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Numerus Syrorum

File:Africa Roman map.svg
Map showing Numerus Syrorum in western Mauretania Caesariensis, between Albulae and Pomaria

Numerus Syrorum was a Roman settlement in western Mauretania Caesariensis, near the border of Mauretania Tingitana.


It was a Military base on the Limes of Mauretania Caesariensis between Oujda of actual Morocco and Pomaria (actual Tlemcen), named after the "Numerus Severianus Alexandrinus Syrorum" unit of the Roman Empire stationed there in the 3rd century AD. It was made of a fort and a civilian "vicus" (small city) that actually is called Maghnia. Probably the "castrum" was built under Trajan and abandoned under Diocletian, but the vicus survived (even if reduced to a small village of Christian Berbers) until the Arab conquest of the Maghreb in the second half of the seventh century.

The fort was protected by a huge "fossatum" and had 4 gates. The vicus had a large number of votive inscriptions-mounds and milestones. In the 1960s was discovered there a thick layer of ash, coal, debris found in all around, at a depth approximately uniform, that proved the existence of this post Roman settlement but that proved that it was destroyed by fire probably in the 650s. Later, when the Roman Empire had disappeared, the ramparts of the old castellum/fort subsisted for centuries.

The importance of Numerus Syrorum was related even to the fact that was the final intersection of the two military roads of Mauretania Caesariensis: one on the Mediterranean coast coming from Caesarea and the second, called "Nova Praetentura" and on the interior of actual Algeria, starting on Aras near Numidia and connecting 15 forts [1] as a defensive system. From Numerus Syrorum started even a road -built probably under Hadrian's successors- according to historian Speidel,[2] that went to Volubilis in southern Mauretania Tingitana.


  1. ^ Cambridge Ancient History; p.258
  2. ^ Numerus Syrorum road to Volubilis (map p.170)


Bowna, Alan. The Cambridge Ancient History: Volume 12, The Crisis of Empire, AD 193-337. Cambridge university Press. Cambridge, 2005

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Coordinates: 34°53′11″N 1°01′29″W / 34.88639°N 1.02472°W / 34.88639; -1.02472{{#coordinates:34|53|11|N|1|01|29|W|region:DZ-02_type:landmark_source:kolossus-dewiki |primary |name= }}