Ptolemais (Libye) : Archaeologists Uncover 1,700-year Old Roman Villa With Stunning Mosaics

Most beautiful mosaic in Ptolemaic house shows a sleeping Ariadne with her future husband, the god Dionysus; coins from lamps workshop also found.
Philippe Bohstrom

Source - in 1,700-year-old roman villa in Ptolemais - Miron Bogacki
Archaeologists have unearthed statues, elaborate mosaics and other treasures in a 1,700-year old villa in Ptolemais, a key trading port for the ancient Romans on the Libyan coast.

48880357Statuetka Asklepiosa- Stone sculpture of Asklepion - Miron Bogacki
The artifacts and a hoard of 553 sestercii silver and bronze coins hailing back to Republican times were found in a vast building about 600 square meters in area, dating to the 3rd century C.E.

3599707738Oil lamp depicting gladiatorial combat - Miron Bogacki
Most of the coins were found inside a room inside the house where terracotta lamps were manufactured. The coins may have been the earnings of local craftsmen, said archaeologist Jerzy Zelazowski of Warsaw University.
The ancient city was established almost 2,300 years ago, at the turn of the 4th century B.C.E., by ancient Greeks. Its original name is not known, but it gained the name "Ptolemais" during the reign of the Ptolemaic empire over Egypt.
The Ptolemaic Kingdom had been founded in 305 B.C.E. by Ptolemy I Soter, whose Hellenistic dynasty ruled a vast area stretching from Syria to Nubia, with its capital in Alexandria. The Ptolemaic rulers declared themselves successors to the Egyptian Pharaohs: the famed Cleopatra was a daughter of the late Ptolemaic ruler Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos.

4150885413Bronze sestercii - Miron Bogacki
59891885Ptolemais - Miron Bogacki
As the power of the Romans rose, however, that of the Ptolemys waned, and they began losing territory to Macedonia and the Seleucids. Hoping to preserve what they had, the Ptolemies became vassals of the Romans. Cleopatra's father would pay the Romans through the nose in order to secure his dynasty, but after his death, Cleopatra ultimately failed to hold onto power.
In 96 B.C.E. the entire province of Cyrenaica, including Ptolemais, was handed over to the Romans peacefully (400 years before the house in question was built).
Rome however showed little interest in their new province, which deteriorated into a pirate’s nest. Not until the Wars of Mithradates (between the Roman Empire and the tiny Kingdon of Pontus south of the Black Sea, ruled by King Mithradates IV)  in the 1st century C.E., did the Romans make an effort to restore order to Cyrenaica, to Romanize the locals and while about it, to resolve conflicts brewing between the Greeks and Jews living in the province.

3384084800Head of Dionysus - Miron Bogacki