This was a bit exciting for me. This is only my third limes after Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall, and one that’s linked with my own particular Roman-world interests.
Ok, this wasn’t one of the major bits of the limes, with fancy forts, like Bu Njem or a big settlement like Ghirza, and there’s nothing particularly Roman here. It looks like all of the visible remains are much much later, mostly dating to the very last phases of occupation at the time of the 1969 floods that destroyed the old village.
But that doesn’t matter. At Chebika I was standing on the Limes Tripolitanus, the southern limit of the second century Roman empire, in the location of a former Roman outpost called Ad Speculum. As the climate hasn’t changed wildly since the Roman period, the landscape seen by those living, working and passing through here during the second century CE would not have been so different to the views that I saw.
Take away the giant barbary sheep sculpture and the satellite TV mast and Bob tui avunculus est.
This visit was also exciting because I was asked for my hand in marriage. Well sort of. One of the local spivs asked me if I was visiting with my husband. When I told him that my husband was at home looking after my many many children, he asked me if I’d like another, Tunisian, husband. I made my excuses and left. I’m guessing that in these parts you can rent husbands by the hour 😉 .
If limes float your boat, or you would like them to, there’s a whole big conference on them that you can go to. Unesco is also in the process of adding bits of them to The List. They’ll probably all be on there in the end, but I suspect that there are some areas that are a bit inaccessible at the moment.