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Southern courtyard of the Ténès Municipal Museum (2004)

Cartennae (also spelled Cartenna; ancient Greek Καρτένναι) was an ancient port city in the district of the present-day city of Ténès in the province of Chlef in northern Algeria.


The city was probably founded in the 8th century BC by the Phoenicians as a trading base of Kartenas. Later, the Romans gained control of the city and renamed it Cartennae.

Probably around 30 BC, Cartennae became Colonia (colony ) and the city became Cartennae colonia. It was here that Emperor Augustus (27 BC to 14 AD) appointed veterans of Legio I Germanica[1] and Legio II Augusta[2] settled here.

In the Roman Empire, the city was initially in the Kingdom of Mauretania; under Emperor Claudius (41 to 54 AD), Mauretania was finally subjugated and divided in early 43 AD. From then on, Cartennae was part of the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis. Probably under Emperor Hadrian (117 to 138 AD), the Baquatians plundered the coastal colony of Cartennae.[3]

Because of its location on the coast of the Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean Sea) and a little west of the mouth of the river of the same name, the fluvius Cartennas[4] m or Cartennus[5] (Oued Allala), Cartennae was an economic trading post and military base of the Mauritanian fleet(Classis Mauretanica)

Christianity in Cartennae was initially donatist. In late antiquity the city was a bishop’s see, bishops are mentioned in the 4th and 5th centuries. The present titular bishopric of Cartennae of the Roman Catholic Church goes back to this episcopal see.

Roman rule over the city lasted for about five centuries, then in 429/430 the city fell into the hands of the Vandals, who supported their land army here with supply ships.

Son of the city

  • Victor of Cartenna, bishop, mid-5th century.


  • Pomponius Mela, Chorographia 1,31
  • Pliny, Naturalis historia 5.20
  • Ptolemy 4, 2, 4
  • Itinerarium provinciarum Antonini Augusti 14, 2
  • Augustine of Hippo, epistularum corpus 93, 20-22
  • Iulius Honorius, Cosmographia 47
  • Geographer of Ravenna, 40, 46; 88, 9


  • Philip Smith:Cartenna. In: William Smith: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London 1854.
  • Hermann Dessau: Cartenna. In: Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (RE). Vol. III,2, Stuttgart 1899, Sp. 1620.
  • Werner Huß: Cartennae. In: Der Neue Pauly (DNP). Band 2, Metzler, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-476-01472-X, Sp. 998.

Web links

  • Potter, T., DARMC, R. Talbert, J. Åhlfeldt, R. Warner, S. Gillies, T. Elliott:Places: 295240 (Cartenna). pleiades. retrieved 27 February 2013.

Individual references

  1. Jona Lendering Legio I Germanica. In: (English).
  2. Jona Lendering Legio II Augusta. In: (English).
  3. CIL , 9663.
  4. Ptolemy 4, 2, 4.
  5. Albert Forbiger: Handbook of ancient geography, edited from the sources. Volume 2. Political geography of the ancients. Asia. Africa. Verlag von Mayer und Wigand, Leipzig 1844, p. 873.

Coordinates 36° 30′ 35.2″ N, 1° 18′ 31.8″ E