'Marble Arch' / L'arco dei Fileni de Mussolini

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Owen, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Was reading earlier today about Marble Arch in Libya and wondered if it still there.
    Unfortunately it was destroyed in 1970 by Kadhafi.
    Quite impressive , shame it's gone, would have made a good Then & Now photo.


    [​IMG]

    Trucks pass through 'Marble Arch', a monument built by Mussolini to mark the border between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania in Libya, 26 December 1942.

    Some modern photos of the ruins of it.
    L'arco dei Fileni de Mussolini

    A interesting story behind it's location goes back to ancient history.

    Mussolini's famous and expensive 'folly', the ‘Marble Arch,’with the two bronze figures representing the Phileni brothers from Carthage.
    About 350 BC, a dispute over the boundary between Carthage and Cyrenica was to be settled by a foot race; two runners from Carthage running west while two from the Cyreneans ran east. The point at which they met was to be the boundary. The Phileni from Carthage were very much faster than the Cyrenean pair, and reached the point where, more than 2,000 years later, Musolini built his arch.
    The Cyreneans objected that the new border had lost them too much of their land, and wanted men from Carthage to go back a bit. They refused. The Cyreneans finally agreed the border, but buried the Phileni brothers alive, and erected two altars to mark the graves. These became first, the agreed border, and much later, the site of Mussolini's Folly.
    When we drove past it for the first time we we couldn't believe that anyone would build anything at all in this wilderness.



    BBC - WW2 People's War - Memoirs of a Jock 39/45
     
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    In the "other" forum I posted some pictures taken from this site La mia guerra 1940-1943

    including
    [​IMG]

    Lots of good pictures by an Italian engineer.

    [​IMG]

    The inscription read:

    “Alme Sol, possis nihil urbe Roma visere maius”

    “Tu non vedrai NESSUNA COSA AL Mondo MAGGIOR DI ROMA”.

    Badly translated it means "High sun, may you never see in the world a city large then Rome". The King of Lybya (Idriss?) had it translated to Arabic, then Khadaffi razed the thing. Sic transit gloria mundi.

    But do see the photos in the site!
     
    Owen likes this.
  3. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    The arch had surprisingly survived the war - but as said above; it was blown away in 1973. However; the two lying bronze-statues of the Fileni-brothers have survived until today (and as well parts of the stone-reliefs of the inside of the arch).
     
  4. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    This is one of the brothers:
     

    Attached Files:

    Owen likes this.
  5. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Have quite some "German" pictures of the structure - are there more taken from the Allied side as well?
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Have quite some "German" pictures of the structure - are there more taken from the Allied side as well?
    Two more from IWM


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: Royal Air Force official photographer

    Title: ROYAL AIR FORCE: OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 1939-1943.

    Collection No.: 4700-20

    Description: Curtiss Kittyhawk Pilots of No. 239 Wing RAF report to their Commanding Officer's tent at Marble Arch, Tripolitania, after a sortie against retreating Axis forces in Libya. An ambitious plan, to airlift a whole fighter wing complete with necessary maintenance staff, equipment and supplies, to a forward landing ground in order to support the Eighth Army's most advanced elements in Libya, was carried out the day after the New Zealand Division secured Marble Arch on 17 December 1942. During the morning of 18 December, while transport aircraft mounted 79 sorties, flying in 160 tons of personnel and equipment, 239 Wing's four squadrons of Kittyhawks arrived at Marble Arch and by 1.30 pm were flying their first fighter-bomber sorties in support of the New Zealand Division from the landing ground
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    ...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: Royal Air Force official photographer

    Title: ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 1939-1943.

    Collection No.: 4700-90

    Description: Curtiss Kittyhawks of No. 239 Wing RAF fly into Marble Arch landing ground, past the Arco dei Fileni, ("Marble Arch") a monument erected on the Via Balbia, the coastal road in Libya between the provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, to celebrate early Italian Fascist victories.

    Period:Second World War
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Zodini -
    "sic gloria transit mundi'

    Does that mean that Gloria was sick on the bus on monday ?

    just asked !
    Cheers
     
    Paul Reed likes this.
  9. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    It think that since Gloria was sick, se was NOT on the bus on Monday...
     
  10. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Another one. Remants of one of the inscription plates:
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    More remnants of Marble Arch:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Zodini -
    "sic gloria transit mundi'

    Does that mean that Gloria was sick on the bus on monday ?

    just asked !
    Cheers

    Argh!

    I had to see this! :D
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    [​IMG]
    Panzer III's March '41
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  16. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    The coastal highway is undergoing a renovation and is being enlarged from two to four lanes. I guess that during the recent desert journey, it was the last time I was able to show others the last remnants of the foundation of the former 'Marble Arch' before they disapear forever :-(
     
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  17. adamitshelanu

    adamitshelanu Steve in Raleigh, NC

    Hi folks:

    Help, please: approximate map coordinates of Mussolini' Marble Arch?

    In 1966 I hitch-hiked (tramped) across North Africa. From mid-Tunsia to Alexandria I rode with a Land Rover "sales" expedition, lead by...

    "...In 1949, with the Land Rover brand less than a year old, Colonel Leblanc drove his brand new 80-inch Series I Land Rover from Great Britain to Abyssinia [3]..."
    Overlanding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It was after dusk when we approached a huge arch. We pulled around it, not through it. On the east side was a road barrier (55 gal. barrel, some barbed wire and a sentry shack). No other visible land marks in that part of Libya. :^)

    I have always called it Mussolini' arch d'triumph. But it was likely the Marble Arch, given this reference:

    "...in Wadi Tamet 50 miles from the coast near El Ageila and Marble Arch in Tripolitania...'
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/nw-europe/3143-capt-m-l-pilkington-mc-lrdg.html

    I remember the lights of El Ageila being about 1/2-hour further east. (We slept in the desert that night after passing El Ageila...ground like concrete and the wailing of the wolves.)

    Is Surt/Sert the current name for El Ageila or is El Ageila a separate location? Col. Leblanc simply said that the oil was piped up from the interior and El Ageila was the shipment terminus.
     
  18. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    'Marble Arch' is near today's Ras Lanuf (you will recognize the oil terminal)
    Surt, Sert is the city of SIRTE and has definitely nothing to do with el-Agheila
    And el-Agheila is still where it always was....
     
  19. adamitshelanu

    adamitshelanu Steve in Raleigh, NC

    Thank you, Kuno, for orienting me. After doing a bit of library research, I see that El Agheila is still where it always was.... :rolleyes:

    So we approached the Marble Arch from the west and I could see the lights (from there) of the oil terminal (Ras Lanuf). We drove on and "camped out" somewhere in the vicinity of El Agheila (given the time we traveled).

    We had started from Tripoli that day and I assume it was at Sirte that we refueled with "benzene" that made the Rovers ping continuously. We made it to Benghazi the next day.

    Somewhere in there Partrich, whom I was supposed to "keep awake", hit a dromedary (camel). It wasn't moving and I keep saying: are you going wide enough? No injury to the animal that we could see, but our right fender buckled. :p

    I can't contribute to the WWII talk, except to say that in 1966 there were (still) clusters of jerry cans rusting, and barbed wire round about the (blasted) trenches. Several times we saw the stone markers "commemorating" the location of certain important mine fields. Leblanc said that 50 meters each side of the road had been cleared, but not to step too far away to take a leak. And of course, the mirages. I am speaking of the stretch from Tripoli to Benghazi.

    Thank you, Kuno.
     
  20. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    ...the remnants of the war are much less today, scrap metal was the main export of the Country until the 1960ies, when the oil took over. But still... mines and UXPO are causing damage now and then. Better not to touch such stuff at all.
     

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