Timgad Orthodox Christian Baptismal Font, Detail
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
In 100 C.E. the Roman Emperor Trajan founded Timgad (Thamugadi) in the Aures Mountains of North Africa (near present-day Batna, Algeria) as a military colony for retired personnel. After suffering invasions by the Vandals and Berbers, the city was not rebuilt after the 7th C.; it was excavated in 1881. The Roman city center, where Christian church buildings were eventually erected, was neatly laid out in a grid pattern and built of stone and masonry in the Corinthian style. Timgad's orthodox Christian heritage dates from the 3rd C.; and, from the 4th C., the city was also a center for Donatists. Baptismal fonts used by both orthodox Christians and Donatists have been uncovered. The circular stone baptismal font in the orthodox Christian church is much smaller in diameter than the hexagonal Donatist font. Like the Donatist font, it has three steps and was designed for immersion. Column remnants set at the corners of an imaginary square on the perimeter of the upper rim suggest the font was covered by a stone canopy called a ciborium. ca. June 1983
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