During the last centuries of the nuragic civilisation, along the coast of the Island the Phoenicians founded their first colonies: Sulci, today's Sant'Antioco, Karalis on the site of the current capital of Sardinia, Nora and Bithia not far from Cagliari and Tharros in the Province of Oristano. In the VI century BC the Carthaginians took the place of Phoenicians in the above centres. In about 510 BC, after various straggles, the Carthaginians managed to conquer Sardinia, setting up a complex defensive system in order to control the main means of communication between the coast and the inland areas and the places of particular economic interest. An example of this are the fortresses of Monte Sirai and Pani Loriga that controlled the plentiful mineral resources in the Sulcis-Iglesiente. Although there is some superimposition by the Roman Age, the principal Punic cities of Tharros, Nora and Sulci, allow the visitor to see, in magnificent surroundings, the original urban complexes, the most important cult sites, temples, tophets and necropolis.
  Sant'Antioco - Tophet
ImageSant'Antioco - Tophet
In 238 BC Sardinia became a Roman province, and the new conquerors, in order to impose their rule had to face the hostility and the resistance of the Sardinian-Punic people, who continued their cultural traditions for a long time. However Romanization took place during the 7 centuries of Roman occupation. Many signs of this Romanization can be seen in the architectural patrimony of the Island.
Cagliari - Roman amphitheatre
ImageCagliari - Roman amphitheatre
  In Cagliari one can see: an Amphitheatre dating from the 2nd century AD, whose main elements are carved out of the rock which can accomadate an audience of about 10.000 people and nowadays is used for opera performances during the summer; The Villa di Tigellio attributed to the Latin poet, who was a native of Sardinia and was mentioned by Orazio and Cicerone and also the evocative "Grotta della Vipera" in which there are some inscriptions in Latin and Greek representing the sacrifice of a woman for her husband.
Also in many other places on the Island signs of Romanization can be found: thermal baths, necropolis, private houses and temples, mostly belonging to the Imperial Age. But there is a monument that most synthesizes the course of populations and civilisations, the continuity, despite some differences, of Sardinian culture: the "Temple of Antas", not far from Fluminimaggiore. The building was restored under Caracalla in 213 AD, it began as a Punic sacellum and, perhaps, before that was a cult site dedicated to a local God, as some small bronzes of the Nuragic Period testify.
  Fluminimaggiore - The Temple of Antas
ImageFluminimaggiore - The Temple of Antas
The pronaos of the Roman renovation has four columns that support a frieze on which can be seen a Latin dedication to Sardus Pater, the traditional God of ancient Sardinia, that the various Punic epigraphs found in this lace identify as the Punic God called Sid. So the Roman conquerors wanted to respect the religious patrimony of the Sardinian inhabitants, who were militarily and politically conquered, but still proud of their own culture and confident, as they are today, of their past vitality that is still alive in their traditions and memories.

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The Island of Sardinia
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