Timgad Donatist Baptistery Pavement Mosaic, 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 Donatist Cathedral baptistery has masonry walls and a large, hexagonal, 3-step immersion baptismal font richly decorated with mosaics. This image shows that the mosaic decoration extended to the floor that surrounds the central font. ca. June 1983
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