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Sabratha was an ancient port city on the coast of North Africa (in modern-day Libya). The site was originally inhabited by the indigenous Berber Zwagha tribe in the 8th century BCE (according to the 11th-century CE historian al-Bakari) who gave it their name. It became a Carthaginian colony c. 500 BCE, known as Tsabatan, and part of a tri-city trade network known to the Greeks as the Emporia. It was taken by the Numidians under the reign of their king Masinissa (c. 202-148 BCE) following Carthage's defeat in the Second Punic War (218-202 BCE) and was later claimed by Masinissa' grandson Jugurtha (r. 118-105 BCE) as part of his kingdom.

More about: Sabratha


  • c. 700 BCE
    The Berber Zwagha tribe inhabits the area of Sabratha.
  • c. 500 BCE
    The area of Sabratha is colonized by the Carthaginians and named Tsabratan.
  • c. 148 BCE
    Tsabratan (Sabratha) taken by Numidian king Masinissa.
  • 118 BCE - 105 BCE
    Sabratha is part of the Numidian Kingdom of Jugurtha.
  • 105 BCE
    Sabratha taken by Rome after Jugurtha's defeat and execution.
  • 48 BCE - 44 BCE
    Sabratha made part of the province of Africa Nova during the reign of Julius Caesar.
  • 27 BCE - 14 CE
    Sabratha revitalized and expanded during the reign of Augustus Caesar.
  • 138 CE - 161 CE
    Sabratha prospers and develops during the reign of Antoninus Pius.
  • 158 CE
    Trial of Lucius Apuleius at Sabratha on the charge of witchcraft.
  • 161 CE - 180 CE
    Sabratha expands and is renovated during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
  • 180 CE - 192 CE
    Emperor Commodus continues renovations and expansion at Sabratha.
  • 363 CE - 365 CE
    The Austuriani tribe make regular incursions into Sabratha, weakening the city.
  • 365 CE
    The 365 Crete Earthquake destroys the seaward side of Sabratha, topples buildings.
  • c. 500 CE
    Byzantine Empire establishes churches at Sabratha, dismantles monuments to build walls.
  • 643 CE
    Invading Arab armies find Sabratha mostly deserted and in ruins and so abandon it.