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Douraïd Souissi : Salammbô, Carthage


On the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Gustave Flaubert in 2021, three museums come together and offer an extraordinary and transdisciplinary journey – art, literature, opera, cinema, comics, archeology … – to reveal the scope of the novel Salammbô on all the arts, as well as its topicality and its legacy in the history of the Mediterranean.

“It was in Megara, a suburb of Carthage, in the gardens of Hamilcar”. The first sentence of Gustave Flaubert’s novel, Salammbô, was for generations of readers the trigger for a unique experience in which emotions were taken to their climax. The fatal attraction between Salammbô, priestess of Tanit and Mathô, leader of the revolted mercenaries, the opulent Carthage and its invincible walls, the burnt elephants and the crucified lions, everything in this astonishing novel is conducive to igniting the imaginations.

Resolutely transdisciplinary, the exhibition takes place in three stages. First we find the sources on which Flaubert was able to rely, from the myth of Carthage as we know it through Dido or the history of the Punic wars, to the beginnings of Carthaginian archeology.

The exhibition then explores the immense artistic posterity of the novel: music, opera and movies will be evoked through set models, costumes, posters and restored copies of period recordings. The popular edition and its attractive covers, the advertising imagery, which summons a universe both exotic and fatal, makes the link with our time when Salammbô seems to be reborn in the imaginary through the immense work of Philippe Druillet in the field. comics and video games.

Finally, it provides the opportunity to address the development of archaeological research, from the pioneers of Punic archeology to excavations undertaken under the aegis of Unesco and thus echo the current questions around Carthaginian archeology. .

In conclusion, the reportage of Tunisian photographer Douraïd Souissi on the place of Salammbô in the Tunisian public space joins the remarks of the academic Samia Kassab-Charfi on the legacy of the novel in modern and contemporary Tunisian literature.


The SALAMMBÔ exhibition is presented in three cities – Rouen, Marseille, Tunis – from spring 2021 to summer 2022 and brings together around 250 works, objects, images, from French and European public and private collections, including the Louvre, the National Library of France, the National Museum of Modern Art – Center Pompidou, the Museum of Mediterranean Archeology in Marseille, the Cabinet des Médailles in Marseille, the museums of Rouen, Munich and Berlin …


Exhibition in partnership with the Tunisian National Heritage Institute.

A traveling exhibition in 3 stages:

– from April 23 to September 19, 2021 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen

– from October 20, 2021 to February 07, 2022 at the Mucem, Marseille

– spring-summer 2022 at the Bardo National Museum, Tunisia

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