Auzia

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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.

History[edit]

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.

Notes[edit]

  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

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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]