The Lepcitan Severan Forum and its Basilica
A new forum measuring 50x100 meters was part of the building program initiated by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus, which was continues by his son Caracalla after his death in Britain in 211 AD. The forum and basilica were placed on the side of the colonnaded street that joined the old part of the city with the newer Hadrianic bath.
The program was composed of one temple for the dynastic imperial cult, one basilica, two forums, and the colonnated street. But only one forum was built, with the basilica, the colonnated street and the temple. We do not know the dedicated inscription of the temple, but the inscription of the basilica gives the date of the works in 216 AD. After that, Caracalla decided that it was too expensive to continue, so he stopped the program.
The basilica was built face to face with the temple on the short side of the forum. There are three naves. At the two lateral naves, there was a floor of galleries. At each end of the basilica, on the short side was an apse. Into each one there were pillars illustrated with mythological scenes about Hercules and Liber Pater, the city's two gods, sculpted by artists from Aphrodisias of Caria. This room measured 70 x 36 meters and had around ten entries from differents directions. During Justinian's reign a Christian services took place in it.
The colonnaded street was fourty meters wide and had arcades on each side. Colonnated streets were an architectural element of the Syrian cities of the roman empire. In fact, Lepcis Magna is the only one example of colonnaded streets in the westearn provinces.
All around the forum was a porticus with arcadds. On the top of the columns of this porticus, there were sculpted gorgone's heads. One part of them was sculpted by local artists and the other part was produced by artists from Asia Minor, as the emperor asked artists from Asia Minor to help realise the building program, who came and engaged local artists to help them.