VOLUBILIS PART 1
In The Serpent’s Daughter, some of the Jade’s breakfast guests discuss places to visit within Morocco. One possible spot, if they were willing to travel far enough inland, was the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, meaning “morning glory.”
Named for the flowers of the oleander rather than what we think of as a morning glory, Volubilis had its share of temples, baths, and aquaducts. It might have been an important city at one time, defending Roman settlements from the wild southern Berber tribes, but by Jade’s time in 1920, it had long since been reduced to a few ruins and for good reason, starting with Rome pulling out its army around 285 A.D.
In 1672, Sultan Moulay-Ismael made nearby Meknez his capital and set out to build up his palace using the ruins of Volubilis. What he did not take, was toppled by an earthquake in 1755. Consequently, there was little to see in 1920 outside of a few pillars and a triumphal arch (see photo) built when the Roman Empire granted citizenship and even more importantly, tax exemption, to the residents sometime around 211 A.D.
If Jade visited the site, she would have found Monsieur Louis Chatelain, an archaeologist, busily at work uncovering and preserving this site.