(It. Ant. p. 30), AUZEA (Tac. Ann. 4.25
), AUZIA (Αὔζια, Ptol. 4.2.31
, vulg. Αὔζινα
: COLONIA AUZIENSIS, Inscr.), an important inland city of Mauretania Caesariensis, on the high road from Caesarea to Sitifi, stood in a small desert plain, at the N. foot of the Jebel Deira
(Garaphi M.), and near the sources of the river Adous
(probably the ancient AUDUS).
A tradition, quoted by Josephus from Menander, ascribes its foundation to Ithobalus, king of Tyre, the contemporary of Ahab, king of Israel. (Antiq. Jud.
8.7. s. 13.2: οὗτος ἔκτισε . . . . . Αὔζαν τὴν ἐν Ἀιβίῃ.
) Its position exposed it greatly to the attacks of the barbarians.
In the reign of Tiberius, when it was the scene of Dolabella's victory over Tactarinas, and the latter chieftain‘s death (A.D. 24), it is described by Tacitus (l.c.
) as a half-destroyed fort, which had been burnt by the Numidians, shut in by vast forests [p. 1.349]
on all sides; but its subsequent state, as a flourishing colony, is attested by extant inscriptions, one of which records the defeat and death of a rebel Moorish chieftain, Faraxes, who had led his cavalry into the city's territory, by the praefect Q. Gargilius.
This inscription concludes with the date VIII. KAL. FEB. PR. CCXXI., which Orelli explains as the 221st year from the establishment of the province of Numidia by Julius Caesar, in B.C. 46; this would bring the date of the inscription to A.D. 176, in the reign of M. Antoninus.
The place is mentioned again in the war of Theodosius against Firmus, A.D. 373, under the various names, in the corrupted text of Ammianus Marcellinus (29.5
), of municipium
or castcllum Addense, Audiense,
and D'Avézac refers the inscription just mentioned to the period of this war, identifying the Faraxes of the inscription with the Fericius of Ammianus. (Afrique Ancienne,
pp. 233, 234.)
The site of Auzia is marked by the ruins called by the Arabs Sour-el-Rezlan
Shaw), S. of the modern Hamza,
which has been constructed almost entirely of the ruins of the ancient city. Among these ruins are the inscriptions copied by Shaw, and referred to above. Remarking on the accuracy of the brief description given by Tacitus, Shaw says, “Auzia hath been built upon a small plat of level ground, every way surrounded with such an unpleasant mixture of naked rocks, and barren forests, that I don't remember to have met with a more melancholy situation.” (Shaw, Travels,
vol. i. pp. 80, foll., pp. 37--40, 2d ed.; Orelli, Inscr.
No. 529; Pellissier, Exploration Scientsfique de l'Algerie,
vol. vi. p. 352.)