Sabratha was a Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland. Sabratha was part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. Sabratha's golden age can be traced to the era when four Roman emperors reigned: Antonius Pius (AD 138-61), Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (AD 161-80), Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus (AD 180-92), and finally Septimus Severus (Ad 193-211). The Roman Emperor Septimus Severus was born nearby in Leptis Magna, and Sabratha reached its monumental peak during the rule of the Severans. The city was badly damaged by earthquakes during the 4th century, particularly in the quake of AD 365. It was rebuilt on a more modest scale by Byzantine governors. However, within a hundred years of the Arab conquest of the maghreb, trade had shifted to other ports and Sabratha's importance declined and the city's fortunes dwindled and it was abandoned and left to be claimed by the desert sands. It was re discovered in the early 20th century by Italian archaeologists.
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