zaterdag 6 december 2014

Rusazus

 
RUSAZUS
 
 
 
This settlement is located on the coast of Algeria about 70 km west of Bejaia at Cape Corbelin. The Greeks called it Rousazous (Ρουσαξούς) by Ptolemeus (IV 2,9). In Latin it was named Rusazus Colonia Augusti (Plin.NH V 2.20), although the Itin.Ant. speaks of a Municipium. Rusazus was also mentioned in the inscriptions CIL VIII 8929, 8933, 8937 (=20681). Ps.Skylax skips this place and goes in his Itineraria more than 100 km west of Saldae, where he sees the next harbour.
A distance of 100 km is quite long for the Phoenicians to cross in one day (and even night) on this coast. Everywhere else along this coast it is between 30-70 km. That is why Rusazus is probable as a Phoenician settlement. Even an earlier relay-station at the Wadi Da‘as must be taken into consideration!
 
 

 
 

A direct tradition in Phoenician is not available, but on the basis of the Greek and Latin name we can reconstruct the name as: R’š-(h)’z(z), which could mean Cape of the Fort or Great Cape. Today the place is called Port Gueydon and the village El Ma Guechtoun, where also the name Azeffoun is used. Is the name A-zeffoun related in some way with the Phoenician word Ṣapon as is suggested in Itineraria Phoenicia (p.399)? Azeffoun could also be related to the Berber name uzzaf = hill in a conical form. The village of old Azeffoun was primarily built by the Phoenicians on a hill of 500 meters above the sea. On the central marketplace (Aznik N’tadarth) we still find niches/recesses, which the local population calls now: Leghwirane.
 
South of the Port Gueydon is situated the tower of Dawrak, which was restored under Septimus Severus by the Rusa[z]itani (CIL VIII 8991) = Rusaditani Restituerunt. From the Roman period there some traces found. The Romans built there a fort. In the vicinity of the castle there were the Baths. The local people call a district of the town with very narrow streets and houses: “les petites maisons romaines”. In reality this could deal much more better with the old Phoenician district. Rusazus played not an important role during the Roman times. There are hardly any messages, except the mention that there was a bishop Rusaditanus in 484 AD.
 
There are not much excavations undertaken in Azeffoun. A modest exception could be the survey of J.Cl + J.M Museo in 1950. They found common graves, black varnished pottery of Etrusco-Campanian origin. This points in the direction of the 7th century BC. However, The Phoenicians (and perhaps Greeks or Etruscans) were not the first to inhabit this place. In fact it is a very old place. They have found megalithic structures (see: Gabriel Camps CNRS) from the period around 3000 BC.
 

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