House of the Trifolium (Maison du Trifolium)


Africa Proconsularis
Africa proconsularis (Pleiades)

Province Description

The history of Roman Africa begins in 146 BC with the destruction of Carthage and the establishment of the province of Africa in the most fertile part of the Carthaginian Empire. The new province covered about 5000 square miles (17,172 square kilometers) of the northern part of modern Tunisia. A praetor governed the area from his headquarters at Utica. The Romans inherited a thriving agriculture developed by the Carthaginians. The climate was hospitable. Wheat and barley were the most important cereals; wine and olive oil were also produced and there were various fruit trees.


THUGGA (Dougga) Tunisia
THUGGA (Dougga) Tunisia (Pleiades)

Plan of Thugga

Plan of Thugga (Maurin, L., d’après le relevé général de Cl. Poinssot, Les ruines de Dougga, 1959, pl. h. t.)

Location Description

Annexed in 46 B.C., the Romanization of the city of Thugga that was probably a residence of the Numidian kings, was gradual but profound. It became Municipium Thuggense in 205, and was raised to the rank of a Colonia Licinia Septima Aurelia Alexandriana Thuggensesin in 261 under Gallien. Numerous buildings of this city overlooking the valley of the Ouadi Khaled, have been uncovered among them the Capitol dedicated to the Capitoline Triad in 166-67, the theater on the top of the plateau constructed under Antonius Pius, the Temple of Mercury, Fortune, Augustan Piety, Liber Pater, Concordia, Frugifer, Pluto, Saturn and the Temple of Caelestis which stands in the middle of a an olive grove. In the residential areas stands the Licinian Baths with their Palestrae and the Cyclops Baths and the Triumphal Arch of Septimus Severus set astride a street leading down the hill. Two building inscriptions (CIL VIII, 26606 and CIL VIII, 26607), dated to AD 166-169 mention a theater with a basilica, porticoes, and xystis.


House of the Trifolium (Maison du Trifolium)


Garden Description

This house is the largest excavated to-date at Thugga. It appears to date from the first half of the 3rd century. The rooms on the ground floor were arranged around a large court, which was more than 5 m (Plan view, Fig. 1) lower than the street. A garden occupied the center of the court which is enclosed by a portico on its four sides, the columns of which, carved with plaster and connected by a balustrade ought to have supported a wooden frame. The porticos were paved with mosaics. The 3 doors of the oecus open onto the W portico, in front of which between two pilasters was a semi-circular pool projecting into the garden. This basin was decorated with a mosaic representing fish today destroyed. The oecus opens on the N onto a large room in the form of a trifolium.



Plan of Trifolium

Fig. 1: Plan of House of the Trifolium (Portail internet de Dougga, Ministère de la culture et de la sauvegarde du patrimoine,


Early 3rd century CE


  • Aounallah, S., Maurin, L., "Remarques sur la topographie rurale et urbaine du pagus et de la ciuitas de Thugga (Dougga, Tunisie)", in Hommes, cultures et paysages de l'Antiquité à la période moderne : Mélanges offerts à Jean Peyras, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2013. (worldcat)
  • Bullo, S., Ghedini, F., Amplissimae atque ornatissimae domus: l’edilizia residenziale nelle città della Tunisia roman, Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 2003, pp.274-276. (worldcat)
  • Hiesel, G., Strocka, V. M., "Vorberchicht Über die Grabungen 1996-2000", in Thugga, I, Grundlagen und Bericht, Ed. M. Kanoussi, V. M. Strocka, pp. 75-76, 78, Abb. I
  • Poinssot, C., Les ruines de Dougga, Tunis, 1958, p. 53: plan, général n°18. (worldcat)
  • Plan from






Wilhelmina F. Jashemski

Amina-Aïcha Malek (ORCID: 0000-0002-1628-615X)

Publication Date

21 Apr 2021