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Leptis (lĕpˈtĭs) [key], ancient city of Libya, E of Tripoli. It was founded (c.600 B.C.) by Phoenicians from Sidon. Annexed (46 B.C.) to the Roman province of Africa, it flourished as an important port under the Romans, particularly during the reign of Septimius Severus (who had been born in Leptis). Some of the most impressive ruins of Roman Africa are there, including walls, baths, arches, temples, and forums. The city is also known as Lepcis. It is sometimes called Leptis Magna to distinguish it from another Leptis, S of Hadrumetum, in present Tunisia.

See K. B. Matthews, Jr., Cities in the Sand (1957).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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