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Map showing Auzia just south of Algiers (roman Icosium)

Auzia was a Roman colonia in Berber north Africa. It is actually called Sour El-Ghozlane, a town in central Algeria located 150 km south-east of Algiers.


Auzia probably took the name from the berber pagan God "Auzius", because under Augustus was founded a roman castrum near a small berber village with that name [1] The city was made of a castrum-fort and a vicus (small city): Auzia achieved independent status as "municipium" in the second century and later was called COLONIA SEPTIMA AURELIA AUZIENSE by emperor Septimius Severus. As a roman colonia reached full status of roman citizenship rights.

Tacitus wrote about a "Castellum Auziense", as the headquarters of the roman commander in Mauretania Caesariensis' central limes.

Auzia, according to historian Lawless, was a vicus that achieved independent status from the castrum-fort and had a Forum and an important pagan temple, later converted to Christian church. The Roman settlement (probably with nearly 4,000 inhabitants around 200 AD) was surrounded by farms[2]

Auzia had even a theater and a small "circus" for chariot races, created around 227 AD according to epigraphic evidence[3]

Auzia got its prosperity mainly because was at the center of some roads in Roman Africa: from Auzia there were roads toward the Mediterranean sea (Caesarea) and the Saharan interior with the Atlas mountains.[4] Christianity was present in the Auzia area during the third century. In 290 AD , however, the Bavares tribe attacked Auzia and the city suffered huge destruction. Vandals and Byzantine troops occupied temporarily the city, that was reduced to a small village when Arabs conquered the region at the end of the seventh century.


  1. ^ History of Auzia (in French)
  2. ^ Lawless, R. Mauretania Caesartiensis: anarcheological and geographical survey Section: The Roman Civilian Sites. p.122-195
  3. ^ Auzia "Circus"
  4. ^ Auzia as center of roads in Mauretania


  • Lawless, R. Mauretania Caesartiensis: anarcheological and geographical survey. Durham University. Durham, 1969 Auzia
  • Smith Reid, James. The Municipalities of the Roman Empire The University of Michigan Press. Chicago, 1913

See also[edit]