Ksar Sbahi (Or Ksar Sebihi) is a town in the district of Oum El Bouaki, Algeria.

Under the Roman occupation, the same town held the name (Gadiovala / Kadiofala).

I wonder ir someone can explain the name's meaning or even give some hints or theories.

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  • 5
    Does this name Gadiovala/Kadiofala appear somewhere in ancient literature?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Oct 29, 2021 at 12:31
  • 3
    FWIW, the place is also a Catholic titular see and as such is spelt Gadiaufala. Italian Wikipedia says (about the original, non-titular diocese): "Il nome di Augentius episcopus Gazaufalensis si trova al 2º posto nella lista dei vescovi della Numidia convocati a Cartagine dal re vandalo Unerico nel 484" ... probably this list. Oct 29, 2021 at 18:20
  • 2
    very interesting your analyse, i am from the region (now named Ksar Sbahi) the Byzantine ruins located on a hill, on local language (tachaouit: berber language) phyla or Aphyla means "high" and i think this make sense. I am not sure about the first part of the name wich is différent from a source to another. Thank you Feb 15 at 22:42
  • @ChibaneTariq This doesn't seem to answer the question but rather offers additional information on the answer given. I moved it to the comment section for now, but if you ping me (@cmw) I can move it elsewhere or help format it if you intended it as an answer.
    – cmw
    Feb 16 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


It appears that there is no etymological information available about this town, based on the fact that the geography of this region was studied in depth by Charles J. Tissot, and none of the evidence about its name is etymological in nature. In his Géographie Comparée de la province Romaine d'Afrique, Tissot says the following:

We also owe Mr. Dewulf for a second, no less interesting inscription, which definitively fixes Kasr Sbehi as the location of Gasaupala from Peutinger's table. We reproduce it here:

enter image description here

This text also gives us the true spelling of the name that Peutinger's table, Antonin's itinerary and the Notice of the Churches of Africa write Gazaupala, Gazaufula and Gazaufala. (Géographie Comparée de la province Romaine d'Afrique, pg 418)

Here's the itinerary and table he refers to:

enter image description here

It might also be of interest that an alternate spelling of this town is Gazophyla, and it's mentioned in Procopius' The Vandal Wars § 4.15.52:

ὃς ἐπεὶ ἐν χωρίῳ Γαζοφύλοις, δυοῖν μάλιστα ἡμέραιν ὁδῷ Κωνσταντίνης ἀπέχοντι, Στότζαν ξὺν ὀλίγοις τισὶν ἤκουσεν εἶναι, προτερῆσαι πρὶν τοὺς στασιώτας ἅπαντας ξυλλεγῆναι βουλόμενος, κατὰ τάχος ἐπ̓ αὐτοὺς ἐπῆγε τὸ στράτευμα.

He, therefore, upon hearing that Stotzas with some few men was in a place called Gazophyla, about two days' journey distant from Constantina, wished to anticipate the gathering of all the mutineers, and led his army swiftly against them.

This town is also mentioned by Augustine in De Baptismo Contra Donatistas § 7.40.78:

Salvianus a Gazaufala dixit: Haereticos nihil habere constat; et ideo ad nos veniunt, ut possint accipere quod non habebant.

Salvianus of Gazaufala said: "It is generally known that heretics have nothing; and therefore they come to us, that they may receive what previously they did not have.

In a footnote, Philip Schaff affirms that these names refer to the same place:

Gazaufala (Gazophyla) was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia.

  • 1
    I think it's likely to be a name in a local language rather than Greek, given the variant spellings; and you can't really get -φύλοι from the root of φύλαξ.
    – TKR
    Oct 29, 2021 at 20:38
  • @TKR. I agree. Gazophyla is clearly a folk etymology.
    – fdb
    Oct 29, 2021 at 20:39

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