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THARROS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 727 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THARROS  , an

ancient
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town of Sardinia, situated on the west coast, on the narrow sandy isthmus of a peninsula at the north extremity of the Gulf of
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Oristano, now marked by the tower of S . Giovanni di Sinis . It was 12 M . W. of Othoca (Oristano) by the coast road, which went on northward to
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Cornus (a milestone of it is given in Corp . Incr .
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Lat. x . 8009), and thence to Turris Libisonis . It was of Phoenician origin, but continued to exist in
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Roman times, as the inscriptions show, though they give but little information (Mommsen in Corp . Inscr . Lat. x . 822) . It was destroyed by the
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Saracens in the 11th century .

Scanty traces of Roman buildings may be seen, and an ancient road paved with large blocks of

stone . A
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part of the site of the town is now invaded by the sea . The church of S . Giovanni di Sinis is a heavy
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building of the 8th (?) century A.D. originally cruciform, with a dome over the
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crossing; the transepts and dome are still preserved, but the
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nave with its two aisles is later . It is naturally built of materials from the old town . Close to it is a watch-tower and a spring of fresh
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water . The importance of Tharros may be inferred from the extent of its
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necropolis, which lies on the basaltic peninsula of S . Marco to the S.; on the
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summit of it are the remains of a nuraghe . Casual excavations are mentioned under the
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Spanish viceroys, but
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regular exploration only began in 1838, when the Roman tombs were examined . In 185o Spano excavated many Phoenician tombs; they are rectangular or square chambers cut in the rock, measuring from 6 to 9 ft. each way, in which inhumation was the
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rule . The
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objects found—pottery, scarabs, jewelry, amulets, &c.—were of considerable
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interest . In 1851 Lord Vernon opened fourteen tombs, and after that the whole countryside ransacked the necropolis, without any proper records or notes being taken, and with
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great damage to the objects found .

Some of these objects are in the museum at Cagliari, others in private collections, and many scarabs are in the

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British Museum, all of which by the coins found with them are dated later than the Roman occupation (Catalogue of Gems,
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London, 1888, pp . 13 sqq.) . In 1885-86 regular excavations were made, the results of whichmay be seen in the museum at Cagliari . One tomb contained some
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fine gold ornaments, with Roman coins of the 1st to 3rd century A.D . (F . Vivanet in Notizze degli Scavi, 1886, 27; 1887, 46, 124) . The objects, like those found at Sulcis, show considerable traces of
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Egyptian influence, but are probably all of Phoenician importation—the theory of the existence of Egyptian colonies in Sardinia being quite inadmissible . Some 3 M. to the N. is the church of S . Salvatore, with underground rock-cut chambers below it, used as a baptistery (?) by the early Christians, though the walls are decorated with paintings of a decidedly pagan nature . (T .

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