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Thenae or Thenai (Ancient Greek: Θεναί), also written Thaena and Thaenae, was a Carthaginian and Roman town (civitas) located in or near Thyna, now a suburb of Sfax on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern Tunisia.[1]

Thaena or Thaenae
Thenae is located in Tunisia
Shown within Tunisia
LocationSfax Governorate, Tunisia
Coordinates34°41′14.4″N 10°43′13.8″E / 34.687333°N 10.720500°E / 34.687333; 10.720500Coordinates: 34°41′14.4″N 10°43′13.8″E / 34.687333°N 10.720500°E / 34.687333; 10.720500


The city was founded with the Punic name tʿynt (Punic: 𐤕𐤏𐤉𐤍‬𐤕),[2][3] similar to Semitic transcriptions of Tayinat in Turkey. Head also transcribes it as Thainath.[3] The Punic name was transcribed into Greek as Thaína (Θαίνα)[4] and Thenae (Θεναί),[5] and into Latin variously as Thenae, Thaena, and Thaenae. Strabo called the town Thena (ἡ Θένα)[6] and Ptolemy called it both Thaina (Θαίνα)[4] and Theaenae (Θέαιναι).[7] At a later period it became a Roman colony with the name of Aelia Augusta Mercurialis.[8]


Thenae was founded as a Phoenician colony[3] on the Mediterranean coast of what is now southeastern Tunisia. Along with the rest of ancient Tunisia, it passed into Carthaginian and then Roman control during the time of the Punic Wars.

Thenae issued its own bronze coins around the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus, with a female head (either Serapis or Astarte) obverse and a four-columned temple reverse.[3] It also bore the town's name in Punic characters.[3]

In the surviving ruins, there are a bath house, a wealthy house (domus), city walls, lower-class housing, and an early Christian basilica.[9]


Thenae was the seat of a Christian bishopric during late antiquity. According to a life of St Fulgentius, a council was held at Thenae (Latin: Thenitanum Concilium). There are six documented bishops of the ancient diocese:

Today, Thenae survives as a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. Modern bishops have been:[10]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Leone (2007), p. 354.
  2. ^ Ghaki (2015), p. 67.
  3. ^ a b c d e Head & al. (1911).
  4. ^ a b Ptolemy. The Geography. 1.15.2.
  5. ^   Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Thenae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  6. ^ Strabo. Geographica. xvii. p. 831. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  7. ^ Ptolemy. The Geography. 4.3.11.
  8. ^   Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Thenae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  9. ^ Chapot (1928), p. 385.
  10. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1).

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Thenae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.