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Ancient Thysdrus (the modern city of El Jem, Tunisia) was one of the largest cities in the entire Roman province of Africa. The city’s wealth came from its cross-roads position and control of a massive production of olive oil and grain.  The city flourished in the Severan period, and in the early third century AD created a new amphitheater (there were already two in the city) that was to be the largest ever built in Africa. Today, this amphitheater is one of the best preserved gladiator venues from the entire Roman Empire.  Its size and scale and beauty are awe inspiring and reflect the reach of Rome. At the time, the monument has its own unique qualities, just as the citizens of Thysdrus rose up to nominate Gordian emperor of the Empire in AD 238. Such as the reach and influence of Thysdrus on the rest of the Empire.  

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “El Djem” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 11/16/2019. https://ancientromelive.org/el-djem/

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Created by The American Institute of Roman Culture, published on 10/24/2019 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.