and church councils to meet at Junca and Sufes, in Byzacena, during 525.61 Gelimer (regn. 530-4) followed the same practice. General Belisarius defeated the Vandals in 533 and re-established the Catholic Church.

The fortunes of the Catholic Church in this period are difficult to track archaeologically. Shifts of buildings from Catholic to Arian control leave no trace. Properties confiscated, whether those of senators, of the Catholic Church or lands in Proconsularis, are nearly impossible to detail.62 From 439 and 477 until 523 (with the probable exception of 484) Vandals only took over churches and prohibited Catholics from worshipping in Proconsularis.

Defining the presence and power of Catholic or Arian communities is challenging. Pagan communities were still active in fourth-century North Africa and lasted into the Vandal period. Yet the decay, already present before the Vandals, was completed during their dominance. Temples were abandoned or put to other use. By contrast, despite the extensive confiscation of Catholic properties and the frequent exile of bishops, Catholic churches and monasteries were built or restored. Vandals also needed churches, too. New churches appeared at Thibiuca, Thala, and two at Sufetula while the church of Bishop Bellator there was enlarged. A basilica at Belalis Maior was also restored.63 The church erected over the civil basilica in the forum of Sabratha (probably during the Vandal period) may have been either Catholic or Arian.64 The church constructed over the temple of Caereis in Thuburbo Majus and the Basilica of Hildenguns are dated to the fifth century because of German names in the graves near them.65 Other buildings cannot be dated except as late fourth or early fifth century.

The Byzantine period

Even though Catholic Christianity in North Africa suffered many reversals due to the rise of schisms and heresies, it became very powerful during the Byzantine period as part of Justinian's Christian empire. This new status represents the high point of the Christianisation of North Africa. It is

61 Mansi, viii: 636.

62 Modeéran, 'L'eétablissement territorial des vandales en Afrique', 102 n. 111 (Victor ofVita, 1.12-14); Modéran, 'L'Afrique et la persecution vandale' and 'L'établissement territorial des vandales en Afrique', 107 tried to identify them.

63 F. Bejaoui, 'Nouvelles données archéologiques a Sbeitla', 40; Duval, Les églises africaines a deux absides, 163-7; Mahjoubi, Recherches d'histoire et d'archéologie, 228-33.

64 Duval, 'Etudes d'archéologie chrétienne nord-africaine: xvi', 288.

65 M. A. Alexander et al., Thuburbo Majus, 159; F. Prévot, Recherches archeologiques, 45-58.

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