The Punic port city of Iol was named Caesarea by Juba II 25 BC AD 23; when it came under Roman rule in AD 40 it became the capital of the province of Mauretania Caesareana Mauretania Caesarea; under Claudius it was called Colonia Claudia Caesarea. Today it is called Cherchel Algeria. Only archaeology and hagiography cast some light on the Christian origins of this city. Possibly Christian, from a period prior to the peace of the church, are a sarcophagus with the inscription In Domino, some epitaphs ornamented with an anchor, olive and dove in one of which the expression Memoria Amandae appears. Certainly Christian are the inscriptions of the priest Victor and the clarissimus M.A.I. Severianus CCL VIII 9585-9586, the latter remade in the 4th c., both from the cemetery area W of the city. Some 4th-c. sarcophagus fragments include a lid with the fiery furnace and the adoration of the magi. In the W part of the city an apsed room with two fine mosaics was found, but this is little for a city of perhaps 40,000 inhabitants. Local martyrs include the standardbearer Fabius BHL 2818; the virgin Marciana AB 24, 261-264, who appears in the Mart. hier. on 11 July; Arcadius, named by Zeno of Verona PL 11, 450-455; and Theodora and her children.

As for bishops, Fortunatus took part in the Council of Arles 314; Clement lived at the time of Firmus’s rebellion 371 and was recommended by the pagan Symmachus to his brother, vicarius Africae; Deuterius was at the conference of Carthage 411 with the learned and intelligent Donatist Bishop Emeritus Augustine, Ep. 87, with whom Augustine, in 418, was unable to arrange a public debate in the city’s main church; Apocorius took part in the conference called at Carthage by Huneric 484. Perhaps we should add two more names: the Evelpius who appears in the inscription of M.A.I. Severianus but the possibility of identifying these two is dubious, and the sacerdos i.e., bishop, priest for the previous 18 years, of inscription CIL VIII 21417, whose name is not preserved. Augustine, together with Alypius, Possidius and other bishops, went to Caesarea and the surrounding area in 418, sent by Pope Zosimus, on unspecified ecclesiastical business. At the will of Pope Boniface I, he returned there upon the death of Bishop Deuterius, for the choice of his successor, opposing the transfer to Caesarea of Bishop Honorius of the territory of Cartennae Tn¨s, who occupied another see. Unsuccessful, in 420 Augustine sent the case back to the pope for a solution.

PWK 3, 1294-1295; DACL 3, 1269-1281; LTK3 2, 877; Ph. Leveau, Caesarea de Maurtanie. Une ville romaine et ses campagnes, Rome 1984; S. Lancel, S. Augustin et la Maurtanie csarienne: les annes 418-419   la lumi¨re des nouvelles lettres rcemment publies: REAug 30 1984 48-59; Id., II: L’affaire de l’vªque Honorius automne 419-printemps 420 dans les nouvelles lettres 22, 23 et 23A: REAug 30 1984 251-262; I. Gui – N. Duval – J.-P. Caillet, Basiliques chrtiennes d’Afrique du Nord, Paris 1992, vol. I, 16 f.; T.W. Potter, Towns in Late Antiquity: Iol Caesarea and Its Context, Oxford 1995.

CAESAREA Photo Gallery


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