A titular see of North Africa. There was on the coast of Mauretania a town called Iol, where the famous Bocchus resided, that belonged occasionally to the Numidian kings. Juba II, when he had obtained Mauretania from Augustus, made it his capital and named it Caesarea. After the deposition of his son Ptolemy, the city became the capital of the province named after it, Mauretania Caesarea. Under Claudius it became a Roman colony, Colonia Claudia Caesarea. At the end of the fourth century it was burned by the Moors, and in 533 it was besieged by the troops of Justinian, but the whole province was soon lost by the Byzantines. Captured by the French in 1840, it is now Cherchel, the chief town of an arrondissement in the department of Algiers (Algeria), and has 9100 inhabitants. There are in the vicinity ruins of Roman monuments. Cherchel boasts of marble and plaster quarries, iron mines, and a trade in oil, tobacco, and earthenware. The port, important in Roman times, has been partly filled up by alluvial deposits and by earthquakes. As to the religious history of Caesarea, we know the names of four Catholic titulars of the see and one Donatist, from 314 to 484.
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