Rousikada (Ptol.IV 3,1)
Rusic(c)ade (Lat) and others like: Rusicadis, Rusicadem. Rusicadensis.
(See: Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft).
Philippeville (during French protectorate).
It looks like it is the same name as we encounters in the Libanon: Raškida and Raškiddi. This could mean there “
Cape of the stone
bottle, jar, pitcher”. Is this a reference to a place where there is water? A
reconstruction of the Punic name could therefore be: R(’)š-(h)kd, although the
Punic name as such has never been attested.
Pomp.Mela I 33: “The area from
Metagonium to the altars of the
Philaenae is called Africa. Here are located
the towns of Hippo Regius, Rusiccade and Thabraca.”
Livius (XXIX 30,5) refers however to
in the context of the 2nd Punic War. Thapsus
Much later Vibius Sequester mentions
Thapsus and Rusiccade
together (‘ ,
iuxta Russicade.”). The Peutinger map calls the place again as “colonia Veneria
is preserved in
the name of the wadi Safsaf. Its meaning is: “white people living next to this
river.” Thapsa was certainly a Libyco-Berber toponym. If Rusicade is a punic
name then it could probably mean: “ Thapsus Cape of the
Fire”, because r’š = cape, ikada (yqd) = burning, fire. Is there even a
connection with the Punic word q d ḥ = light a lamp? à Cape of the
But there is a third possibility, which is brought to us by Albert Apréa in his writing “Les origins de Rusicade” (2004). About Rus there can’t be any doubt. That stands for “
Cape”, but the rest of the name
could be different. In Philippeville there is a hill that is called, the
Skikda, near the “Lycée Luciani”. The hill is covered with pines and in the
high season it is populated with myriads of (house)-crickets. In Arab the name
for this cricket is “boubziz, which is an onomatopoeia. In Arabic literature
the word for cricket is “skik” (another onomatopoeia). So, the hill Skikda can
be called the hill of the crickets (Sicada). And in Latin the word Cicada means
also cricket. Around 700 AD the Arabs took over the town and called, as the
natives still said Rusicade as Ras Skikda, but they had no idea, what the name
really meant. Perhaps they kept the old name by accident.
This third possibility is not that unlikely, because The Phoenicians loved to put quit ordinary names to geographical points. So
Cape of the
Crickets could well fit in this picture.
We have three solutions:
What seems certain is, that we have to deal with at least two settlements and maybe three, because we find another name close to Skikda: Stora. That could refer to Aštoret, Aštarte!
Stora is located to the west of Skikda and it was the only reasonable harbour in antiquity on this bay.
Nowadays Skikda is situated at the bottom of a vast gulf open to the north in the eastern part of
It is marked by the capes Çap de Fer’ in the northeast and ‘Cap Bougaroun’ in
the northwest. The Algeria is situated in
The name could apply first of all to the
and some what
later to the Punic settlement east of the Oued Safsaf was named after that. The
Latin inscriptions CIL VIII 7960+7969 refer to this location. Earlier than that
could have been the Libyco-Berber town of cape
on almost the same spot. The harbour for Thapsa and Rusicade was Stora to the
westflank of the great bay. Thapsa
O Thapsa | |
O Rusicade | |
Oued Saf Saf
Phoenician/Punic commercial port.
Carthaginian sailors certainly knew
Cape Rusicade and most likely have used the bay as an
anchorage or port of call, but the city and ,
mentioned by Ps.Scylax does not seem to have been a Carthaginian colony.
L.Bertrand has found however a Phoenician cemetery at Stora, where the harbour
possibilities are much better. harbour of Thapsa
See: Louis Bertrand, La nécropole phénicienne de Stora, BCTH, 1901, p.75-80.
It was certain, that Stora was a Phoenician stronghold. At some time in the 6th or 5th century BC the Carthaginians must have taken over this position.
The harbour of Thapsa/Rusicade was connected with the Numidian inland centre of Cirta (Constantine) situated 87 km south of Skikda. Cirta was one of Syphax’ residences at the end of the 3rd century BC. The ‘tripolis’ Stora/Thapsa/Rusicade was the natural seaport and outlet to the
More natural would be the mouth of the river Amsaga, but there is no harbour. sea of Cirta
The Roman colony was founded probably in 45 BC by Sittius. In the beginning the town is governed by a prefect, Iure Dicundo, ancient triumvir, delegated by Cirtha in 45 BC
Vibius Sequester speaks of the town with the name “
, iuxta Rusicade”. Thapsus
Out of the year 187 AD comes an inscription with amongst others a list of gladiators (CL.VIII 7969):
Imperatoris caecaris marci aureli
Commodi antonini augusti pii sarmatici germanici
Brittannici felicia patris patriae pontificis maximi tribunicia potestate XII imperatoris VII
Consulis V munus gladiatorium et venatorium vani generis
Dentatarum ferarum et mansuetarum item herbaticarum
Marcus cosinus marci filius quirina centerinus
In colonia veneria rusicade de sua pecunia
The Peutinger map gives the place also the name: ‘colonia Veneria Rusicade” by the end of the 3rd century AD. The town is now governed by an imperial delegate: the Curator. The town is now part of a confederation of four colonies of Cirta: Rusicade, Chullu, Cirta and Milieu.
The colony Rusicade is dedicated to Venus and that refers again to Astarte (Stora). It was an import harbour for grain, oil, wood and precious stones to
and Pouzzoles in .
Many seals for customs were found on the beach. The Romans connected Rusicade
with Stora and in Stora they made divers cisterns. Italy
The inscription CIL VI 2384 mentions a soldier Num.Rusicas.
Along the road to Cirta rise splendid villas and majestic graves.
In 303 AD the town has his own bishop and curator.
The town has now been enriched with temples, theatre, amphitheatre, baths.
In the meantime there is a message saying that the town is threatened by a rebel Firmus.
In 415 AD the town is mentioned as a centre, where there are levies on toll.
In the 5th century AD the town was destroyed by the Vandals.
- Phoenician necropolis at Stora.
- two stelae without an inscription, but the signs of so-called Tinnit, a caduceus and a palm-tree.
- a cellar for burials.
- a sandstone sculpture (marble head of Sarapis).
- a Ionian capital, dating from the time of the
- custom-stamp seals (tessera frumenteria).
Most of the findings are coming from the Roman period, but the Punic influence stays visible until the end of the 1st century AD with many stelae dedicated to Baal Hamon (the African Saturn). There were no buildings found from before the Numidian period with the exception of possibly a wall near the sea at Rusicade.
In the Roman times many buildings rise: temples, theatre, amphitheatre, baths, an office Portorium, stockyards, villas. The Theatre is the biggest of
North Africa. The amphitheatre was still visible in the
time, that S.Gsell visited the place, but is now vanished. It was demolished in
Enige vroege LITERATUUR :
BCTH 1899 : HERON DE VILLEFOSSE (A.), Note sur un buste en marbre blanc découvert à Philippeville (Algérie), fig., p. 166.
Tribalet (cne), Gauckler et Berger (Philippe), Recherches archéologiques aux environs du poste de Tatatouine (Tunisie), BCTH, 1901, p. 284-298, fig. et pl.
Cagnat, Inscriptions romaines du musée de Philippeville, BCTH, 1902, p. CXXXIII.
Bertrand (Louis), Fouilles dans la propriété Lesueur, près de Philippeville, BCTH, 1903, p. 524-537, fig.
Bertrand (Louis), Inscriptions et antiquités romaines découvertes à Philippeville, BCTH, 1904, p. CXC et CXCIII.
Bertrand, Inscriptions et antiquités romaines découvertes dans les environs de Philippeville, BCTH, 1905, p. CLXXVI.
Bertrand (Louis), Un tronçon de voie romaine découvert près de Philippeville, BCTH, 1905, p. 366-367, fig.
Bertrand, Inscriptions romaines entrées au Musée de Philippeville, BCTH, 1906, p. CCXIII, CCXLIV, CCLIX.
Bertrand (L.), Inscriptions découvertes à Philippeville, BCTH, 1907, p. CCIX.
Bertrand (Louis), Ruines au bord de la voie romaine de Philippeville à Stora, BCTH, 1907, p. 459.
Bertrand, Antiquités découvertes à Philippeville, BCTH, 1908, p. CCXIV.
Bertrand, Objets entrés au Musée de Philippeville, BCTH, 1909, p. CLV, CLXXXIII.
Bertrand, Antiquités entrées au musée de Philippeville, BCTH, 1910, p.CLXVIII.
Bertrand, Épitaphes romaines trouvées à Philippeville, BCTH, 1911, p. ccxvii-ccxviii.
Bertrand, Entrée au musée de Philippeville de divers objets, BCTH, 1912, p. CCLII-CCLVIII.
Bertrand, Inscription romaine sur stèle de grès pointue, trouvée à Philippeville, BCTH, 1913, fig., p. CLXXIV-CLXXV.
Bertrand, Inscriptions romaines entrées au Musé de Philippeville, BCTH, 1913, p. CXCVI-CXCVII.
Bertrand, Objets entrés au musée de Philippeville, BCTH, 1913, p. CCXXVI-CCXXVII.
Babelon, Miroir étrusque de bronze, provenant de Philippeville (Algérie), BCTH, 1915, fig., p. CXVI-CXVIII.
Toutain, Stèles romaines du musée de Philippeville, BCTH, 1915, p. ccxxxix-ccxL.
Héron de Villefosse, Fragment de mosaïque provenant de Philippeville, BCTH, 1917, p. CCI.
Albertini, Mosaïque romaine de Philippeville; épitaphe trouvée à Duperré (Oppidum novum), BCTH, 1927, p. 74-76.
Zeiller (Jacques), Note sur une inscription de Philippeville, BCTH, 1941-2, p. 57-61.
LE BLANT (Edmond), Découverte d'une inscription chrétienne à Philippeville (Algérie). Rapport sur une communication de M. Gouilly, fig., p. 370.
L.Vars, Rusicade et Stora ou Philippeville dans l’antiquité, Constantine, 1896.
S.Gsell, Histoire ancienne de l’Afrique du Nord, Paris, 1913-1928.
M.Leglay, Saturne Africain, Monuments II, Paris, 1966, p.13-18.
J.Désanges, Pline l’ancien, Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 1980, p.192.
Cl.Lepeley, les Cités de l’Afrique romaine II, Paris 1979-1981.
A.Apréa, Les origines de Rusicade, 2004.
L'Afrique du nord F.Decret/M.Fantar Payot Paris 1981
dans L'Antiquité Bibliothèque Historique
Histoire et Civilisation
des origines au Ve siècle
Edward Lipinski. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta nr 127. Studia
XVIII. Uitgeverij Peeters
en Departement Oosterse Studies. Leuven – Phoenicia Paris
2004. Dudley, MA
Héron de Villefosse (A.) (A.), Les recherches archéologiques de M. L. Bertrand aux environs de Stora, BCTH, 1901, p. CXCIX-CC.
Bertrand (Louis), La nécropole phénicienne de Stora, BCTH, 1901, p. 75-80, pl.
Saladin (H.), Note sur un chapiteau d'ordre composite trouvé à Stora, BCTH, 1904, p. 336-338, fig.
Bertrand (Louis), Ruines au bord de la voie romaine de Philippeville à Stora, BCTH, 1907, p. 459.
Het is vooral Louis Bertrand, die hier in het museum vele zaken heeft verzameld heeft.