Barca or Barce () was an ancient Greek colony and later Roman, Byzantine, city in North Africa. It occupied the coastal area of what is modern day Libya. As a Greek city it was part of the Cyrenaican Pentapolis along with the city of Cyrene itself.
According to most archeologists, it was situated at Al Marj, but according to Graham (Roman Africa) at Tolometa, or Tolmeita.
HistoryChristianity spread to the Pentapolis of North Africa from Egypt ;Synesius of Cyrene (370-414), bishop of Ptolemais, received his instruction at Alexandria in both the Catechetical School and the Museion, and he entertained a great deal of reverence and affection for Hypatia, the last pagan Neoplatonists, whose classes he had attended. Synesius was raised to the episcopate by Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, in 410 A.D. Since the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., Cyrenaica had been recognized as an ecclesiastical province of the See of Alexandria, in accordance with the ruling of the Nicaean Fathers. The patriarch of the Coptic Church to his day includes the Pentapolis in his title as an area within his jurisdiction..
It became part of the Exarchate of Africa until it was conquered by the Arabs in AD 643-644 during the Islamic conquest of North Africa and originally served as the capital of a homonymous province of the Caliphate. When the Ottoman Turks conquered the region in 1521 they adopted the Arabic name Barqah in Turkish, but not the city's status as capital.
After often being destroyed and then restored, during the Roman period it became a mere borough but was, nevertheless, the site of a bishopric. Its bishop, Zopyros (Zephyrius is a mistake), was present at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. The subscriptions at Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) give the names of two other bishops, Zenobius and Theodorus. The see must have disappeared when the Arabs conquered the Pentapolis in 643-44.
It is now a Roman Catholic titular see of Cyrenaica in Libya, Northern Africa, but vacant. The Eparchy of the Western Pentapolis was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria as the Pope of Alexandria was the Pope of Africa, the most senior position in The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church after the Pope was the Metropolitan of Western Pentapolis, but since its demise in the days of Pope John VI of Alexandria as a major Archiepiscopal Metropolis and now being held as a Titular See attached to another Diocese.
The modern city on the same site, Al Marj, grew up around a 19th century Turkish fort. It was developed by the Italians during their colonial dominance of Libya and today has a population of 120 000.
Sources and references
barca in Catalan: Ciutat de Barca
barca in French: Barqa
barca in Interlingue: Barca
barca in Italian: Barca (Libia)
barca in Kongo: Barca