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Musti (Tunisia)

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Subject: Musti in Numidia, Roman sites in Tunisia, Mustis, MEST, Archaeological sites in Tunisia
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Musti (Tunisia)

For namesakes, see Musti
Musti ruins.

Musti or Mustis was a city and bishopric in the Roman province of Proconsular Africa, now in northern Tunisia. Its ruins, called Mest Henshir, are about eight miles from Dougga, near Sidi-Abd-Er-Rebbou. It is also a Catholic titular see.


  • History 1
  • Sights 2
  • Ecclesiastical history 3
  • Titular see 4
  • References 5
  • Sources and External links 6


Musti was an important town in the Roman era, located along the Roman road that ran between Carthage and Tebessa. The limits of the town were set in 238 by two triumphal arches, erected on this road which traversed Musti from east to west. Towards the end of 2nd century BC the Roman general Gaius Marius settled his veterans here and at a later time it was elevated to the rank of a municipium by Julius Caesar or by Marcus Aurelius. The ancient Roman town lost its appearance when the Byzantines transformed it into a stronghold during their struggles against the Vandals.

The town has only been partially excavated, leaving a large area still to be researched, but nevertheless boasts remains of the forum, the marketplace, several temples, the cisterns, a Byzantine citadel and a number of Roman houses.

Musti is mentioned by Ptolemy,[1] the Itinerarium Antonini, the Peutinger Table, and the Ravenna geographer, Vibius Sequester, who narrates the killing at this place of an enormous serpent by Regulus. The inscriptions call the inhabitants Musticenses or Mustitani; the latter name is also used by Augustine.[2]


The triumphal arch located at the entrance of the site is still of unknown attribution. The eastern arch, which was in a very ruined state, was restored in 1967 by the National Institute of Art and Archaeology and the Historical Monuments Service. The nearby Mausoleum of the Julii was also restored at this time. The entire restoration took 17 months to complete.

The entrance of the site opens onto a large paved yard which leads to an attractive gateway. This gate had a covered walkway on the left and on the right. To the sides are the shops of the moneychangers and some bas-reliefs of well wishing genies.

Near the gate are the remains of three temples (to Ceres, Pluto and Apollo). Further on are ruins of a small 4th century Christian church, a basilica with three naves and a raised sacred area (the baptistry). It is adjoined by a large Byzantine fortification.

Ecclesiastical history

It was a bishopric, suffragan of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Carthage, both in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis.

There also was another city and bishopric called Musti in Numidia (modern Algeria), which Sophrone Pétridès confuses with the Musti in the Roman province of Proconsular Africa, even to the extent of presenting the supposed single see as represented at the 411 Council at Carthage by four bishops, two Donatist (Felicianus and Cresconius) and two Catholic (Victorianus and Leontius).[2] J. Mesnage distinguishes between the two sees, assigning Felicianus and Victorianus to the Musti of Proconsular Africa, a suffragan of Carthage, and Cresconius and Leontius to what he calls Musti Numidiae.[3] The Catholic Church's list of titular sees also distinguishes between the two, calling one see simply Musti and the other Musti in Numidia.[4] Mesnage also distinguishes between the sees of two other bishops of whom Pétridès speaks as bishops of a single Musti: an Antonianus of the Numidian Musti was one of the bishops whom the Vandal king Huneric exiled in 482, and the Januarius who in 646 signed the letter of the bishops of Proconsular Africa to Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, against the Monothelites, was obviously of that province.

Titular see

In 1912, the diocese was nominally restored as a Latin titular see, of the lowest (episcopal) rank with a single (archiepiscopal) exception. It has has the following incumbents:

  • Jean-Ephrem Bertreux, Society of Mary (S.M.) (1912.06.01 – 1919.01.04)
  • Julien-Louis-Edouard-Marie Gorju, White Fathers (M. Afr.) (1922.04.26 – 1942.01.14)
  • Eugenio Raffaele Faggiano, Passionists (C.P.) (1956.09.25 – 1960.05.02)
  • Vicente Alfredo Aducci (1960.05.28 – 1962.05.03)
  • Oscar Félix Villena (1962.07.26 – 1970.02.11)
  • Titular Archbishop Juan José Aníbal Mena Porta (1970.06.16 – 1970.11.25)
  • Aldo Del Monte (1970.12.29 – 1972.01.15)
  • Gaetano Bonicelli (1975.07.10 – 1977.06.11) (later Archbishop)
  • Antonio Ambrosanio (1977.08.27 – 1988.01.04) (later Archbishop)
  • Francisco João Silota, M. Afr. (74) (1988.01.18 – 1990.11.19)
  • Giuseppe Pasotto, Stigmatines (C.S.S.) (1999.11.09 – ...), Apostolic Administrator of Caucasus


  1. ^ IV, 3, 33
  2. ^ a b , 191110 The Catholic EncyclopediaSophrone Pétridès,
  3. ^ (Paris 1912), pp. 118 and 424L'Afrique chrétienne:Évêchés & ruines antiquesJ. Mesnage,
  4. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 935

Sources and External links

  • Lexicorient
  • GigaCatholic with titular incumbent biography links
  • Cassiciaco (Italian)
  • Unesco pdf-file (French document)
  •  "Musti".  
  • Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 467
  • Stefano Antonio Morcelli, Africa christiana, Volume I, Brescia 1816, p. 236
  • J. Mesnage, L'Afrique chrétienne, Paris 1912, p. 424

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