Auzia

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Map showing Auzia just south of Algiers (Roman Icosium)

Auzia was a Roman colony in north Africa. It is now called Sour El-Ghozlane, a town and district seat in central-northern Algeria, located 150 km south-east of the capital Algiers.

History[edit]

Auzia probably took the name from the Berber pagan god "Auzius", because under Augustus a Roman castrum was founded near a small Berber village with that name [1] The city constituted of a castrum (fort) and a vicus (small city): Auzia achieved autonomous status as municipium in the second century and later was renamed Colonia Septima Aurelia Auziense by emperor Septimius Severus. As a Roman colonia, its people received full status of Roman citizenship rights.

Tacitus wrote about a "Castellum Auziense", as the headquarters of the Roman garrison commander in Mauretania Caesariensis's central limes (border fortifications).

Auzia, according to historian Lawless, was a vicus that achieved independent status from the castrum (fort) garrison and had a forum (market square) and an important pagan temple, later converted into a 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 achieved prosperity mainly because it 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]

In 290 AD, however, the Bavares tribe attacked Auzia and the city suffered huge destruction. Vandals and Byzantine troops occupied temporarily the city.

It was reduced to a small village when Arabs conquered the region at the end of the seventh century.

Former and Titular bishopric[edit]

Christianity was present in the Auzia area during the third century. It achieved the status of episcopal see. It was one of the many suffragans of the metropolitan Archbshopric of Caesarea Mauretaniae, the capital of the Late Roman province of [Caesarea Mauretaniae]], and faded like most.

The Ancient diocese of Auzia was nominally revived in 1594 as a Latin Catholic titular bishopric of the lowest (episcopal) rank. It had many incumbents -all episcopal- until its suppression in 1913.

  • Jean Daffis (1594.01.19 – 1597.11.10)
  • Jean de Bertier (1602.02.25 – 1602.08.31)
  • Antoine de Coues (1604.03.15 – 1616)
  • Bishop-elect Alphonse d’Elbène (1608.02.04 – 1608.02.08)
  • Henri Clausse de Fleury (1608.04.28 – 1624.09.18)
  • Philibert du Sault (1618.07.23 – 1623.05.25)
  • Pedro Luis Manso Zuñiga (1648.07.06 – 1669.12.16)
  • Jacques de Bourges, Paris Foreign Missions Society M.E.P. (1679.11.25 – 1714.08.09)
  • Lorenzo Taranco Mujaurrieta (1736.02.27 – 1745.03.08)
  • Peter Creagh (1745.04.12 – 1747)
  • Vincenzo Sangermano, Barnabites (B.) (1792.02.14 – ?)
  • John MacLaughlin (1837.02.21 – 1840.08.18)
  • Vincenzo Bufi Bocci (1838.02.15 – 1850.07.21)
  • Giovanni Battista Arnaldi (1852.03.18 – 1853.03.07) (later Archbishop
  • Vitale Galli (1875.07.05 – 1876.01.11)
  • Antonio Piterà (1877.03.20 – 1913.05.10)

It was restored in 1933, and since was nearly continuously filled, again all incumbents of episcopal rank :

  • Francis Hong Yong-ho (홍용호 프란치스코) (1944.03.24 – 1962.03.10)
  • Francisco Xavier Gillmore Stock (1962.09.04 – 1990.05.27)
  • Markijan Trofimiak (1991.01.16 – 1998.03.25)
  • Ludwig Schick (1998.05.20 – 2002.06.28) (later Archbishop)
  • Dominique Marie Jean Denis You ((2002.12.11 – 2006.02.08)
  • Yaroslav Pryriz, Redemptorists (C.SS.R.) (2006.03.02 – 2010.04.21)
  • F. Richard Spencer (2010.05.22 – ...), Auxiliary Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of United States of America (USA).

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

Sources and External links[edit]

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]