woensdag 17 december 2014

DELLYS

RUSUCCURU
 
This is nowadays Dellys at Cape Bengut near the mouth of the Oued Sébaou on the Algerian coast. The Phoenician name is probably R ’ š  h q r = Cape of the partridge (in Hebrew qore means partridge) or Cape of the fish (roussoukour).  Another explanation could be, that the name is derivation of the Berber Sekkum > scur> A-scur-um and that means again “partridge”. A last explanation comes from G.Mercier (Note sur l’etymologie du nom Rusuccuru, BAC 1918 1918, p.110). He reads for –uccuru the Phoenician word qrt (qart=city).  M.Euzennat (L’Histoire municipale de Tigzirt. 1955) however points at the double C, which does not corresponds with the Phoenician qrt.
 
The naming by the Greeks is done by Pseudo Skylax (iii) as ‘Eβδομος = Hebdomos, which means the 7th  (Cape?). Ptolemeus (IV 2,8) calls it Rousoukkour. In Latin it develops to Rusuccuru > Rousekkourt > Rous, Ousekkourt > Asekkourt (Berber). Plinius (NH V 2,29) calls it “civitate honoratum a Claudio”. Martianus Capella describes the place as a Roman colony. In the Bellum Africum (23,1) the place is called oppidum Ascurum (46 BC). Dio Cassius (LIX) and Suetonius Caligula take notice of a rebellion under Aedemon (Phoenician name!), but Claudius restores the order in this region. In the classical traditions the town is mentioned 22 times in 17 different sources.
 
Controversy:
In the past one has for a long time thought that Rusuccuru was identical to Tigzirt. See: CRAI 30th year no.2 1886: Lettre à M.Héron de Villefosse, sur la position de Rusuccuru par M.Pallu de Lessert. This was done, because Rusuccuru was several times mentioned at Tigzirt in the old inscriptions. Then, a milestone was found near Dellys which indicated a distance of III miles (4.8 km) to Rusuccuru. This find was done 4.5 km west of Dellys. This suggested that the ancient site should be placed not at Tigzirt but rather west under the modern town of Dellys. The argument has not seemed convincing to everyone and a controversy sprung up. The controversy seems to be settled in favour of the Dellys – Rusuccuru identification, because of a dedication was found on Cape Djenet, which mentions the inhabitans of Cissi to the time of Alexander Severus. This implicates the identification of Rusuccuru with Dellys and Iomnium with Tigzirt. See: S.Gsell, Découverte d’une borne militaire établissant que la ville antique de Rusuccuru était à Dellys, BTCH 1912.
 
Findings:
- A hoard of Carthaginian coins from the 3rd century BC.
- Neo-Punic steles: A humanized ‘sign of Tanit’ surmounted by the disk and crescent symbol. In another stele the ‘sign of Tanit’ is shown in a tympanon with the crescent and ‘cake-crown’ symbols beneath. In the third Neo-Punic stele we see a funeral inscription. This all shows that a tophet must have been there and a sanctuary of Baal Hammon. From a later period there are also steles, but they are anepigraphic (2nd cent. AD). In the old town of Dellys a memory stone is incorporated in a colonial building of the French period.
- Old walls especially in the west.
- Roman cisterns at Sidi Soussan.
- Roman mosaics.
- A sarcophage.
- Medaljons.
- Amphores.
The last two items come from the hospital and the mosque.
Under Claudius (50 AD) Rusuccuru was an important city, but the meagre archaeological documentation from the Punic period does not prove the existence of a complete Punic settlement.
In the Christian periods we hear of some bishops:
Fortunatus 411 AD
Optatus 411 AD
Ninellus 419 AD
Metcum 484 AD
 
Literature:
- Die Numider, G.Horn – C.B.Rüger, Köln 1979, p.572
- Saturne Africain, M.Leglay, Monuments II, Paris 1966, p.302
- Patrimoine – Antique Rusuccuru, SOS Casbah de Dellys, El Watan Arts et Lettres, Dellys, l’Antique Rusuccuru, ville phare de Boumerdès
- BTCH 1898 : E.Babelon, Notes sur un exagium solidorum provenant de Dellys (Alg♪0rie)
- BTCH 1899 : R.Cagnat, Séances de la commission de l’Afrique du Nord : inscriptions romaines découvertes aux environs de Dellys
- R.Dussaud, BAC 1917, p.161. Inscriptions néopuniques d’AAlgérie et de Tunesie : I. Inscription néopunique trouvée à Dellys.
 
 
 
 

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