donderdag 20 november 2014


15.The hinterland:
The influence of Hippo Regius reached ultimately until Gwalma (Guelma) and Souk Ahras.
What we encounter there must have been for a long time a reflection of what happened in Hippo Regius.
Guelma (Calama in latin) is 75 km east of Cirta on the road to Hippo Regius. It has a strong Punic influence in onomastics, funeral rites, municipal organizations and the cult. There are many Neo-Punic inscriptions and J.-B.Chabot assembled c.40 of them. Guelma preserves his Punic character till the end of the Roman period (begin 5th century BC). See: Augustinus Ep. 91,10. A memory stone with Tanit and Baal Hamon comes from Guelma (Saturne Africain, M LeGlay, Monuments I, nr.284, Paris 1961).
Some 15 km north of Guelma is the village ‘Ain Nešma. In Punic: Tbršy and in Latin: Thabarbusis. It is the finding place of Libian en Neo-Punic stelae. In the Numid and Roman period the made images on the stelae of naked men and women with big noses (!) with a palm-tree and a bunch of grapes as symbols of fertility. In Carthage an inscription (CIS I 309) has been found with ‘a man from Tbršy. It belongs to the 3rd century BC.
See: Populus Thabarbusitanus et les Gymnasia de Quintus Flavius Luppianus, Libyca 6 (1958) p.143-151.
Guelat bou Sba is situated c.10 km north of Guelma.
It is the finding plae of a bilingue (latin and neopunic). CIL VIII 17467 = KAI 165.
One of these inscriptions is of particular interest: it appears on a stelae marking a tomb and the name of the deceased. Using a little imagination, the late J.G.Février deciphered the following appeal to the passer-by: “O you who pass – pause here and read!” It testifies to the fact that in the 1st century AD a considerable part of the population still knew how to read and write in Punic.
Souk Ahras (Thagaste) is the birthplace of Aurelius Augustinus. His son was called Adeodatus (given by God = Baalyaton).

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