A brief note in one of the guidebooks I brought back from Libya tells me that in the 17th century a French traveller named Durand found the circus at Leptis Magna in considerably better repair than it is now. In particular the starting boxes — now vanished — were visible at the straight end of the course.
Unfortunately no reference is given, and I can find nothing online except a mention that his visit was in 1694. Does anyone know who this Durand was, or the title of his book?
UPDATE: This link to Cagnat, Inscriptionum Africae Proconsularis, p.2289 quotes Durand on inscriptions and the reference is Le Mercure Galant of 1694. This seems to be a periodical; the 1703 issue is here. But links like this suggest to me that nobody has seen the original articles; rather that everyone is in fact using Cagnat, Les ruines de Leptis a la fin du XVIIe siecle (1901). I’ve not located this yet online.
UPDATE: The Cagnat item Les ruines appears to be an article, not a book, in Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de France, vol. 60. Still can’t find the right volume, tho. 1901 is year of publication; 1899 is the year of reports.