Ancient History Encyclopedia has a new name!

We are now World History Encyclopedia to better reflect the breadth of our non-profit organization's mission. If you have bookmarks or links to our site on your blog or website, please update them. Learn More

Romanizing Baal: the art of Saturn worship in North Africa


Jan van der Crabben
by Wilson, Andrew. I.
published on 14 February 2012
Send to Google Classroom:

This paper is concerned with stelai from North Africa dedicated to Baal / Saturn in fulfilment of a religious vow, and examines the development of their iconography as the region was incorporated into the Roman empire. The monuments in question range in date from the second century B. C. until the fourth century A.D., and are found throughout modern Tunisia and eastern Algeria – ancient Africa Proconsularis and Numidia, but not Tripolitania. Many of the Roman- period stelai have been collected and catalogued by Marcel Leglay in his book Saturn africain, and this paper owes much to that work.

However, the Berber/ Punic stelai have been studied separately, obscuring some of the developments between them and those of the Roman period. Considerations of space prevent full illustration here of all the examples discussed, and the reader is referred to Leglay's study for pictures of many of the stelai. A difficulty with the study of the stelai is the poor chronological data available; they are usually from old or poorly-controlled excavations. Dating the monuments is therefore difficult, and relies usually on a combination of onomastics, features of dress and hairstyle, and artistic 'style' – the latter an unreliable indicator in what is largely a naïve and schematic mode of representation. Nevertheless, some are dated by consular references, and others with more or less precision by their archaeological context.

Remove Ads


Proceedings of the 8th International Colloquium on Problems of Roman Provincial Art, Zagreb 2003 (Opuscula archaeologica: Dissertationes et Monographiae). Zagreb 2005.

Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Written by Wilson, Andrew. I., linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 14 February 2012. Source URL:

Disclaimer: World History Encyclopedia claims no authorship, intellectual property, or copyright on the material below. It is used solely for non-profit educational purposes, and none of the data is stored on our servers. If you want this content to be removed from the site, please contact us.

Remove Ads



We want people all over the world to learn about history. Help us and translate this article into another language!

Support Our
Non-Profit Organization

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member  

Recommended Books

Sorry, we haven't been able to find any books on the subject.

Cite This Work

APA Style

I., W. A. (2012, February 14). Romanizing Baal: the art of Saturn worship in North Africa. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

I., Wilson, Andrew.. "Romanizing Baal: the art of Saturn worship in North Africa." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 14, 2012.

MLA Style

I., Wilson, Andrew.. "Romanizing Baal: the art of Saturn worship in North Africa." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 14 Feb 2012. Web. 10 May 2021.