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NORA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 738 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NORA, an ancient town of Sardinia, 22 M. by road S.S.W. of Carales. It was founded, according to Pausanias (x. 17. 5), by the Iberians under Norax, son of Hermes, and was the most ancient town in the island. The discoveries made on the site have, however, shown that it was certainly of Phoenician origin. In Roman times too, we find the milestones on the road from Nora to Bitia and even on that from Nora to Carales reckoned from Nora (Corp. inscr. Lat. x. 831; Ephemeris epigraphica, viii. 18o) ; but the authors and the sepulchral inscriptions found here give us no information as to its juridical condition. The town occupies a characteristically Phoenician site, a small peninsula joined to the mainland by an isthmus,, low, narrow and sandy. Excavations have led to the discovery of a few Phoenician buildings, the foundations of a temple of Tanit, of a road, of quay walls at the water's edge and of a watch-tower, on the extremity of the peninsula, which rises to some 150 ft. above the sea. Two cemeteries were found, one of the 7th-6thcentury B.C., consisting of tombs cut in the rock for inhumation, while in the other, going down to the 4th century B.1.; cremation is the rule; there are ossuaries placed in holes in the sand, with a sculptured stele over each. A quantity of small objects, gems, ivories, glass, vases, terra-cottas, &c., were found; in some of them Egyptian, in others Greek, influence and importation are apparent. To the Roman period belong an aqueduct, bringing the water from the neighbouring hills—one pier of it rests upon a destroyed nuraghe—scanty remains of an amphitheatre, a theatre, considerable ruins of concrete foundations (perhaps of villas by the sea) and a watch-tower on the promontory close to the Phoenician tower. A full description of the site and the excavations is given by G. Patroni in Monumenti dei Lincei, xiv. (1905), III. On the isthmus is the curious small old church of S Efisio, with a nave and two aisles divided by heavy square pillars. At the festival of the saint (May 1-4), his body is brought in procession from the cathedral at Cagliari; the festival is much frequented by people from all parts of Sardinia. (T.As.)
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