Map showing Auzia just south of Algiers (Roman Icosium)
Shown within Algeria
Location Algeria
Region Bouïra Province
Coordinates 36°08′50″N 3°41′26″E / 36.147222°N 3.690556°E / 36.147222; 3.690556

Auzia was a Roman-Berber colonia in present-day Sour El-Ghozlane, Algeria. The area was located around 150 km south-east of Algiers, in the ancient province of Mauretania Caesariensis.


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).

According to the historian Rchard Lawless, Auzia 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.[2] 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

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 Archbishopric of Mauretania Caesariensis, the capital of the Late Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis, 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.

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


  1. History of Auzia (in French)
  2. 1 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


See also

Sources and External links

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