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Path: Photos > Roman Ruins of Volubilis
Tags: Morocco  2017

Roman Ruins of Volubilis

 

(vero;2017-Dec-03)

Volubilis was founded in the 3rd century BC by Carthagenian traders. It was annexed to the Roman Empire about 40 AD and became an important outpost on the trade route to Mauritania. The site boasts incredible mosaics; it is very atmospheric in its isolation amidst olive groves and offers wide ranging views of the surrounding countryside.

To get there we took a grand taxi from Meknes to Moulay Idriss and asked the taxi driver to drop us off at the roundabout below the village. We walked the rest of the way to the ruins, a great introduction to the visit. To do so, continue for 300 to 400 meters along the N13 and take the first road on the left, a quiet side road (P7006) leading to the ruins amidst fields of olive trees in about 45 minutes.

Moulay Idriss, the small town nearest to the ruins. It is worth spending an hour or so to explore it before returning to Meknes.
The ruins seen from Tangier Gate looking down the Decumanus Maximus. House of Orpheus: Orpheus is in the centre top of the mosaic playing his lyre surrounded by animals and birds. He was the son of a Muse (probably Calliope, the patron of epic poetry) and Oeagrus, a king of Thrace (other versions give Apollo). According to some legends, Apollo gave Orpheus his first lyre. Orpheus’s singing and playing were so beautiful that animals and even trees and rocks moved about him in dance (source: Britannica.com). The Roman Basilica (217 AD) was used as courts of justice and for city governance. Its colonnaded facade lined the forum. Stele with Latin inscription on the forum. House of the Acrobat: mosaic of a Desultor riding backwards and holding up a winner's cup. Desultors were acrobatic riders riding two to four horses at the same time, leaping from one to the other in the games shown in Roman arenas. North side of the Arch of Caracalla with dedicatory inscription. It was built 217 AD by the city's governor Marcus Aurelius Sebastenus in honour of Emperor Caracalla, 188-217 AD, and his mother Julia Domna. House of the Columns. House of the Labours of Hercules: overall view of its eponymous mosaic. House of the Labours of Hercules: the 6th labour. Hercules shoots the birds of Lake Stymphale (believed to be man-eaters) with arrows. House of the Labours of Hercules: the 12th labour. Hercules tames Cerberus, a vicious beast that guarded the entrance to Hades and kept the living from entering the world of the dead. It is said to have three heads of wild dogs, a dragon or serpent for a tail, and heads of snakes all over his back. House of the Labours of Hercules: detail of the mosaic. On the top left, a fragment of the 2nd labour where Hercules is seen slaying the Lernaean Hydra. A colourful floor mosaic. The Triumphal Arch of Caracalla, built 217 AD by the city's governor Marcus Aurelius Sebastenus in honour of Emperor Caracalla, 188-217 AD, and his mother Julia Domna. House of Dionysus: mosaic of the four seasons with four muses. In the middle, Winter with her head wrapped warmly and Spring to her right. House of Dionysus: mosaic of the four seasons with four muses. The four seasons can be seen on the left picture represented as women, starting with Winter and her head wrapped warmly then clockwise Spring, Summer and Autumn.The picture on the right shows a detail of Spring and one of the muses. House of the Wild Beasts: dogs attacking a bull. House of the Wild Beasts: leopard carrying its prey. House of the Wild Beasts: tiger with the head of an antelope in its mouth. View of the site. Down the Decumanus Maximus with its alignment of columns is the Arch of Caracalla. To the left, the remains of the basilica. Pool with mosaics in the atrium of a Roman villa. Detail of a mosaic, note the bright colour of the nipple. Portrait of a lady? or of a man?. House of Venus: nymphs abducting Hylas. Hylas, in ancient Greek legend, was the son of Theiodamas (king of the Dryopians in Thessaly), favourite and companion of Heracles on the Argonautic expedition. Having gone ashore at Cios in Mysia to fetch water, he was dragged down by the nymphs of the spring in which he dipped his pitcher. Heracles sought him in vain; afterward, in memory of Heracles' threat to ravage the land if Hylas was not found, the inhabitants of Cios each year on a stated day roamed the mountains, shouting aloud for Hylas (source: Britannica.com). House of Venus: detail of the mosaic of the nymphs abducting Hylas. House of Venus: detail of the mosaic of the nymphs abducting Hylas. House of Venus: Diana and her nymph surprised by Actaeon while bathing. Actaeon was the son of the minor god Aristaeus and Autonoë (daughter of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes in Boeotia); he was a Boeotian hero and hunter. According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Actaeon accidentally saw Diana (goddess of wild animals, vegetation, and childbirth) while she was bathing on Mount Cithaeron; for this reason he was changed by her into a stag and was pursued and killed by his own 50 hounds (source: Britannica.com). House of Venus: detail of the mosaic of Diana and her nymph surprised by Actaeon while bathing. House of Venus: detail of the mosaic of Diana and her nymph surprised by Actaeon while bathing. House of Orpheus: mosaic with dolphins. The Capitoline Temple dedicated to Jupiter, built 218 AD. Detail of a mosaic adorning a fountain. Volubilis is also famous for the splendid bronze statuettes which have been found on the site. Most are exhibited in the Rabat Archeological Museum, but there are a few to be seen at the Volubilis visitor centre. Some bronze statuettes from Volubilis.

Go back to The Imperial Cities: Meknes and Fez or go on to The Tafilalet Region: Merzouga and Rissani or go up to Photos


$updated from: Photos.htxt Mon 03 May 2021 16:08:28 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$