The remains of a Roman city were discovered buried in the sands of Northern Algeria in 1881. The city known as Timgad was found just as it had been left 2,000 years ago. Numerous Roman structures were built to demonstrate the power and prosperity of the Empire at that time.
Stored rainwater and irrigated water was brought here. Along the walls of this open area are bench-like chairs. Each seat has a round hole. This in fact is a public lavatory. Rainwater flowed through the channel below and flushed the human waste away. The water and sewage systems are especially remarkable.
A notable feature of Timgad is that all the houses are the same size. Why was the town designed in a grid system? Dividing land equally among Romans and Africans and promoting equality would appeal to all citizens of the city. Timgad was the embodiment of Roman power but it also existed for another hidden political purpose. When Timgad was built, it was declared that only Roman citizens would be allowed to live there. Roman citizenship was granted to “any man completing 25 years of military service and his son”. People wanting to benefit from comfortable living conditions and for the sake of their children willingly joined the army. Timgad was a city built for soldiers who gained citizenship by fighting for Rome. The reward for enduring a harsh military life was the prospect of leading an elegant life in Timgad. In the corner of the Public Square are the remains of some ancient graffiti which reads: “To hunt, bathe, play games and laugh. This is life!”