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Coordinates: 36°54′N 7°46′E / 36.9°N 7.767°E / 36.9; 7.767

Hippo Regius is the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, Algeria. Under this name, it was a major city in Roman Africa, hosting several early Christian councils, and was the home of the philosopher and theologian Augustine of Hippo. In even earlier days, the city was a royal residence for Numidian kings.

The climate is agreeable in winter, but humid in summer. The harbour serves as an export station for all of the rich inland country.

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History

Hippo was a Tyrian colony on the west coast of the bay to which it gave its name: Hipponensis Sinus, first settled by the Phoenicians probably in the 12th century BC; the surname Regius 'of the King' was bestowed on it as one of the places where the Numidian kings resided.

A maritime city near the mouth of the river Ubus, it became a Roman colonia which prospered and became a major city in Roman Africa. It is perhaps most famous as the bishopric of Saint Augustine of Hippo in his later years. In the summer of 430 the Vandals were besieging the city of Hippo as the aged bishop lay dying within. Shortly after his death on August 28, 430, they captured the city under King Geiseric after an 18-month siege in 431 and made it the capital of the Vandal kingdom in Northern Africa between 431 and 439.

It was conquered by the Eastern Roman Empire in 534 and was kept under Byzantine rule until 698, when it fell to the Muslims; the Arabs rebuilt the town in the seventh century. The city's later history was under its modern name.

About three kilometres distant the Arabs in the eleventh century established the town of Beleb-el-Anab, which the Spaniards occupied for some years in the sixteenth century, as the French did later, in the reign of Louis XIV. France took this town again in 1832. It was renamed Bone or Bona, and became one of the government centres for the department of Constantine in Algeria. It had 37,000 inhabitants, of whom 15,700 were French, 10,500 foreigners, mostly Italians, 9,400 Muslims and 1400 naturalized Jews.

Ecclesiastical history

Hippo was an ancient bishopric and still is the name of a Roman Catholic titular see in the former Roman province of Numidia, since French colonial rule a part of the residential see of Constantine. It contains some ancient ruins, a hospital built by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and a fine basilica dedicated to St. Augustine.

We know seven bishops of Hippo, among them Saints Theogenes and Fidentius, martyrs, St. Leontius Valerius, who ordained St. Augustine, and the great "Doctor of Grace", Augustine himself (395-28 August, 430). Under St. Augustine there were at least three monasteries in the diocese besides the episcopal monastery.

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Council of Hippo

Three councils were held at Hippo (393, 394, 426) and more synods - also in 397 (two sessions), June and September and 401, all under Aurelius.

The synods of the Ancient (North) African church were held, with but few exceptions (e.g. Hippo, 393; Milevum, 402) at Carthage. We know from the letters of St. Cyprian that, except in time of persecution, the African bishops met at least once a year, in the springtime, and sometimes again in the autumn. Six or seven synods, for instance, were held under St. Cyprian's presidency during the decade of his administration (249-258), and more than fifteen under Aurelius (391-429). The Synod of Hippo of 393 ordered a general meeting yearly, but this was found too onerous for the bishops, and in the Synod of Carthage (407) it was decided to hold a general synod only when necessary for the needs of all Africa, and it was to be held at a place most convenient for the purpose. Not all the bishops of the country were required to assist at the general synod. At the Synod of Hippo (393) it was ordered that "dignities" should be sent from each ecclesiastical province. Only one was required from Tripoli, because of the poverty of the bishops of that province. At the Synod of Hippo (393), and again at the Synod of 397 at Carthage, a list of the books of Holy Scripture was drawn up. It is the Catholic canon (i.e. including some of the books later classed by Protestants as Apocrypha).

Sources and references


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