Provincia Mauretania Sitifensis
Province of the Roman Empire
AD 293–AD 585

The province of Mauretania Sitifensis within the Roman Empire in AD 400
Historical eraLate antiquity
• Established
AD 293
• Byzantine creation of "Mauretania Prima"
AD 585
Today part ofAlgeria

Mauretania Sitifensis was a Roman province in Northwest Africa. The capital was Setifis.[1]


In the later division of the Roman Empire under the Emperor Diocletian, the eastern part of Mauretania Caesariensis, from Saldae to the river Ampsaga, was split into a new province, and called Mauretania Sitifensis named after the inland town of Setifis (Setif in modern Algeria).[2]

At the time of Constantine the Great, Mauretania Sitifensis was assigned to the administrative Diocese of Africa, under the Praetorian prefecture of Italy. The new province had a huge economic development in the 4th century, until the conquest by the Vandals. In this province, the Christian denomination known as Donatism challenged the Roman Church (which was the main local religion after Constantine), while Setifis was a center of Mithraism.[3]

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, certain areas of Mauretania Sitifensis were under Vandal and later Byzantine control, but most of the province (until 578 AD) was ruled by Berber kingdoms like the Kingdom of Altava. Only the coastal area around Saldae and Setifis remained fully Romanized.

Byzantine emperor Maurice in 585 AD created the province of Mauretania Prima and erased the old Mauretania Sitifensis. Indeed, the emperor Maurice in that year created the office of "Exarch", which combined the supreme civil authority of a praetorian prefect and the military authority of a magister militum, and enjoyed considerable autonomy from Constantinople. Two exarchates were established, one in [taly, with seat at Ravenna (hence known as the Exarchate of Ravenna), and one in Africa, based at Carthage and including all imperial possessions in the Western Mediterranean. The first African exarch was the Patricius Gennadius: he was appointed as magister militum Africae in 578 AD, and quickly defeated the Romano-Moorish kingdom of Garmul in Mauretania extending the territory of the Mauretania Sitifensis. Among the provincial changes done by emperor Maurice, Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Sitifensis were re-merged as a province of Mauretania Prima.

Mauretania Sitifensis initially had an area of 17800 square miles and had a good agriculture (cereals, etc..), that was exported through the port of Saldae.[4] But under Byzantine control the province was reduced to only the coastal section, with one third of the original area.

Episcopal sees

Ancient episcopal sees of the late Roman province of Mauretania Sitifensis, listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees:[5]

See also


  1. ^ Map of Mauretania Sitifensis (in blue color)
  2. ^ Serge Lancel et Omar Daoud, "L'Algérie antique : De Massinissa à saint Augustin" Chapter: Mauretanie
  3. ^ H. Jaubert, Anciens évêchés et ruines chrétiennes de la Numidie et de la Sitifienne, in Recueil des Notices et Mémoires de la Société archéologique de Constantine, vol. 46, 1913
  4. ^ Mauretania Sitifensis, p. 639-640
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013