Trip Start Jun 29, 2008
58Trip End Nov 27, 2008
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The Sultan Moulay Ismail, a man of excesses with a harem of 500 wives and concubines, was an admirer of Louis XIV and set about building an imperial city in Meknes to rival the Palace of Versailles
Volubulis, 30km North of Meknes, is the site of the most extensive Roman ruins in Morocco, from the time of the rule of Marcus Aurelius. They were quite impressive in their extent and had some nice mosaic work in reasonable condition. Once again, I was reminded of the level of civilisation achieved by the Romans at such a stage in history, with not only their grand architectural feats which have stood the test of time, but also evidence of their fresh water and waste management, with channelling systems for provision of fresh water to homes and a sewage system for the town. Our guide pointed out a vomitorium, said to be used when they imbibed in too much wine, which I must admit I had not heard of before despite visiting many previous Roman sites, and many in our group doubted that was its use. However, Ben, who has studied Roman history, informed me that it was common to have such an area to go to and purge when feasts were being enjoyed, in order to allow ongoing consumption. Charming!! Maybe not so civilised after all?