Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage - History and Facts | History Hit

Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage

Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia

Once holding over 30,000 spectators, the Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage was one of the biggest ancient stadia in North Africa. Today much of the site lies in ruins but it is still worth a visit.

Peta Stamper

28 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage

The Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage was once a major Roman stadium, the ruins of which can be found near modern-day Tunis, Tunisia. Probably built at the end of the 1st century AD, Carthage’s amphitheatre is believed to have been able to hold up to 35,000 spectators.

Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage history

Constructed in the 1st century BC, the amphitheatre in Carthage was rebuilt by dictator Julius Caesar when the city became the capital of Africa Proconsularis – the Roman province. Al-Bakri, an Andalusian historian in the 11th century, described the amphitheatre as being comprised of circular arches supported by columns with “pictures representing animals […] figures that symbolise the winds: the East looks smiling, and the West has a frowning face”.

Although there are sources which suggest the amphitheatre was still intact in the early middle ages, little remains today. The amphitheatre materials were systematically looted for other building projects building despite having gained the admiration of travellers.

Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage today

Unlike other Roman Amphitheatres in North Africa, such as El Jem, the Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage has been mostly lost to ruin. A Roman circus near the site was thought to be able to hold at least double the number of spectators but has been all-but-lost to history and there is little if nothing to see.

Getting to the Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage

Along the N9 road towards the coast from Tunis, Carthage is reached by car in around 20 minutes. Although an easy alternative of reaching Carthage from central Tunis is via local transport. The TMG light railway Carthage-Byrsa station is within the ancient site, and there is a daily service running from the early morning until midnight.

The Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage is about 1.5 kilometre from Byrsa Hill and the National Museum of Carthage.

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