In 395 and 396 the general insecurity, due to Gildo’s revolt, prevented the regular celebration of councils. Only in 397 could the African general council meet. Portland Metro Map Augustine attended as bishop of Hippo. The conditions in which it was held were rather curious. The bishops of Byzacena had arrived at Carthage much earlier than the other delegations, esp. the Numidians, and did not seem at all disposed to wait for the council’s opening, fixed for 27 August. It is likely that this attitude was inspired by a thorny problem of precedence: did not the province of Byzacena, once part of Proconsularis, have precedence over Numidia? The Numidians might well have replied that their province was older than Byzacena and that consequently their primate had the right to second place, immediately after the primate of Carthage. We do not know if the question was ever resolved in any event, it is strange to see it reemerge in 525 after the long Vandal intermission CCL 149, 259- 262. In 397, however, it was more lively than ever, so much so that the bishops of Byzacena, by withdrawing before the opening of the council and thus not sitting with the Numidians, would have avoided either provoking an incident or creating a precedent. In their defense, we must point out that they did a useful work by compiling the Breviarium Hipponense CCL 149, 22-44, which they pledged to observe in their province.
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