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Thapsus or Thapsos (less commonly, Tapsus) (Greek: Θάψος) was an ancient city in what is modern-day Tunisia.


Originally founded by Phoenicians, it served as a marketplace on the coast of the province Byzacena in Africa Propria. Thapsus was established near a salt lake on a point of land eighty stadia (14.8 km) from the island of Lampedusa.

In 46 BC, Julius Caesar defeated Metellus Scipio and the Numidian King Juba I with a tremendous loss of men near Thapsus (see Battle of Thapsus). Caesar exacted a payment of 50,000 sesterces from the vanquished. Their defeat marked the end of opposition to Caesar in Africa. Thapsus then became a Roman colony. Later, it was part of the Roman province of Byzacena.

Former diocese

Thapsus became a Christian bishopric, probably a suffragan, but no Metropolitan is known. Its only known bishop is Vigilius, the author of several controversial works against the Arians and the Eutychians. He was one of the Catholic bishops whom king Hunneric of the Vandals summoned to his court in Carthage in 484 and then exiled.[1]


Its ruins exist at Ras Dimas, a promontory near Bekalta, approximately 200 km southeast of Carthage. They include an amphitheatre and various mosaics.

Titular bishopric

The see, no longer residential, is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[2] It is a Latin title, of the lowest (episcopal) rank, with one archiepiscopal exception.

Since at creation as such in 1914, it has the following near-consecutive incumbents:

  • Valentín García y Barros (1914.12.10 – 1916.08.26)
  • Arturo Celestino Alvarez (1919.12.18 – 1921.05.09)
  • Andrew James Louis Brennan (1923.02.23 – 1926.05.28)
  • Vincenzo Celli (1927.04.08 – 1951.10.17)
  • Antonio Torasso, I.M.C. (1952.01.10 – 1960.10.22)
  • Paul-Émile Charbonneau (1960.11.15 – 1963.05.21)
  • Tomás Enrique Márquez Gómez (1963.06.25 – 1966.11.30)
  • Alfredo Cifuentes Gómez (1967.03.10 – 1970.12.02), as titular Archbishop
  • Ludwig Averkamp (1973.01.18 – 1985.11.07)
  • Vladas Michelevičius (1986.11.13 – 2008.11.12)
  • Ignacio Carrasco de Paula (2010.09.15 – ...), President for Life of the Pontifical Academy


  1. Sophrone Pétridès, "Thapsus" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1912)
  2. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 983]

External links

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