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(TAGASTE)

Thagaste, a titular see in Numidia, was a rather important municipality. It is mentioned by Pliny (V, iv, 4) and the "Itinerar. Antonini" (44), but nothing is known of its history. It is famous as having been the birthplace of St. Augustine, who was born there in 354 of the pagan Patricius and St. Monica. St. Augustine speaks of a monastery of Thagaste where he lived with Severus his compatriot and friend, later Bishop of Milevis. Only three bishops of Thagaste are known: St. Firmus (end of third century), mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on 31 July; St. Alypius, b. at Thagaste, the friend of Augustine, whose feast is 15 August; and Januarius, sent by Huneric into exile (484), where he died for the Faith. The See of Thagaste still existed about 600. At the time of the French occupation the country was under the dominion of the Arabized Berber tribe of the Hanensha, whose territory bordered on the modern Tunisia. Thagaste is now Souk Ahras, capital of a commune of 7500 inhabitants of whom 4000 are Europeans, and of a mixed community of 42,600 inhabitants, Department of Constantine, Algeria. Souk-Ahras, its modern representative, is built on a small peaked plateau, and is well served by railways. It is a very important agricultural centre, its industries consisting of vineyards, cattle-breeding, vast forests, and mining. Ruins of a basilica and various Christian monuments have been found.


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