Nature | Island Kerkennah

Archipelago Kerkennah

Kerkennah is a group of islands lying off the east coast of Tunisia.

The Islands are low-lying, being no more than 13 metres above sea level. The archipelago has an area of 160 square kilometres and a population of 15,500.

Kerkennah has a lengthy, but simple history. The natives of Tunisia and Kerkennah originally settled there, but during the spread of the Roman Empire.

Kerkennah was used as a port and look-out point by the Romans, to keep note of off-shore activity. In 2 BC, Augustus exiled Sempronius Gracchus, a lover of Julia the Elder, to the islands for 14 years for his indiscretions with his then-married daughter. Greeks called it Cercina and Cercinna. Strabo and Ptolemaeus wrote that also the city that was on the island was called Cercinna, same as the island.

Among the Catholic bishops whom the Arian Vandal king Huneric summoned to Carthage in 484, was a Bishop Athenius of Cercina, the seat of the bishopric being in the most easterly island of the group. No longer a residential bishopric, Cercina is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.


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