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Sufetula



A titular see of North Africa. Sufetula seems to be Suthul where Jugurtha had deposited his treasures (Sallust, xxxvi). The Latin name is a diminutive of Sufes (Shiba), the name of a small town 25 miles further north, from which many roads branched out to neighbouring towns. It became a Roman colony. In 647 it was the capital of the Byzantine patrician, Gregory, who had declared himself independent and was killed in a great battle with the Arabs fought near the town, which was stormed, pillaged, and cruelly laid waste. The "Roman Martyrology" mentions on 30 August the martyrs of Sufetula, who seem to belong rather to Sufes (St. Augustine, "Letters", 50). At an unknown date a council was held at Sufetula, one of its canons being still preserved (Hardouin, I, 1512). Only three bishops of this see are known: Privatian, present at the Council of Carthage, 255; Jucundus, at the Councils of Carthage, 411 and 419; St. Præsidius, exiled in 484 by Huneric after having been scourged, mentioned in the "Roman Martyrology" on 6 September. Sufetula is called Sbeitha in Arabic; it is a village on the road from Tebessa to Kairwan about 70 miles east of Tebessa (Tunisia). It has important Roman ruins: three temples, a triumphal arch, a theatre, and an amphitheatre, etc.; worthy of note are the ruins of four three-naved churches, Byzantine fortifications, and numerous fragments of Christian sculpture.

SMITH, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geog., s. v.; TOULOTTE, Géog. de l'Afrique chrétienne: Byzacène et Tripolitaine (Montreuil, 1894), 176-80; DIEHL, L'Afrique byzantine (Paris, 1896), passim.

S. Pétridès.








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