Iulia Constantia Zilil

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Late 19th-century reconstruction of Roman roads in Morocco. Arzeila = Iulia Constantia Zilil

Iulia Constantia Zilil (called later Arzeila) was located in Dchar Jdid, 40 km southwest of Tangier, and 13 km northeast of Asilah. It was one of the three colonias in Mauretania Tingitana (in northern Morocco) founded by emperor Augustus between 33 and 25 BC for veterans of the battle of Actium.

History[edit]

The full name at the founding was Colonia Augusti Iulia Constantia Zilil and was a Roman colonia with full rights.[1]

The city had then already been a Phoenician and Mauretanian city since the 4th century BC. It was an important station on the Antonine Itinerary. It was located at approximately 40 km south-west of Tangier, 13 km in the north-east of Asilah, close to the present village of Dshar Jdid.[2]

In the second half of 2nd century AD, the city was surrounded by an enclosure. It comprised residential districts, a big temple and an amphitheater, outside of the city a thermal unit (built in 80 AD) and a cistern with four compartments, supplied with a partly underground aqueduct (built in 130 AD).[3]

The most spectacular monument of Iulia Constantia was that of an early Christian church, in three naves, equipped with a baptistery and various appendices, close to the western door. This paleochristian church is the only found in Atlantic Morocco, related to the Christianity between romanised Berbers.[4]

The city was finally destroyed during the years 410-430 AD, at the time of the invasion of Mauretania Tingitana by Vandal tribes. But evidences show that the city remained populated as a small fishing village until the Arab invasion in the early 8th century.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Colonia Zilil (in French)
  2. ^ Zilil (photo)
  3. ^ Zilil
  4. ^ A. Akerraz et al., « Fouilles de Dchar Jdid 1977-1980 », p. 218

Sources[edit]

  • Eliane Lenoir, "Fouilles de Dchar Jedid", 1977–1980, B.A.M.,XIV, 1981–1982, p. 169-225. (Akerraz et alii).
  • Eliane Lenoir, "La ville romaine de Zilil du Ier av IVe siècle ap. J.-C., dans L’afrique romaine, Iersiècle av. J.-C - début Ve siècle ap. J.-C., colloque de la SOPHAU", Pallas, 68, 2005, p. 65-76.

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 35°31′17″N 5°54′57″W / 35.52139°N 5.91583°W / 35.52139; -5.91583