Apuleius was born here. Augustine went to school here. Here's why Madauros was an important intellectual center in the Numidian highlands.
An Olive Tree at Thagaste and Legends of Augustine
Augustine was born and raised in Thagaste. He tried to retire here until, reluctantly, he returned to public life in Hippo Regius. He remains an Algerian legend. Read more.
Next Stop: Calama
Calama (modern Guelma, Algeria) is about 65 km south of Hippo Regius (Annaba, Algeria) and the Mediterranean coast. The map above also shows Souk Ahras (ancient Thagaste, Augustine's home town). The geographical relationship between Calama, Hippo Regius, and Thagaste is important for reasons previously discussed on the blog. Augustine's friend and biographer, Possidius, was bishop... Continue Reading →
Overlooking the archaeological park of Hippo Regius is the modern Basilica of St. Augustine, begun in 1881, completed in 1900, and recently renovated by the Algerian government. The stones used to construct the church were imported from France, and so was a bone said to be part of Augustine's arm. It is sometimes advertised as... Continue Reading →
Why Topography Matters and Administrative Borders Don’t
This map shows Hippo Regius (modern Annaba), Cirta (modern Constantine, the ancient capital of Numidia), Carthage (the capital of what Romans called Africa, roughly modern Tunisia), Rome, and Milan. Hippo Regius was located in the middle of a coastal plain with fairly easy travel along (or near) the shore for about 100 km to the... Continue Reading →
The Port of Hippo Regius
Hippo Regius was an important coastal city in Numidia throughout antiquity. Under Roman rule, it was an invaluable port for exporting African grain to Rome. The harbor would therefore have had large imperial storehouses to preserve the grain until it could be shipped. Unfortunately, only a portion of the ancient city survives, and the ancient... Continue Reading →
The Baptismal Font at Hippo Regius
Baptism (literally "a dipping [in water]") is a Christian initiation ritual. For a Christian, baptism is among the most important events in a person's life. In early African Christianity, there was real contention about who could (and could not) perform the ritual and who could (and could not) undergo it. For instance, did apostates (baptized... Continue Reading →
Augustine sat here (and so did I)
There were at least seven churches in Hippo Regius (modern Annaba, Algeria). Only a portion of the ancient city has been excavated, so we don't know which church this one is. But it faces west, like Augustine's, and has an adjoining house, like Augustine's. Even if it wasn't Augustine's church, he will have preached here... Continue Reading →
Hippo Regius Archaeological Park
Nearly 200 images from the archaeological park of Hippo Regius (Annaba, Algeria) are now available on Flickr. Take a look! They roughly follow the chronological itinerary (the blue line) on the site map below, but in reverse. Full image descriptions will be added in due course. For orientation, the late 19th century Basilica of St.... Continue Reading →