Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Along the African coast of the Mediterranean Sea, very near the port city of present-day Annaba (formerly Bône) in northeastern Algeria, lie the remnants of Hippone or Hippo, also known as Hippo Regius. Carthaginians (originally, Phoenicians) founded Hippo probably not later than the 4th century B.C.E. at the base of a fertile plain at the mouth of the Seybouse River, ensuring agricultural and commercial prosperity. Because Hippo was home to Numidian kings during their control of the territory (ca. 2nd century B.C.E), the city came to be called Hippo Regius. Though Rome defeated the Carthaginians of North Africa in the second Punic War (late 3rd century, B.C.E.), Hippo and its environs continued to be ruled by Numidian princes until Julius Caesar defeated Juba I in 46 B.C.E. Once the Roman army established itself in the region, Hippo eventually became a colonia of the empire, granting inhabitants full status as Roman citizens. Christianity spread rapidly in North Africa during the 3rd century C.E. During the following century, it also became a center for the Donatist movement, splitting Christians over doctrinal and social issues. Hippo played a role in the history of early Christianity as the site of several Church councils (393, 395 and 426); and, between 395 and 430 it was the bishopric of Augustine, the great philosopher, theologian, monastic founder and opponent of the Donatist position. While Vandals pressured Hippo with and eighteen-month siege, Augustine died (28 August 430). The well fortified city finally capitulated in 431. During the 7th century the region that is now Algeria came under Muslim control. It was then that Annaba was established and the slow deterioration of Hippo began. During the period of French control of Algeria, the Basilica of St. Augustine was built (1881-1900) on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Hippo. Excavations of the site are chiefly the work of Erwan Marec, a French naval officer, whose studies were published in the mid-20th C. ca. June 1983
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