic town, which had a total length of 6410 metres, and remains of the substructions of the Byzantine acropolis, of the circus, the theatre, the water cisterns, and of other buildings, notably the interesting Byzantine basilica which is now used as an Arab cafe (Kahwat-el-Kubba). In the ruins there have been found numerous columns of Punic inscriptions, Roman inscriptions and mosaic, among which is one representing Virgil seated, holding the Aeneid in his hand; another represents the Cretan labyrinth with Theseus and the Minotaur (Heron de Villefosse, Revue de l'Afrique francaise, v., December 1887, pp. 384 and 394; Comptes rendus de l'Acad. des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres, 1892, p. 318; other mosaics, ibid., 1896, p. 578; Revue archeol., 1897). In 1904 Dr Carton and the abbe Leynaud discovered huge Christian catacombs with several miles of subterranean galleries to which access is obtained by a small vaulted chamber. In these catacombs we find numerous sarcophagi and inscriptions painted or engraved of the Roman and Byzantine periods (Comptes rendus de l'Acad. des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres, 1904-1907; Carton and Leynaud, Les Catacombes d'Hadrumete, Susa, 1905). We can recognize also the Punic and Pagan-Roman cemeteries (C. R. de l'Acad. des Inscr. et BellesLettres, 1887; Bull. archeol. du Comite, 1885, p. 149; 1903, p. 157). The town had no Punic coins, but under the Roman domination there were coins from the time of the Republic. These are of bronze and bear the name of the city in abbreviations, Hadr or HadrVM accompanying the head of Neptune or the Sun. We find also the names of local duumvirs. Under Augustus the coins have on the obverse the imperial effigy, and on the reverse the names and often the effigies of the pro-consuls who governed the province, P. Quintilius Varus, L. Volusius Saturninus and Q. Fabius Maximus Africanus. After Augustus the mint was finally closed.

Authorities.-A. Daux, Recherches sur l'origine et l'emplacement des emporia pheniciens dans le Zeugis et le Byzacium (Paris, 1869); Ch. Tissot, Geographic comparee de la province romaine d'Afrique, ii. p. 149; Cagnat, Explorations archeol. en Tunisie (2nd and 3rd fasc., 1885); Lud. Muller, Numismatique de l'Afrique ancienne, ii. p. 51; M. Palat, in the Bulletin arch. du Comite des travaux historiques (1885), pp. 121 and 150; Revue archeologique (1884 and 1897); Bulletin des antiquites africaines (1884 and 1885); Bulletin de la Societe archeologique de Sousse (first published in 1903); Atlas archeol. de Tunisie (4th fascicule, with the plan of Hadrumetum). (E. B.*)

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