Mauretania Caesariensis

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Provincia Mauretania Caesariensis
Province of the Roman Empire
AD 42–7th century
Location of Mauretania Caesariensis
The province of Mauretania Caesariensis within the Roman Empire, c. AD 120
Capital Caesarea
Historical era Classical Antiquity
 •  Established AD 42
 •  Muslim conquest 7th century
Today part of  Algeria

Mauretania Caesariensis was a Roman province located in present-day Algeria, in north-west Africa, with its capital at Caesarea (now Cherchell), hence the name Caesariensis.

Historical background

The Roman empire in the time of Hadrian (ruled AD 117–138), showing, in north-west Africa, the imperial province of Mauretania Caesariensis (Algeria)

In the 1st century AD, Roman Emperor Claudius divided the westernmost Roman province in Africa, named Mauretania (land of the people of the Mauri, hence the word Moors), into Mauretania Caesariensis (named after its capital, one of many cities simply named Caesarea after the imperial cognomen that had become a title) and Mauretania Tingitana.

Under Diocletian's Tetrarchy reform, the easternmost part was broken off from Mauretania Caesariensis as a separate small province, Sitifensis, called after its inland capital Sitifis (Sétif) with a significant port at Saldae (presently Béjaïa).

At the time of Diocletian and Constantine the Great, both Sitifensis and Caesariensis were assigned to the administrative Diocese of Africa, in the praetorian prefecture of Italy, while Tingitana was an outpost of the Diocese of Spain. Caesarea was a major center of Jewry before 330, and Sitifis was one of the centres of the soldier cult of Mithras. Christianity spread throughout in the 4th and 5th centuries.


Among the ruling class, Trinitarian Christianity was replaced by Arianism under the Germanic kingdom of the Vandals, which was established in 430, when the Vandals crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. The Vandal kingdom was extinguished by the Byzantine armies around 533, but most of Mauretania Caesariensis remained under the control of local Moorish rulers such as Mastigas, and it was not until the 560s and 570s that Byzantine control was established in the interior. The Byzantine Exarchate of Africa was in its turn overrun by the Muslim caliphate under the Umayyad dynasty, ending Late Antique Roman culture there; most of former Mauretania Caesariensis became part of the westernmost Islamic province, henceforth called (al-)Maghrib.

Episcopal sees

Ancient episcopal sees of Mauretania Caesariensis listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees:[1]

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Northern Africa under Roman rule.

The principal exports from Caesariensis were purple dyes and valuable woods; and the Amazigh or Mauri were highly regarded by the Romans as soldiers, especially light cavalry. They produced one of Trajan's best generals, Lusius Quietus, and the emperor Macrinus.

See also


  1. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013


  • Westermann, Großer Atlas zur Weltgschichte (in German)