North Africa, Spain, The Roman Empire

Debod, a Ptolemaic temple in Madrid

The Templo de Debod was once located in the south of Egypt, in Lower Nubia, very close to the first cataracts and to the religious centre dedicated to the Goddess Isis, on Philae Island. This region, bordering with the powerful realm of Meroe, was the object of a dispute between the Egyptian and Meroite Governors up to the 1st century BCE, when Rome definitely established the frontier of Maharraqa. As of the 3rd century CE the region came under the control of the desert nomads and Roman control was lost.

Construction of the temple was started by Adijalamani, king of Meroe, at the beginning of the 2nd century BCE. He constructed a chapel dedicated to the Gods ’Amón of Debod’ and Isis. The chapel, decorated with reliefs, is one of the few monuments that makes reference to the life of this monarch. Subsequently, Ptolemy VI built new rooms around the original nucleus and gave it an appearance that bore more resemblance to its current appearance. His successors, Ptolemy VIII and Ptolemy XII ordered the construction of two side chapels, or naoi, also dedicated to Isis and Amón.

After Egypt was annexed to the Roman Empire, emperors Augustus, Tiberius and, possibly Adrian, decorated the entrance of the temple and added a special chapel, the mammisi. The temple was abandoned with the closure of the sanctuaries to Isis in the 6th Century. Debod in Madrid. Construction of the great Aswan Dam began in 1960. The huge lake that was created, more than 500 Kilometres in length, brought about the end of the archeological monuments and sites of the Lower Nubia, forever submerged under its waters.

At the request of Egypt and Sudan, UNESCO made an international plea for help to save the temples and monuments that were in danger. Four of the temples and monuments that were saved were donated by Egypt to the countries that contributed most to the salvage tasks. In 1968 Spain recieved the Templo de Debod in gratitude for its help in saving the temples of Abu Simbel. In 1970 the ashlars arrived in Madrid and were installed on the site of the former Cuartel de la Montaña

Sources and further reading:

The Song in the film is ’Principles My Ass (new version)’ by Hands Of Doom.

Journey Thru History, Perseus Records ® 2016

North Africa, The Roman Empire, Tunisia

Loose ends in North Africa

What exactly was the Roman empire? Was it a predecessor to our own times or merely a primitive precursor? It depends on who you ask. A modern day historian is likely to give you an answer at least partially based in their own particular fields of expertise.

There can be no doubt however that the impact left by the Romans must have been huge, and one striking example is the Roman amphitheatre of El Djem, a magnificent peice of architecture still looming majestically over it’s surroundings and holding up rather well considering it’s great size, history and not least it’s location in what was then the outskirts of the Empire.

The Roman Amphitheatre at El Djem speaks of a history that could have been, not exactly a forgotten history, but still, there was a great turning point there once, demonstrated by this monument in particular, and it is clear after having studied this building closer that things soon moved in a very different direction than those who planned and built the massive structure had intended.

Take a short visual tour of the arena and find out more facts like when and why it was built and what famous films that have been shot here:

It is well worth a visit and, considering the fact the Tunisia recently suffered a both serious and very bloody terrorist attack, targeting in particular tourists from western Europe while visiting a Tunis museum, the many sights and experiences Tunisia has to offer seem now more than ever worth keeping safe and defended against future acts of barbarism.


Song in the film: Carnival by Hands Of Doom

Journey Thru History, Perseus Records ® 2015