The mosaics of El Jem

Published : 23-04-2019
What did the Roman shows in the amphitheatre of El Jem look like? In order to find out, visit the city’s museum.

El Jem is famous for its huge Roman amphitheatre; but it is often forgotten that the monument was in the heart of a big ancient city called Thysdrus.
One of the specialties of the region of Thysdrus was making mosaics. Its artists were renown: they made pictures surrounded with very sophisticated frames based on complex geometric patterns and vegetal arabesques.

Animal fights in the amphitheatre of El Jem

But the most interesting thing is that the mosaics from Thysdrus often depict the brutal shows of the Roman amphitheatre. Wild animals were thrown in the arena so that spectators could see the predators chase their prey and devour it.
That is the reason why rich inhabitants of Thysdrus decorated their houses with mosaics depicting scenes of wild animals. 
If you go to the El Jem Coliseum, don’t miss to visit the nearby museum. Not only does it have a very nice collection of mosaics, but it is surrounded by remains and completed by a Roman African house reconstructed as it was originally.
After this visit, you will surely imagine the great ancient city that once surrounded this major monument.


In the workshop Dar El Jem, craftsmen and women revive the tradition of mosaics.

Animal fights in the amphitheatre

Patterns and ornements

Mythological scenes

The Museum of El Jem

The Villa Africa, a Roman African house reconstructed

The El Jem Coliseum was surrounded by a big ancient city…

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