Apollonia (Cyrenaica)

Apollonia (Greek: Ἀπολλωνία) in Cyrenaica (modern Libya) was founded by Greek colonists and became a significant commercial centre in the southern Mediterranean. It served as the harbour of Cyrene, 20 km (12 mi) to the southwest.

Apollonia became autonomous from Cyrene at latest by the time the area came within the power of Rome, when it was one of the five cities of the Libyan Pentapolis, growing in power until, in the 6th century A.D., it became the capital of the Roman province of Libya Superior or Libya Pentapolitana. The city became known as Sozusa, which explains the modern name of Marsa Susa[1] or Susa, which grew up long after the cessation of urban life in the ancient city after the Arab invasion of AD 643.[2]

Sozusa was an episcopal see and is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[3]

Apollonia (Cyrenaica) is located in Libya
Apollonia (Cyrenaica)
Shown within Libya
RegionJabal al Akhdar
Coordinates32°54′00″N 21°58′00″E / 32.9°N 21.966667°E
365 Crete Earthquake, Apollonia, Map (Jona)
Map of Apollonia
Apollonia Map 1958-1959
Map of underwater ruins at Apollonia made by divers in 1958–1959
Apollonia Apse Building 1958-1959
Late apsidal building at Apollonia superimposed on earlier structures (grid square C4) drawn by divers in 1958–1959
Apollonia Theatre
Theatre in Apollonia
Apollonia Duke's Palace
Palace in Apollonia with the Eastern Basilica in the background


The early foundation levels of the city of Apollonia are below sea level due to submergence in earthquakes, while the upper strata of the later Byzantine Christian periods are several meters above sea level, built on the accumulated deposits of previous periods. The existence of buildings in the sea was noted by Beechey (1827), with some rough drawings, and Goodchild (1950s) and André Laronde also published archaeological surveys of the site.[4] In 1958 and 1959 Nicholas Flemming, then an undergraduate at Cambridge University, led teams of undergraduates trained in scuba diving and underwater surveying to map the large sector of the city beneath the sea. The results of this work were published, complete with maps and diagrams of underwater buildings in the references cited below. Carlo Beltrame and colleagues have recently made an underwater photographic survey of some of the buildings.

The Crete earthquake and tsunami of 21 July 365 AD apparently caused extensive damage to the city and harbor.

The Apollonia (Susa) Museum houses many artifacts found on the ancient site.


Apollonia is particularly known for its ruins of three churches (out of five originally standing) dating from the Byzantine period.


The Palace was last used as the Byzantine Duke's Palace and contains over 100 rooms. The previous use was as a Roman military commander's house.


The well-preserved Greek theatre stands facing the sea outside the old city walls. The cavea has 28 seat levels.

Apollonia teatern
The ancient theatre of Apollonia.

Christian bishopric

Apollonia was also the seat of an ancient Christian bishopric of the Roman province of Libya Pentapolitana (Cirenaica). Before the advent of the emperor Diocletian, the city called Apollonia: with Diocletian became the capital of Libya Superior.[5][6] [7] Today Sozusa of Libya survives as a bishopric holder; The seat is vacant from 11 December 1989. Known bihops include


Recently, vandals have smeared graffiti on columns[8]. Artifacts has also been looted.[9] Various treasures e.g. heads or entire torsos of statues listed in guidebooks issued in 2011 are stolen. [10]According to the head of the antiquities department of a parallel administration in charge of eastern Libya, “Many Artifacts have been smuggled abroad”.[8]

There was better site protection before 2011.[8]“There has been a lot of destruction in recent years,” said Ismail Miftah, a farmer living next to Cyrene. [8] Apollonia is featured as the chief port city for Cyrene in the 2017 video game Assassin's Creed Origins.

Apollonia is the main site of the graphic novel ALIX - LE DIEU SAUVAGE by Jacques Martin, published originally in 1969 in Tintin magazine in Belgium.

See also


  1. ^ Wikisource Hogarth, David George (1911). "Cyrene" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 704–705.
  2. ^ D. White, "Apollonia (Marsa Susa) Libya" in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (Princeton University Press, 1976)
  3. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 975
  4. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in French) André Laronde, « Apollonia de Cyrénaïque : Archéologie et Histoire »], Journal des savants, no 1, 1996, p. 3-49 [1]
  5. ^ Apollonia at www.gcatholic.org
  6. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, (Leipzig, 1931), p. 462.
  7. ^ Michel Le Quien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, (Paris, 1740), vol.II, coll. 617–618.
  8. ^ a b c d Reuters (2019-02-21). "Libya's ancient ruins blighted by theft, shunned by tourists". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  9. ^ "Libya's ancient ruins blighted by theft and destruction, shunned by tourists - Global Times". www.globaltimes.cn. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  10. ^ "Libya's ancient ruins blighted by theft, shunned by tourists". Reuters. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  • LookLex
  • Beechey, F.W. 1827. Proceedings of an Expedition to Explore the North African coast. John Murray, London.
  • Flemming, N.C. 1959. "Underwater adventure in Apollonia". Geographical Magazine, v. 31, pp. 497–508.
  • Flemming, N.C. 1971. Cities in the Sea. Doubleday, New York, 222 pp; New English Library, London, 222pp.
  • Flemming, N.C. and Webb, C.O, 1986. "Tectonic and eustatic coastal changes during the last 10,000 years derived from archaeological data". Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie. December, Suppl – Bd62, p. 1 29.
  • The ancient port of Apollonia is an archaeological treasure to be preserved.

Coordinates: 32°54′N 21°58′E / 32.900°N 21.967°E


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André Laronde

André Laronde (19 June 1940, Grenoble – 1 February 2011, Paris, aged 70) was a French hellenist archaeologist.


Benghazi () is the second-most populous city in Libya and the largest in Cyrenaica.

A port on the Mediterranean Sea in the State of Libya, Benghazi had joint-capital status alongside Tripoli, possibly because the King and the Senussi royal family were associated with Cyrenaica rather than Tripolitania. The city was also provisional capital of the National Transitional Council.

Benghazi continues to hold institutions and organizations normally associated with a national capital city, such as the country's parliament, national library, and the headquarters of Libyan Airlines, the national airline, and of the National Oil Corporation. This creates a constant atmosphere of rivalry and sensitivities between Benghazi and Tripoli, and between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. The population was 670,797 at the 2006 census.On 15 February 2011, an uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi occurred in the city. The revolts spread by 17 February to Bayda, Tobruk, Ajdabya, Al Marj in the East and Zintan, Zawiya in the West, calling for the end of the Gaddafi Regime. Benghazi was taken by Gaddafi opponents on 21 February, who founded the National Transitional Council. On 19 March, the city was the site of the turning point of the Libyan Civil War, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by local resistance and intervention from the French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue.

Claude Sintes

Claude Sintes (born 10 June 1953) is a French archaeologist and curator.

German submarine U-205

German submarine U-205 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 19 June 1940 by the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 634; launched on 20 March 1941; and commissioned on 3 May 1941 under the command of Franz-Georg Reschke.

She was sunk on 17 February 1943 by HMS Paladin at 32°56′N 22°01′E.

HMS Greyhound (H05)

HMS Greyhound was a G-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the 1930s. Greyhound participated in the Norwegian Campaign in April 1940, the Dunkirk evacuation in May and the Battle of Dakar in September before being transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in November. The ship generally escorted the larger ships of the Mediterranean Fleet as they protected convoys against attacks from the Italian Fleet. She sank two Italian submarines while escorting convoys herself in early 1941. Greyhound was sunk by German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers north-west of Crete on 22 May 1941 as she escorted the battleships of the Mediterranean Fleet attempting to intercept the German sea-borne invasion forces destined for Crete.

Index of Byzantine Empire-related articles

This is a list of people, places, things, and concepts related to or originating from the Byzantine Empire (AD 330–1453). Feel free to add more, and create missing pages. You can track changes to the articles included in this list from here.

Note: People are listed by first name. Events, monuments and institutions like "Battle/Siege/Council/Church/Duchy/etc. of NNN" are listed by the location/name.

List of ancient Greek cities

This is a small list of ancient Greek cities, including colonies outside Greece proper. Note that there were a great many Greek cities in the ancient world. In this list, a city is defined as a single population center. These were often referred to as poleis in the ancient world, although the list is not limited to "proper" poleis. Also excluded from the list are larger units, such as kingdoms or empires.

A city is defined as ancient Greek if at any time its population or the dominant stratum within it spoke Greek. Many were soon assimilated to some other language. By analogy some cities are included that never spoke Greek and were not Hellenic per se but contributed to Hellenic culture later found in the region.


Sozusa (Σώζουσα Sōzousa) is a byname given to several ancient cities called Apollonia after the sun god (from Apollo's byname Σωτήρ Soter "saviour"), among these :

Apollonia, Cyrenaica, later bishopric and now Latin titular see called Sozusa in Libya; modern (Mars-)Susa, Libya

Sozusa in Palaestina, a city and in the late Roman province of Palaestina Prima, now a now Latin titular seeSozusa may also refer to:

Sozusa (moth), a genus of moth

Susa, Libya

Susa or Soussa (Greek: Ἀπολλωνία) (Arabic: سوسة‎) is a town and seaside resort in the District of Jabal al Akhdar in north-eastern Libya. Susa stands by the ruins of Apollonia, Cyrenaica.

The town contains the Apollonia Museum. It is located about 30 km northeast of Bayda.

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