History of ancient Tunisia


History of ancient Tunisia

The present day Republic of Tunisia, "al-Jumhuriyyah at-Tunisiyyah", has over ten million citizens, almost all of Arab-Berber descent. The Mediterranean Sea is to the north and east, Libya to the southeast, and Algeria to the west. Tunis is the capital; it is located near the ancient site of the city of Carthage. Throughout its recorded history the physical features and environment of the land of Tunisia have remained fairly constant, yet during ancient times more abundant forests grew in the north, [Cf., LaVerle Berry and Robert Rinehart, "The Society and Its Environment" at 71-143, 79, in Nelson (editor), "Tunisia. A Country Study" (Washington, D.C., 3rd ed. 1987).] and earlier in prehistory the Sahara to the south was not an arid desert. [Prior to 6000 years ago, evidently the vast Sahara region to the south was better watered, more a savanna which could support herds; yet then a desiccation process set in, leaving the parched desert it is today. Robert Rinehart, "Historical Setting" at 1-70, 4, in Nelson (editor), "Tunisia. A Country Study" (Washington, D.C., 3rd ed. 1987).] [Emile F. Gautier, "Le Sahara" (Paris: Payot, 2nd ed. 1928), expanded edition translated by Dorothy Ford Mayhew as "Sahara. The Great Desert" (Columbia Univ. 1935) at 56-61.]

Weather in the north is temperate, enjoying a Mediterranean climate, with mild rainy winters and hot dry summers, the terrain being wooded and fertile. The Medjerda river valley (Wadi Majardah, northeast of Tunis) is currently valuable farmland. Along the eastern coast the central plains enjoy a moderate climate, less rainfall but with heavy dew; these coastlands are currently used for orchards and grazing. Near the mountainous Algerian border rises "Jebel ech Chambi", the highest point at 1544 meters. In the near south, an east-west belt of salt lakes cuts across the country. Further south lies the Sahara desert, including sand dunes of the "Grand Erg Oriental". [Kenneth J. Perkins, "Tunisia. Crossroads of the Islamic and European Worlds" (Boulder, Colorado: Westview 1986) at 1-5.] [Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 1-6.] [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ts.html "The World Factbook" on "Tunisia"] .]

Many peoples have arrived among the Berbers: most recently the French along with many Italians; before them came the Ottoman Turks and a multi-ethnic influx. The medieval era had opened with the arrival of the Arabs who brought their language and the religion of Islam, and its calendar; [The Islamic calendar starts on July 16, 622 A.D., an estimated day for Muhammad's flight (Hijra) from Mecca to Medina. Years in this calendar are designated A.H. for "Anno Hegira", the Hijri year. Since the Islamic calendar is strictly lunar, it runs about eleven and one-quarter days shorter than a solar year; hence calculation of dates between this lunar and a solar calendar are complicated. The calendar used in this article is a solar calendar, the traditional western calendar, or the Gregorian, with the years dating from an approximate birth date of Jesus, designated either B.C. for "Before Christ", or thereafter A.D. for "Anno Domini". Alternatively the western calendar can be renamed to sanction a secular modernism, a nominal neutrality, or otherwise, the years B.C. and A.D. being called B.C.E. and C.E., for "Common Era". For prehistory, the kya (thousands of years ago) notation is more often employed.] During the last centuries of its ancient history the region was ruled by the Byzantines, and before them by the Vandals. Over two thousand years ago the Romans arrived, whose cosmopolitan regimes long governed the region. The Phoenicians founded Carthage close to three thousand years ago. Also came migrations from the Sahel region of Africa. Perhaps eight millennia ago, already there were peoples established among whom the proto-Berbers (coming from the east) mingled, and from whom the Berbers would spring, during an era of their ethno-genesis. [cite book|last=Camps|first=Gabriel|year=1996|title="Les Berbères"|publisher=Edisud|pages=11-14] [cite book|last=Brett and Fentress|year=1996|title="The Berbers"|publisher=Blackwell|pages=14-15.]

Early history

Berber background

People known as the Berbers (anciently more often known as Libyans, many who today self-identify as "Imazighen" or "free people"), [cite book|last=Brett|first=Michael|coauthors=Elizabeth Fentress|year=1996|title="The Berbers"|publisher=Blackwell|pages=5-6] their relations and descendants, have been the major population group to inhabit the North African regions since about eight kya (thousand years ago). [cite book|last=Camps|first=Gabriel|year=1996|title="Les Berbères"|publisher=Edisud|pages=11-14, 65 Camps posits a new influx around 6000 B.C. that joined a pre-existing population (an archeologist, Camps founded the "Institut d'Etudes Berberes" at the Univesité de Aix-en-Provence).] [cite book|last=Brett|first=Michael|coauthors=Elizabeth Fentress|year=1996|title="The Berbers"|publisher=Blackwell|pages=5, 12-13 References to Gabriel Camps at 7, 12, 15-16.] [Jamil Abun-Nasr mentions the arrival of the Libou (Libyans) up to 5000 years ago, in his "A History of the Maghrib" (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 7.] [cite book|last=McBurney|first=C. B. M.|year=1960|title=The Stone Age in North Africa|publisher=Pelican|pages=84] This anciently included terrain from the Nile to the Atlantic, encompassing the vast Sahara with its mountain heights of Ahaggar and Tibesti, and the long Mediterranean coast with its often elevated hinterland, including the region now known as the Republic of Tunisia. [. ["Our analyses suggest that contemporary Berber populations possess the genetic signature of a past migration of pastoralists from the Middle East and that they share a dairying origin with Europeans and Asians, but not with sub-Saharan Africans". Sean Myles, Nourdine Bouzekri, Eden Haverfield, Mohamed Cherkaoui, Jean-Michel Dugoujon, Ryk Ward, "Genetic Evidence in support of a shared Eurasian-North African dairying origin" in "Human Genetics" (Berlin & Heidelberg: Springer 2005) 117/1: 34-42, "Abstract" at 34. [http://www.springerlink.com/content/x428750458w4080r/ SpringerLink - Journal Article ] ]

Dating to the Mesolithic era, stone blades and tools, as well as small stone figurines, of the Capsian culture (named after Gafsa, Tunisia) are connected to the prehistoric presence of the Berbers in North Africa. Also connected are some of the monuments built of very large rocks (dolmens), found throughout the western Mediterranean. [cite book|last=Brent|first=Michael|coauthors=Elizabeth Fentress|year=1996|title="The Berbers"|publisher=Blackwell|pages=10-13, 17-22, map of dolmen regions at 17 The dolmens are found both north and south of the Mediterranean Sea.] [The Capsian culture was preceded by the Ibero-Maurusian in North Africa. J.Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" at 236-245, 236-238, in "General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] A commonly held view of Berber origins is that Paleo-Mediterranean peoples long occupying the region combined with several other largely Mediterranean groups, two from the east near S.W.Asia and bringing the Berber languages circa eight to ten kya, (one traveling west along the coast and the other by way of the Sahel and the Sahara), with a third intermingling earlier from Iberia. [Laroui, "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 17, 60 (re S.W.Asians, referencing the earlier work of Gsell).] [cite book|last=Camps|first=Gabriel|year=1996|title="Les Berbères"|publisher=Edisud|pages=11-14, 65 Camps has an influx at eight kya (thousand years ago), with an earlier Iberian prospering at twelve kya.] ["At all events, the historic peopling of the Maghrib is certainly the result of a merger, in proportions not yet determined, of three elements: Ibero-Maurusian, Capsian and Neolithic." J.Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" at 237, in "General History of Africa, v.II" (1990).] [A widespread opinion is that the Berbers are a mixed ethnic group sharing a related Berber languages. Mário Curtis Giordani, "História da África. Anterior aos descobrimentos" (Petrópolis, Brasil: Editora Vozes 1985) at 42-43, 77-78, referencing Bousquet, "Les Berbères" (Paris 1961).] [Also see "infra", "Berber language history" re Afroasiatic, in particular Diakonoff's discussion about prehistoric populations.] Seasonal migration routes evidence their ancient journeys.

Saharan rock art, inscriptions and paintings that show design patterns as well as figures of animals and of humans, are attributed to the Berbers and also to black Africans from the south. Dating these art works has proven difficult and unsatisfactory. [Lloyd Cabot Briggs, "Tribes of the Sahara" (Harvard Univ. & Oxford Univ. 1960) at 38-40.] [P. Salama, "The Sahara in Classical Antiquity" at 286-295, 291, in "General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] Egyptian influence is considered very unlikely. [Julian Baldick, "Black God" (Syracuse Univ. 1997) at 67.] Some images infer a terrain much better watered. Among the animals depicted, alone or in staged scenes, are large-horned buffalo (the extinct "bubalus antiquus"), elephants, donkeys, colts, rams, herds of cattle, a lion and lioness with three cubs, leopards or cheetahs, hogs, jackles, rhinoceroses, giraffes, hippopotamus, a hunting dog, and various antelope. Human hunters may wear animal masks and carry their weapons. Herders are shown with elaborate head ornamentation; a few dance. Other human figures drive chariots, or ride camels. [C.B.M.McBurney, "The Stone Age of Northern Africa" (Pelican 1960) at 258-266.] [J.Ki-Zerbo, "African prehistoric art" at 284-296, 286, in "General History of Africa, volume I, Methodology and African Prehistory" (UNESCO 1989), Abridged Edition.]

By five kya (thousand years ago) a neolithic culture was evolving among the Berbers of northwest Africa, characterized by agriculture and animal domestication, pottery and finely chipped stone implements including arrowheads. [Lloyd Cabot Briggs, "Tribes of the Sahara" (Harvard Univ. & Oxford Univ. 1960) at 34-36.] Wheat and barley were sown, beans and chick peas cultivated. Ceramic bowls and basins, goblets, large plates, dishes elevated by a central stem, were in daily use; they were hung up on the wall. Evidence indicates hooded cloaks, and cloth woven into stripes of different color. Sheep, goats, and cattle measured wealth. [J.Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" at 236-245, 241-243, in "General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] From physical evidence unearthed in Tunisia archaeologists present the Berbers as already "farmers with a strong pastoral element in their economy and fairly elaborate cemeteries," well over a thousand years before the Phoenicians arrived to found Carthage. [cite book|last=Brett|first=Michael|coauthors=Elizabeth Fentress|year=1996|title=The Berbers|publisher=Blackwell|pages=16.]

Prior to written records about them, sedentary rural Berbers apparently lived in semi-independent farming villages, composed of small tribal units under a local leader. [Soren, Ben Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (Simon and Schuster 1990) at 44-45.] Yet seasonally the villagers might have left to find pasture for their herds and flocks. Modern conjecture is that feuding between neighborhood clans at first impeded organized political life among these ancient Berber farmers, so that social coordination did not develop beyond the village level. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 33-34 (villages and clans), at 135 (semi-pastoral).] On the more marginal lands, pastoral Berbers roamed to find grazing for their animals. Tribal authority was strongest among the latter wandering pastoralists, much weaker among the agricultural villagers, and would attenuate with the advent of cities. [Cf., Laroui, "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 64.] By particularly fertile regions, larger villages arose. In the west of the Maghrib, the Berbers reacted to a growing military threat from colonies started by Phoenician traders. Eventually Carthage and its sister city-states would inspire Berber villages to join together in order to marshall large-scale armies, which naturally called for strong centralizing leadership. Punic social techniques from the nearby polities were adopted by the Berbers, to be modified for their own use. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 24-25 (adaptation of Punic political skills).] [Laroui, "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 61-62 (Phoenician pressure).] To the east, the Berbero-Libyans had interacted with the Egyptians during the earlier rise of the ancient Nile civilization.

Accounts of the Berbers

Egyptian hieroglyphs from the early dynasties testify to Libyans, the Berbers of the "western desert". [The Palermo Stone (named for the "Museo Archeologico Regionale" in Palermo, where much of it is kept), also called the "Libyan Stone", contains a list of the earliest pharaohs up to the Fifth dynasty of Egypt (2487-2348) as well as about fifty prior rulers. Some consider these fifty earlier rulers to be Libyan Berbers, from whom the pharaohs derived. Helene F. Hagan, [http://www.tazzla.org/berber.html "Book Review"] of Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996), at paragraph "a".] First mentioned as the Tehenou during the pre-dynastic reigns of Scorpion (c. 3050) and of Narmer (on an ivory cylinder), their appearance is later disclosed in a bas relief of the Fifth Dynasty temple of Sahure. Ramses II (r.1279-1213) placed Libyan contingents in his army. [J.Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" at 236-245, 238-240, in "General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] Tombs of the 13th century show paintings of "Libu" leaders wearing fine robes, with ostrich feathers in their "dreadlocks", short pointed beards, and tattoos on their shoulders and arms. [cite book|last=Brent|first=Michael|coauthors=Elizabeth Fentress|year=1996|title="The Berbers"|publisher=Blackwell|pages=22, illustration at 23] Evidently, Osorkon the Elder (Akheperre setepenamun), a Berber of the Meshwesh tribe, became the first Libyan pharaoh. Several decades later, his nephew Shoshenq I (r.945-924) became Pharaoh of Egypt, and the founder of its Twenty-second Dynasty (945-715). [cite book|last=Hornung|first=Erik|year=1978, 1999|title="Grunzüge der äegyptischen Geschichte" (translated as: "History of Ancient Egypt")|publisher=Wissenschaftliche, Darmstadt; Cornell Univ.|pages=xv, 52-54; xvii-xviii, 128-133. In 818 the ruling "Bubastid" house split, both of its Berber Meshwesh branches continuing to rule, one later called the 23rd Dynasty. Hornung (1978, 1999) at 131.] [Almost two millennia later a Fatimid Berber army would again occupy Egypt from the west, and establish a dynasty there.] In 926 Shoshenq (Shishak of the Bible) successfully campaigned to Jerusalem then under Solomon's heir. [2 "Chronicles" 12:2-9.] [cite book|last=Hornung|first=Erik|year=1978, 1999|title="Grunzüge der äegyptischen Geschichte" (translated as: "History of Ancient Egypt")|publisher=Wissenschaftliche, Darmstadt; Cornell Univ.|pages=129] For several centuries Egypt was governed by a decentralized system based on the Libyan tribal organization of the Meshwesh. Becoming acculturated, Libyans also served as high priests at Egyptian religious centers. [cite book|last=Hornung|year=1979, 1999|title="History of Ancient Egypt"|pages=129, 131.] Hence during the classical era of the Mediterranean, all of the Berber peoples of North Africa were often known collectively as Libyans. [cite book|last=Welch|first=Galbraith|year=1949|title="North African Prelude"|publisher=Wm. Morrow|pages=39] [cite book|last=Abun-Nasr|first=|year=1971|title="A History of the Maghrib"|publisher=Cambridge University|pages=7] [Cf., Herodotus (c.484-c.425), "The Histories" IV, 167-201 (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 328-337; the Garamantes of the Libyan desert (the Fezzan) at 329, 332.]

Farther west, foreigners knew of some Berbers as Gaetulians (who lived in remote areas); those Bebers more familiar were known as Numidians, and also as the Mauri or Maurisi (later the Moors). [cite book|last=Strabo (c. 63-A.D. 24)|title="Geographica"|pages=XVIII, 3, ii; cited by René Basset, "Moorish Literature" (Collier 1901) at iii.] [Cf., Laroui, "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 65.] [Yet the names "Mauri" and "Moor" have been used by ancient and medieval authors to designate also black Africans coming from south of the Sahara. Frank M. Snowden, Jr., "Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience" (Harvard University 1970) at 11-14.] The western Berbers are mentioned in ancient literature regarding specific military events during the fifth century B.C., [Circa 480 as mercenaries of Carthage in Sicily, according to Herodotus (c.490-425), "The Histories" at VII, 167; translated by Audrey de Selincourt, revised by A.R.Burn (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 499.] and thereafter they are entering into the early light given us by various Greek and Roman historical works; apart from the Punic inscriptions, no Carthaginian literature has survived. [B.H.Warmington, "The Carthiginian Period" at 246-260, 246 (no literature of Carthage remains), 248 (Mago of Carthage began to employ Berbers as mercenaries in the sixth century) in "General History of Africa, volume III. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990).] [Carthage's long and frequent interaction with the Berber peoples surrounding them, are not known to us from their accounts because we do not possess the writings of Carthage. Serge Lancel, "Carthage. A History" (Oxford: Blackwell 1992, 1995) at 358-360.] During this period, however, the Berbers of the western regions traded and interacted most frequently with Carthage, founded by Phoenicians; the name Libyphoenicians was coined for the cultural and ethnic mix surrounding the city. Political skills and civic arrangements encountered in Carthage, as well as material culture, were adopted by the Berber for their own use. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 34.] [Gabriel Camps, "Les Berbères" (Edisud 1996) at 19-21.] In the fourth century Berber kingdoms are mentioned; Agathocles (361-289), a Greek ruler in Sicily, dealt with the Libyo-Berber king Aelymas. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 25, 287.] [Diodorus Siculus(first century B.C.E., historian of Sicily [Siculus] ), his "Bibliothecae Historicae" at xx, 17.1, 18.3, cited by Ilevbare, "Carthage, Rome, and the Berbers" (1981) at 14.]

A bilingual (Punic and Berber) inscription of the 2nd century B.C. from urban Numidia, specifically from the ancient city of Thugga (modern Dougga, Tunisia), indicates a complex city administration, with the Berber title "GLD" (cognate to modern Berber "Aguellid", or paramount tribal chief) designating the ruling municipal officer. This top position apparently rotated among the selected members of the leading Berber families. Since the Numidian titles of the offices mentioned ("GLD", "MSSKWI", "GZBI", "GLDGIML") were not translated into Punic but left in Berber, it suggests an indigenous development. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 37-40 (Berber urban offices).] [These municipal titles are given using letters that represent only the consonant sounds, i.e., without indicating the vowel sounds, which is characteristic of the Phoenician and other Semitic scripts (e.g., Aramaic). Hebrew and Arabic modernly indicate the vowel sounds by the addition of "diacritical points" usually placed above the letters. Isaac Taylor, "The Alphabet. An account of the origin and development of letters" (London 1883, reprint Madras 1991) at I: 159-161.]

Circa 220 B.C., three large kingdoms had arisen among the Berbers (west to east): (1) the Mauri (in modern Morocco) under king Baga; (2) the Masaesyli (in northern Algeria) under Syphax who ruled from two capitals, Siga (near modern Oran) and to the east Cirta (modern Constantine); and (3) the Massyli (south of Cirta, west and south of Carthage) ruled by Gala [Gaia] , father of Masinissa. Following the Second Punic War, Masinissa received the honor befitting a respected King from both Roman and Hellenic states. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 24-27 (kingdoms).]

In his history of Rome "Ab urbe condita", Livy (59-A.D.17) provides some indication of the character and career of Masinissa during the era of the Second Punic War. ["Ab urbe condita" at XXIX, 29; "The War with Hannibal" (Penguin 1965, 1972) at 604, "Since Masinissa was by far the greatest of all the kings of his time and rendered much the most valuable service to Rome, I feel that it is worth while to digress a little in order to tell [his] story... ."] He tells of his early military services to Carthage and with them his victory over the Masaesyli led by Syphax, and of his leading calvary units for Carthage against Rome in Spain. Masinissa then changes sides to ally with Rome, and personally meets with Scipio Africanus the celebrated Roman general. Next follows the death of his father Gala the King of the Massyli, the usurpation of the kingdom, and his life as a guerilla leader in the mountains of Africa. By persistent struggle Masinissa regains his kingdom, but quickly comes an invasion by Syphax who defeats him and takes over his kingdom, after which Masinissa escapes into the bush. Later, his forces find the army of Scipio who has landed in Africa, and in battle they defeat an army of Carthage. Syphax is captured; Masinissa's envoys meet with the Roman Senate. Hannibal, recalled from Italy to defend Carthage, fights the Battle of Zama (202 B.C.) against the Roman army under Scipio, with Masinissa on the right wing leading the calvary. Following victory, Masinissa is restored to his kingdom, then called Numidia, where he will rule for fifty years. [Livy, "The War with Hannibal" (Penguin 1965, 1972) at 290-291, 340 (with Carthage against Syphax, and against Rome in Spain), 455 (his nephew captured and released by Scipio), 519, 543-545 (Masinissa and Scipio), 604-612 (from his father's death to Scipio's early victory), 632, 640 (Syphax captured, Roman Senate), 661-663 (the Battle of Zama).]

Ancient Berber religion

The religion of the ancient Berbers, of course, is difficult to uncover sufficiently to satisfy the imagination. Burial sites provide early indication of religious beliefs; more than sixty thousand tombs are located in the Fezzan alone. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 23.] The construction of many tombs indicates their continuing use for ceremonies and sacrifices. [Gabriel Camps, "Monuments et rites funéraires protohistoriques" (Paris: Arts & Métiers Graphiques 1961), cited in Baldick, "Black God. Afroasiatic roots of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions" (1997) at 68-69; and generally his chapter 3 "North Africa" at 67-91.] A grand tomb for a Berber king, traditionally assigned to Masinissa (238-149) but perhaps rather to his father Gala, still stands: the "Medracen" in eastern Algeria. Architecture for the elegant tower tomb of his contemporary Syphax shows some Greek or Punic influence. [Tomb of Syphax is at Siga near Oran. Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 27-31.] Much information about Berber beliefs comes from classical literature. Herodotus (c.484-c.425) mentions that Libyans of the Nasamone tribe, after prayers, slept on the graves of their ancestors in order to induce dreams for divination. The ancestor chosen being regarded the best in life for uprightness and valor, hence a tomb imbued with spiritual power. Oaths also were taken on the graves of the just. [Herodotus (c.484-c.425), "The Histories" IV, 172-174 (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 329 (divination).] [J.A.Ilevbare, "Carthage, Rome, and the Berbers. A Study of Social Evolution in Ancient North Africa" (Ibadan Univ. 1981) at 118, 122-123, referencing also Tertullian (160-c.230) of Carthage, his "Apologia" at 5.1.] In this regard, the Numidian king Masinissa was widely worshipped after his death. [Masinissa was venerated not so much as divine but "because they recognized his greatness and his merit which had an element of the divine." Ilevbare, "Carthage, Rome, and the Berbers" (1981) at 124, citing the third century Roman Christian author (probably of North Africa) Minucius Felix, "Octavius" at 21.9.]

Early Berbers beliefs and practices are often characterized as a religion of nature. Procreative power was symbolized by the bull, the lion, the ram. Fish carvings represented the phallus, a sea shell the female sex, which objects could become charms. [J.Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" at 236-245, 243, in "General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] The supernatural could reside in the waters, in trees, or come to rest in unusual stones (to which the Berbers would apply oils); such power might inhabit the winds. [Baldick, "Black God" (1997) at 70, 72, 73.] Herodotus writes that the Libyans sacrificed to the sun and moon. [Herodotus (c.484-c.425), "Istoreia", IV 188, translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt, revised by A.R.Burn, as "The Histories" (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 333-334 (sun and moon).] The moon (Ayyur) was conceived as being masculine. [Julian Baldick, "Black God: Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Religions" (London: I.B.Tauris 1997) at 20 (Semitic moon god, sun goddess), 70 (sun and moon worshipped by Berbers), 74 (another Berber moon god, Ieru), 89-91 (Berber religion within the Afroasiatic). See below "Berber language history" regarding Afroasiatic.] [Cf., Brian Doe, "Southern Arabia" (New York: McGraw-Hill 1971) at 25 (moon god ['LMQH] , sun goddess Dhat Hamym).]

Later many other supernatural entities became identified and personalized as gods, perhaps influenced by Egyptian or Punic practice; yet the Berbers seemed to be "drawn more to the sacred than to the gods." [J.Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" at 236-245, 243-245, 245, in "General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] Early worship sites might be in grottoes, on mountains, in clefts and cavities, along roadways, with the "altars casually made of turf, the vessels used still of clay with the deity himself nowhere," according to Apuleius. [Ilevbare, "Carthage, Rome, and the Berbers" (1981) at 121, quoting the author of North Africa, Apuleius (born c.125 C.E.), his "Apologia" 25, 13, where he comments on the local worship of earlier times.] Often only a little more than the names of the Berber deities are known, e.g., "Bonchar", a leading god. [There is a third century A.D. relief from ancient Vaga (now Béja, Tunisia), with Latin inscription, which shows seven Berber gods (the "Dii Mauri" or Mauran gods) seated on a bench: Bonchar in the center with a staff (master of the pantheon), to his right sits the goddess Vihina with an infant at her feet (childbirth?), to her right is Macurgum holding a scroll and a serpent entwined staff (health?), to Bonchar's left is Varsissima (without attributes), and to her left is Matilam evidently presiding over the sacrifice of a boar; at the ends are Macurtan holding a bucket and Iunam (possibly the moon). Aicha Ben Abad Ben Khader and David Soren, "Carthage: A Mosaid of Ancient Tunisia" (American Museum of Natural History 1987) at 139-140.] Julian Baldick, culling literature covering many eras and regions, provides the names and rôles of many Berber deities and spirits. [Baldick, "Black God: Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Religions" (London: I.B.Tauris 1997) at chapter 3, "North Africa". From Tertullian: Varsutina, chief goddess of Mauri (at 72); from inscriptions: the god Baccax, object of pilgrimages (at 73-74), Ieru, moon god (74), Lilleu, male personification of rain water (74); from a Byzantine source: Gurzil, bull god with stone idol (74-75), Sinifere, war god (74), Mastiman, infernal deity, to whom human sacrifices made (74); late medieval Canary Islands: the god Eraoranzan, worshipped by men (77), the goddess Moneyba, venerated by women (74), Idafe, worshipped as a tall thin rock (77); spirits from modern sources: Imbarken, Saharan spirits who controlled the winds (79), Tenunbia, female being represented by dolls, used to invoke the rain (79), Anzar, male personification of rain (89). Also mentioned are Amun-Re of Egypt (67), Tanit of Carthage (at 71, 74, 79), or those given Roman names (Caelestis at 74, 79), or Arabic names (e.g., the devils Shamarikh at 75).] [J.A.Ilevbare from inscriptions gives the Berber names of many gods in his "Carthage, Rome, and the Berbers" (1981) at 120. At specified places: Bocax, Auliswa, Mona, Mathamos, Draco, Lilleus, Abaddir; and five gods together near Theveste: Masiden, Thililva, Suggan, Iesdan, and Masiddica. Sinifere, a war god (compared to Mars). Mastina, who received human sacrifice (compared to Jupiter). Gurzil, personified as a "magical" bull let loose in battle, hence a war god.]

The Berbero-Libyans came to adopt elements from ancient Egyptian religion. Herodotus writes of the divine oracle, sourced in the Egyptian god Ammon, located among the Libyans at the oasis of Siwa. [The Libyan oracle was sister to the divine oracle of Dodona in Greece, according to Herodotus (c.484-c.425), in his "The Histories" II, 55-56 (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 153-154.] The god of the Siwa oracle, however, may be a Libyan deity. [J.A.Ilevbare in his "Carthage, Rome, and the Berbers" (Ibadan Univ. 1981) at 117-118, states that there was a Libyan god Ammon concerned with divination whose oracle was at the Siwa oasis, this god being apart from the Egyptian god of Thebes also called Ammon or Amun. His sources include Oric Bates, "The Eastern Libyans" (London: 1914; reprint Cass 1970) at 189-191.] Later, Berber beliefs would influence the religion of Carthage, the city-state founded by Phoenicians. [Soren, Ben Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (New York: Simon and Schuster 1990) at 26-27 (fusion with Tanit), 243-244.] George Aaron Barton suggested that the prominent goddess of Carthage Tanit originally was a Berbero-Libyan deity whom the newly arriving Phoenicians sought to propitiate by their worship. [George Aaron Barton, "Semitic and Hamitic Origins. Social and Religious" (Philadelphia: Univ.of Pennsylvania 1934) at 303-306, 305.] ["The name is apparently Libyan" in reference to the goddess Tanit: B.H.Warmington, "The Carthaginian Period" at 246-260, 254, in "General History of Africa, volume II, Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990).] Later archeological finds show a Tanit from Phoenicia. [Glenn E. Markoe, "Phoenicians" (Univ.of California 2000) at 118, where Markoe notes, "The discovery at Sarepta of an inscribed ivory plaque dedicated to Tanit-Astarte... [affirms] the mainland origin of the former goddess, whose cult achieved enormous popularity at Carthage and the Punic west, beginning in the fifth century B.C." The Sarepta site (located on the Phoenician coast between Tyre and Sidon) was explored by archeologists in the 1970s; the plaque is said to date to eighth century B.C. The goddess Astarte was a major deity at Tyre.] [Cf., Picard, "The Life and Death of Carthage" (1968-1969) at 151-152.] [Cf., E. A. Wallis Budge, "Osiris. The Egyptian Religion of Resurrection" (London: P.L.Warner 1911; reprint University Books 1961) at II: 276-277; Budge quotes a text dating to the "New Empire" [Budge's term, the "New Kingdom" is dated 1550-1070] which praises the Egyptian goddess Isis: "She of many names. ... She who filleth the Tuat with good things. She who is greatly feared in the Tuat. The great goddess in the Tuat with Osiris in her name Tanit." Here the Tuat would be the region where "spirits departed after the death of their bodies." Budge, "ibid." at II: 155. It may have a remote relation to the Berber oasis of Tuat (In Salah) located in south central Algeria.] From linguistic evidence Barton concluded that before developing into an agricultural deity, Tanit probably began as a goddess of fertility, symbolized by a tree bearing fruit. [Barton, "Semitic and Hamitic Origins" (1934) at 305.] [See "infra" under Carthaginian religion.] The Phoenician goddess Ashtart was supplanted by Tanit at Carthage.

Berber tribal affiliations

The grand tribal identities of Berber antiquity were said to be the Mauri, the Numidians, and the Gaetulians. The Mauri inhabited the far west (ancient Mauritania, now Morocco and central Algeria). The Numidians were located between the Mauri and the city-state of Carthage. Both had large sedentary populations. The Gaetulians were less settled, with large pastoral elements, and lived in the near south on the margins of the Sahara. [Sallust (86-35), "Bellum Iugurthinum" (c.42 B.C.), 19-20, translated by S.A.Handford as "The Jugurthine War" (Penguin 1963) at 55-56.] [Laroui, "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 55, 60, 65.] [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1989) at 41-42.] The medieval historian of the Maghrib Ibn Khaldun is credited or blamed for theorizing a causative dynamic to the different tribal confederacies over time. [Cf., Steven C. Caton, "Anthropological Theories of Tribe and State Formation in the Middle East: Ideology and the Semiotics of Power" in Khoury and Kostiner, "Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East" (Univ.of California 1990) at 74-108, 85-90.] [See subsection on "Ibn Khaldun", in "Hafsid dynasty" section of History of medieval Tunisia.] Issues concerning tribal social-economies and their influence have generated a large literature, which critics say is overblown. Abdallah Laroui discounts the impact of tribes, declaring the subject a form of obfuscation which cloaks suspect colonial ideologies. While Berber tribal society has made an impact on culture and government, their continuance was chiefly due to strong foreign interference which usurped the primary domain of the government institutions, and derailed their natural political development. Rather than there being a predisposition for tribal strutures, the Berber's survival stratey in the face of foreign occupation was to figuratively retreat into their own way of life through their enduring tribal networks. [Laroui, "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 64-66.] On the other hand, as it is accepted and understood, tribal societies in the Middle East have continued over millennia and from time to time flourish. [Philip S. Khoury and Joseph Kostiner, "Introduction: Tribes and the Complexities of State Formation in the Middle East" at 1-22, in Khoury and Kostiner, "Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East" (Univ.of California 1990) at 1-22.]

Berber tribal identities survived undiminished during the long period of dominance by the city-state of Carthage. Under centuries of Roman rule also tribal ways were maintained. The sustaining social customs would include: communal self-defense and group liability, marriage alliances, collective religious practices, reciprocal gift-giving, family working relationships and wealth. [Ernest Gellner, "Tribalism and State in the Middle East" in "Anthropology and Politics. Revolutions in the Sacred Grove" (Oxford: Blackwell 1995) at 180-201, 180-185.] [Generally, Marshall D. Sahlins, "Tribesmen" (Prentice-Hall 1968).] Abdallah Laroui summarizes the abiding results under foreign rule (here, by Carthage and by Rome) as: Social (assimilated, nonassimilated, free); Geographical (city, country, desert); Economic (commerce, agriculture, nomadism); and, Linguistic (e.g., Latin, Punico-Berber, Berber). [Abdallah Laroui, "L'Histoire du Maghreb: Un essai de synthèse" (Paris: Librairie François 1970), translated by Ralph Manheim as "The History of the Maghrib" (Prineton Univ. 1977) at 64.]

During the first centuries of the Islamic era, it was said that the Berbers tribes were divided into two blocs, the Butr (Zanata and allies) and the Baranis (Sanhaja, Masmuda, and others). [H. Mones, "The conquest of North Africa and Berber resistance" at 118-129, 118, in "General History of Africa, Volume III, Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century" (UNESCO 1992).] The etymology is unclear, perhaps deriving from tribal customs for clothing ("abtar" and "burnous"), or perhaps words coined to distinguish the nomad (Butr) from the farmer (Baranis). The Arabs drew most of their early recruits from the Butr. [Singular of Baranis is "Burnus", from which "burnous", understoood as a long garment. "Abtar" signifies "cut short", hence a short tunic. Brent and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 131. E.F.Gautier is cited for the conjecture per farmers and nomads.] Later, legends arose which spoke of an obscure, ancient invasion of North Africa by the Himyarite Arabs of Yemen, from which a prehistoric ancestry was evidently fabricated: Berber descent from two brothers, Burnus and Abtar, who were sons of Barr, the grandson of Canaan [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 131.] (Canaan being the grandson of Noah through his son Ham). ["Genesis", at 10:1 & 6. The Hebrew Bible apparently does not list Barr as a descendant of Ham. Chapter 10 of "Genesis" is known as "The Table of Nations".] Both Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) and Ibn Hazm (994-1064) as well as Berber geneologists held that the Himyarite Arab ancestry was totally unacceptable. [H.T.Norris, "Saharan Myth and Saga" (Oxford Univ. 1972) at 26, 30, citing René Basset (1900 & 1901). Yet Norris also notes that E.F.Gautier (1942) found an echo in the 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius of the Himyarite myth, and conjectured an ancient Canaanite "Völkerwanderungen", finding common cultural symbols. "Ibid." at 30.] This legendary ancestry, however, played a rôle in the long Arabization process that continued for centuries among the Berber peoples. [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 120-126, 130, 131-132; cf., 135 ff.] [See below, section "Berber Role" per the "Umayyad Conquest of Ifriqiya".]

In their medieval Islamic history the Berbers may be divided into three major tribal groups: the Zanata, the Sanhaja, and the Masmuda. These tribal divisions are mentioned by Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406). [Abun-Nasr remarks that " [T] hese divisions do not seem to coincide entirely either with the ethnic groupings or distinctions of dialect." Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 8.] The Zanata early on allied more closely with the Arabs and consequently became more Arabized, although Znatiya Berber is still spoken in small islands across Algeria and in northern Morocco (the Rif and north Middle Atlas). The Sanhaja are also widely dispersed throughout the Maghrib, among which are: the sedentary Kabyle on the coast west of modern Algiers, the nomadic Zanaga of southern Morocco (the south Anti-Atlas) and the western Sahara to Senegal, and the Tuareg (al-Tawarik), the well-known camel breeding nomads of the central Sahara. The descendants of the Masmuda are sedentary Berbers of Morocco, in the High Atlas, and from Rabat inland to Azru and Khanifra, the most populous of the modern Berber regions. [For Masmuda descendent population, cf., Grimes (ed.), "Ethnologue" (12th ed. 1992) at 307.] [Generally, Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 8-9.] [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 131-132.]

Medieval events in Ifriqiya and al-Maghrib often have tribal assoiciations. Linked to the Kabyle "Sanhaja" were the Kutama tribes, whose support worked to establish the Fatimid Caliphate (909-1171, only until 1049 in Ifriqiya); their vassals and later successors in Ifriqiya the Zirids (973-1160) were also "Sanhaja". [Perkins, "Tunisia" (1986) at 34 (Fatamid), 36 (Zirid).] The Almoravids (1056-1147) first began far south of Morocco, among the Lamtuna "Sanhaja". [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 131-132.] From the "Masmuda" came Ibn Tumart and the Almohad movement (1130-1269), later supported by the "Sanhaja". Accordingly, it was from among the "Masmuda" that the Hafsid dynasty (1227-1574) of Tunis originated. [Generally, Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 8-9.] [H. Mones, "The conquest of North Africa and Berber resistance" at 118-129, 118-120, in "General History of Africa, Volume III, Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century" (UNESCO 1992).] [Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 130-132, 134-135.]

Berber language history

Twenty or so Berber languages [cite book|last=Basset|first=André|year=1952, 1969|title="La langue berbère"|publisher=Oxford Univ.] [Joseph R. Applegate, "The Berber Languages" at 96-118, in "Afroasiatic. A Survey" edited by Carleton T. Hodge (The Hague: Mouton 1971).] [David L. Appleyard, "Berber Overview" at 23-26, in "Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in memory of Igor M. Diakonoff", edited by M. Lionel Bender, Gabor Takacs, and David L. Appleyard (Muenchen: LINCOM 2003).] (also called "Tamazight") are spoken in North Africa. Berber speakers were once predominate over all this large area, but as a result of Arabization and later local migrations, today Berber languages are reduced to several large regions (in Morocco, Algeria, and the central Sahara) or remain as smaller language islands. [Cf., Joseph R. Applegate, "The Berber Languages" at 96-118, 96-97, in "Afroasiatic. A Survey" (1971).] [Yet modern Arab dialects of the interior are "heavily infused with Berber words, particularly place-names taken from Berber terms for flora, fauna, and tools." LaVerle Berry and Robert Rinehart, "The Society and its Environment" in "Tunisi. A country study" (3rd. ed., Washington, D.C. 1987) at 88.] Several linguists characterize the Berber spoken as one language with many dialect variations, spread out in discrete regions, without ongoing standardization. [David L. Appleyard, "Berber Overview" at 23-26, 23, in "Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in memory of Igor M. Diakonoff", edited by M. Lionel Bender, Gabor Takacs, and David L. Appleyard (Muenchen: LINCOM 2003), citing André Basset, "La langue Berbère" (London 1961), and Wolf (1981). Dialects are said to number in the hundreds, if not thousands.] The Berber languages may be classified as follows (with some more widely known languages or language groups shown in "italics"). [Schema by Alexander Militarev, as presented in Merritt Ruhlen, "A Guide to the World's Languages" (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 92, 93).] [In substantial accord with Militarev's classification of Berber is I. M. Diakonoff, "Afrasian Languages" (1988) at 19-20.] Ethnic historical correspondence is suggested by the designation |Tribe|. [Refer to the discussion on Berber ethnic identities at the end of the prior section "Berber background". In general long-standing tribal loyalties can compare to the composite language classifications, yet any match will not always correspond due to changing tribal alliances over time, episodic adoptations of a region's majority speech by newly-arrived or minority tribal groups, and otherwise. It is notorious that the attempt to connect a language and an ethnic identity will be a hit-and-miss proposition.]

*I. "Guanche" [extinct] ; (Canary Islands).
*II. "Old Libyan" [extinct] ; (West of ancient Egypt).
*III. Berber Proper.
**A. Eastern: "Siwa, Awjila, Sokna"; (Libya & Egypt).
**B. "Tuareg"; (Central Sahara region). [Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.] |Sanhaja
**C. Western: "Zenaga"; (Mauritania & Senegal). |Sanhaja|
**D. Northern Berber languages; (Maghrib).
***1. Atlas: "Shilha, Tamazight"; (Morocco & Algeria). |Masmuda
***2. "Kabyle"; (East of Algiers). |Sanhaja
***3. "Zenati"; (Morocco, Algeria, & Tunisia). |Zenata

"Nota Bene": The classification and nomenclature of Berber languages lack complete consensus. [The language map above right (by Davius Sanctex of Spanish provenance) links to another which divides the Moroccan into thirds. Another map at Berber languages by Agurzil (revised by Ayadho) differs at the margins. The two classification schemata presented there, one by Maarten Kossmann (1999), and [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90002 another] by Ethnologue based on Aikhenvald and Militarev (1991), also differ somewhat. Another complicating factor is the "dialect continua" between adjacent oral cultures; at their borders, such neighboring speech regions of related idioms may blend and merge.]

The Libyan Berbers developed their own writing system, evidently derived from Phoenician, [Its modern name Tifinagh, more accurately in French "Tifinar", derives in the Afroasiatic morphology of Semitic triliteral roots from "FNR" which signifies the Phoenician people. P. Salama, "The Sahara in cassical antiqity" at 286-295, 289-290, in "General History of Africa, volume II, Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990) Abridged Edition. Many alphabets seem to derive via the Pheonician.] as early as the fourth century B.C. [David Diringer, "Writing" (London: Thames and Hudson 1962) at 124, 132, 141.] [cite book|last=Brent and Fentress|year=1996|title=The Berbers|pages=37 A chart shows the Berber letters and sound values of ancient Libyan and modern Tifinagh. "Ibid." at 220.] It was a "boustrophic" script, i.e., written left to right then right to left on alternating lines, or up and down in columns. [Joseph R. Applegate, "The Berber Language" at 96-118, 115, in Hodge (ed.), "Afroasiatic. A Survey" (1971). "Boustrophic" writing was more common in the ancient world.] Most of these early inscriptions were funerary and short in length. Several longer texts exist, taken from Thugga, modern Dougga, Tunisia. Both are bilingual, being written in Punic with its letters and in Berber with its letters. One throws some light on the governing institutions of the Berbers in the second century B.C. [Over 150 words, the text dates from the era of the Berber King Masinissa. cite book|last=Brent and Fentress|year=1996|title=The Berbers|pages=39-40] The other text begins: "This temple the citizens of Thugga built for King Masinissa... ." [Steven Roger Fischer, "A History of Writing" (London: Reaktion 2001) at 92. The text is over 50 words and dates from the Second Punic War, 218-201. Fischer also reports a Celt-Iberian coin from Spain of the first century B.C. inscribed with Libyan letters. "Ibid." at 93.] Today the script descendent from the ancient Libyan remains in use; it is called "Tifinagh". [. cite book|last=Brent and Fentress|year=1996|title=The Berbers|pages=37 Until recently, its most frequent modern usage seemed to be within the family, e.g., domestic messages, personal and household ornament, magic symbolism, love letters and other notes of intimacy. Lately, public use of "Tifinagh" in Berber regions has been markedly increasing. Fischer, "A History of Writing" (2001) at 93. Brent & Fentress (1996) at 208-209, 212. Currently on the agenda in various Berber communities are considerations to expand the language's use, making its application more comprehensive. "Ibid." (1996) at 281. Evidently, a variant of "Tifinagh" now enjoys official status in Morocco.]

Berber, however, no longer is widely spoken in present day Tunisia; e.g., centuries ago many of its Zenata Berbers became Arabized. [cite book|last=Abun-Nasr|first=Jamil M.|year=1971|title=A History of the Maghrib|publisher=Cambridge University|pages=8-9, 10] Today in Tunisia the small minority that speaks Berber may be heard on Jerba island, around the salt lakes region, and near the desert, as well as along the mountainous border with Algeria (across this frontier to the west lies a large region where the Zenati Berber languages and dialects predominate). [Berry and Rhinehart, "The Society and its Environment" at 84-85, 86, in "Tunisia. A Country Study" (3rd ed., 1986).] [Berber speakers are indicated at the extreme south of Tunisia (near the Ghadames oasis) on the map of Agurzil (found at the top of the Berber languages page).] In contrast, use of Berber is relatively common in Morocco, [Barbara F. Grimes, editor, "Ethnologue" (Dallas 12th ed. 1990) at 305-307, indicates 5,700,000 speakers of Berber out of a total Morrocan population of 26,250,000, or about 22%.] and also in Algeria, [Grimes, ed., "Ethnologue" (12th ed. 1990) at 153-155, states that 14% speak Berber out of a total Algerian population of 25,700,000, or about 3,600,000.] and in the remote central Sahara. [Generally, Joseph R. Applegate, "The Berber Languages" at 96-118, 96-97, in "Afroasiatic. A Survey" edited by Hodge (The Hague: Mouton 1971).] [David L. Appleyard, "Berber Overview" at 23-26, 23, in "Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in memory of Igor M. Diakonoff", edited by M. Lionel Bender, Gabor Takacs, and David L. Appleyard (Muenchen: LINCOM 2003). Today Berber speakers said to total about 12 million.] Berber poetry endures, [E.g., the poet Muhammad Awzal (1670-1748). Awzal wrote Berber using a Maghribi variant of the Arabic script.] as well as a traditional Berber literature. [René Basset, "Moorish Literature" (New York: P.F.Collier & Son 1901) contains Berber ballads, tales, stories, folk-lore, and traditions.] [Leo Frobenius and Douglas C. Fox, "African Genesis" (Berkeley: Turtle Island Foundation 1983) at 45-105, contains Berber Kabyl legends and folk tales, originally published by Leo Frobenius in "Volksmärchen und Volksdichtungen Afrikas" (Jena: Eugen Diederichs Verlag 1921-1924).]

Taken together these Berber languages constitute one of the five branches [Within Afroasiatic, Ehret and Bender each classify the Berber languages with Ancient Egyptian and the Semitic languages in a "Northern" Afroasiatic group; two other linguists, Fleming and Newman, classify it with Chadic; others, e.g., Hetzron, are noncommittal. Merritt Ruhlen, "A Guide to the World's Languages. Volume 1: Classification" (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 90-91.] [Within Afroasiatic, Diakonoff supports a Berbero-Libyan and Semitic proximity. I. M. Diakonoff, "Semito-Hamitic Languages" (Moscow: Nauka 1965) at 102, 104; and his "Afrasian Languages" (Moscow: Nauka 1988) at 24, but see per Chadic and Egyptian at 20.] [Although in some Afroasiatic branches the connections are loose, Semitic and Berber each are "close-knit" branches "whose internal unity cannot be questioned." Ruhlen, "A Guide to the World's Languages" (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 89. Of course, Ancient Egyptian is a branch with a single member language.] of Afroasiatic, [Robert Hetzron, "Afroasiatic Languages" at 645-653, in Bernard Comrie, "The World's Major Languages" (Oxford Univ. 1990). Hetzron discusses the Berber languages within Afroasiatic at 648.] > [M. Lionel Bender, "Afrasian Overview" at 1-6, in "Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in memory of Igor M. Diakonoff", edited by M. Lionel Bender, Gabor Takacs, and David L. Appleyard (Muenchen: LINCOM 2003).] [cite book|last=Greenberg|first=Joseph|year=1966|title=The Languages of Africa|publisher=Indiana University|pages=42, 50] [cite book|last=Crystal|first=David|year=1987|title=Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language|pages=316] [Carleton T. Hodge, "Afroasiatic: An Overview" at 9-26, in Hodge (ed.), "Afroasiatic. A Survey" (1971).] [Marcel Cohen, "Essai comparatif sur le vocabulaire et la phonétique du chamio-sémitique" (Paris: Champion 1947).] a pivotal world language family, which stretches from Mesopotamia and Arabia across the Nile river and the Horn of Africa to the Atlas Mountains and Lake Chad. The other four branches of Afroasiatic are: Ancient Egyptian, Semitic (which includes Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, and Amharic), Cushitic (around the Horn and the lower Red Sea), [A new branch has been proposed, "Omotic", composed of languages until then considered within the Cushitic branch. M. Lionel Bender, "Omotic. A New Afroasiatic Language Family" (Univ. of Southern Illinois 1975).] and Chadic (e.g., "Hausa"). The Afroasiatic language family has great diversity among its member idioms and a corresponding antiquity in time depth, [I. M. Diakonoff, "Afrasian Languages" (1988) at 16, referencing "the much earlier date of the break-up of the Afrasian proto-language, as compared with the Proto-Indo-European."] [Regarding Berber, Cavalli-Sforza refers to possible dates up to seventeen kya for the Berber ancestor's split from Indo-European language speakers. Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, & Piazza, "The History and Geography of Human Genes" (Princeton Univ. 1994) at 103, apparently citing A.B. Dolgopolsky, "The Indo-European homeland and lexical contacts of Proto-Indo-European with other languages" in "Mediterranean Language Review" 3: 7-31 (Harrassowitz 1988).] both as to the results of analyses in historical linguistics and as regards the seniority of its written records, composed using the oldest of writing systems. [Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (c.3000) were probably developed shortly after cunieform (c.3100), and are the oldest Afroasiatic writings known. I. J. Gelb, "A Study of Writing" (Univ.of Chicago 1952, 2nd ed. 1963) at 60.] [The inventors of the first writing system, cuneiform, were the Sumerians who spoke a non-Afroasiatic language in Mesopotamia; yet several centuries later it was adopted there by the Akkadians who spoke a Semitic language. Geoffrey Sampson, "Writing Systems. A linguistic introduction" (Stanford Univ. 1985) at 46-47, 56.] [Afroasiatic language speakers of the Proto-Canaanite group, with help from a secondary syllabary developed by the Egyptians, are credited with the invention of the alphabet. John F. Healey, "The Early Alphabet" (British Museum 1990) at 16-18.] The combination of linguistic studies with other information about prehistory taken from archaeology and the biological sciences has been adumbrated. [Patrick J. Munson, "Africa's Prehistoric Past" at 62-82, 78-81 (subtitled: 'Correlations of Archaeology and African Languages'), in "Africa", edited by Phyllis M. Martin and Patrick O'Meara (Indiana Univ. 1977). Perhaps the cultural antecedents of Afroasiatic may be traced back twenty kya (thousands of years ago). "Ibid.", at 81.] [Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi, & Alberto Piazza, "The History and Geography of Human Genes" (Princeton Univ. 1994), who compare their research results with population groups connected with language families derived from linguistics (although with the "caveat" that language speakers and genetic groups are distinct categories). "Comparison with linguistic classifications" at 96-105. A brief outline of Afroasiatic is given at 165. Three book reviews appear in "Mother Tongue" at Issue 24: 9-29 (1995).] Earlier academic speculation as to the prehistoric homeland of Afroasiatic and its geographic spread centered on a source in southwest Asia, [Cf., Holger Pedersen, "The Discovery of Language. Linguistic Science in the 19th Century" (Harvard Univ. 1931, reprint Midland Book 1962) at 116-124. Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) first proposed the term "Semitic"; later "Hamitic" was named after another son of Noah in the tenth chapter of Genesis. "Ibid." (1962) at 118. Hence "Hamito-Semitic", the prior name for Afroasiatic.] ["Afroasiatic" had been termed "Hamito-Semitic" because of the erroneous view that besides the "Semitic" branch, the other four groups were undifferentiated and related, i.e., the so-called "Hamitic" branch (Ancient Egyptian, Berber, Cushitic, and Hausa). Merritt Ruhlen, "A Guide to the World's Languages. Volume 1: Classification" (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 85-95, 88.] [It had long been suggested that there were linguistically five equal and independent branches of this language family. Eventually this was sufficiently demonstrated by Greenberg, and the term "Afroasiatic" was coined. Joseph Greenberg, "The Languages of Africa" (Indiana Univ. 1963, 3rd ed. 1970) at 49-51. Although an obvious advance in language classification, the new name was misleading in that only a small fraction of Asia and less than half of Africa speaks or spoke an "Afroasiatic" language. Yet it does straddle the two continents.] but more recent work in the various related disciplines has focused on Africa. [Igor Mikhailovich Diakonoff, "Afrasian Languages" (Moscow: Nauka Publishers 1988) at 21-24; and his earlier "Semito-Hamitic Languages" (Moscow: Nauka 1965) at 102-105, followed by three Maps. Diakonoff situates the homeland in the southeast Sahara, between Tibesti and Darfur, when it was well watered during the Mesolithic period, i.e., before nine kya (thousand years ago). "Ibid." (1988) at 23. The contraction "Afrasian" was invented to avoid the misleading geographical implications of "Afroasiatic".] [M. Lionel Bender, "Omotic" (1975) at 220-225, with Map. Bender discusses and differs with Diakonoff (1965). Bender situates the Afroasiatic homeland in or around the upper Nile. "Ibid." at 220-221, 225. Bender mentions that language homelands are generally proximous to the area of the most diverse linguistic phenomena. "Ibid." at 223. The upper Nile is between the complex branches of Chadic and Cushitic (and the proposed Omotic), and is also nearby the many ancient varieties of Semitic spoken in Ethiopia. Cf., Bender, "Upside-Down Afrasian" in "Afrikanistisches Arbeitspapiere" 50: 19-34 (1997).] [Carleton T. Hodge, "Afroasiatic: The Horizon and Beyond," in "The Jewish Quarterly Review", LXXIV: 137-158 (1983) at 152. He favors the Central Nile, citing Diakonoff, "Earliest Semites in Asia" in "AOF" 8: 23-74 (1981), and the Munson article in the book "Africa" (Indiana Univ. 1977).] [cite book|last=Brett|first=Michael|coauthors=Elizabeth Fentress|year=1996|title=The Berbers|publisher=Blackwell|pages=14-15]

In the conjecture proposed by the well-regarded linguist and historian Igor M. Diakonoff, from a prehistoric homeland near Darfur, which was better watered, [At about this time the surface water level of Lake Chad to the west was 12 meters higher than it is today. R. Said, "Chronological framework: African pluvial and glacial epics" at 146-166, 148, in "General History of Africa, volume I, Methodology and African Prehistory" (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.] [A drying out of the Sahara during the fourth and third millennium B.C.E. (6 kya to 4 kya) is described by the Sahara Pump Theory, in its most recent cycle.] the "Egyptians" were the first to break from the proto Afroasiatic communities, before ten kya (thousand years ago). These proto Egyptian language speakers headed north. At about the same time, the Chadic branch left, traveling west. About eight kya the speakers of the proto Cushitic languages broke off and journeyed east. During the next millennium or so, the remaining proto Semitic and Berber speakers ("Semito-Libyan") eventually went their divergent ways. The Semites passed by the then marshlands of the lower Nile and crossed into Asia (evidently the Semitic speakers anciently present in Ethiopia remained in Africa or later crossed back). Meanwhile, the peoples who spoke proto Berbero-Libyan spread out westward across North Africa, along the Mediterranean coast and into a Sahara region then better watered, traveling in a centuries-long migration until reaching the Atlantic and its offshore islands. [I. M. Diakonoff, "Afrasian Languages" (Moscow: Nauka Publishers 1988) at 23-24.] [As opposed to Diakonoff, Alexander Militarev links Afroasiatic with the Natufian culture in prehistoric Levant, and thus also locates its homeland there. Cf., Diakonoff (1988) on Militarev at 24-25; and, Gabor Takacs, "Marginal Remarks on the Classification of Ancient Egyptian within Afro-Asiatic and its Position among African Languages" in "Folia Orientalia" 35: 175-196 (1999) at 186, discussing Militarev.] [Cf., Stéphane Gsell, "Histoire ancienne de l'Afrique du Nord" (Paris: Librairie Hachette 1914-1928), e.g., I: 275-308.] [Guanche (said to be extinct), spoken in the Canary Islands is classified as a Berber language. Merritt Ruhlen, "A Guide to the World's Languages" (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 92, 93.] Later, Diakonoff revised his proposed prehistory, moving the Afroasiatic homeland north toward the lower Nile, then a land of lakes and marshes. This change reflects several linguistic analyses showing that common Semitic then shared very little "cultural" lexicon with the common Afroasiatic. [Diakonoff, "J.of Semitic Studies" (1998) at v.43: 209, 210, 212, cites a series of studies by Pelio Fronzaroli, "Studi sul lessico comune semitico" (Rome 1964-1969), which discusses (1) parts of the body, (2) exterior phenomena, (3) religion and mythology, (4) wild nature, and (5) domesticated nature; Diakonoff also cites Vladimir E. Orel and Olga V. Stolbova, "Hamito-Semitic Etymological Dictionary: Materials for Reconstruction" (Leiden: E.J.Brill 1994), which he warns to use with caution; and, Diakonoff's own "Earliest Semites in Asia: Agricultural and Animal Husbandry, According to Linguistic Data (8th-4th Millennia B.C.)" in "Altorientalische Forschunden" (Berlin 1981) 8: 23-74. He states, "Of the hundreds of CS [Common Semitic] cultural terms collected... hardly any prove to be Common Afroasiatic!" "J.of Semitic Studies" (1998) at 43: 213.] Hence the proto Semitic speakers probably left the common Afroasiatic community earlier, by ten kya (thousand years ago), starting from an area nearby a more fruitful Sinai. Accordingly, he situates the related Berbero-Libyan speakers of that era by the coast, to the west of the lower Nile. [I. M. Diankonoff, "The Earliest Semitic Community. Linguistic Data" in "Journal of Semitic Studies" XLIII/2: 209-219 (1998), at 213, 216-219. Diakonoff at 219 mentions the Jericho culture (ten-nine kya) as being Semitic.] [This revision by Diakonoff would seem to imply that the varieties of Semitic languages anciently spoken in Ethiopia arrived back in the Horn of Africa via south Arabia.] [The speculation may be entertained that the Semitic-speakers in crossing Sinai encountered in the Natufian (pre-eleven kya) a more advanced material and spiritual culture, yet that their own Semitic language proved the better able in understanding, communicating, and negotiating the novel social situations arising (if not also during an aftermath of conquest). The ensuing complexity and protracted merger of these two prehistoric human groups eventuated in their speaking common Semitic yet with a lexicon derived from Natufian material and spiritual culture. If such a counter-intuitive syncretism is accepted, Diakonoff's 1988 conjecture might remain viable. The apparent fragility of the various conjectures illustrates the degree of cognitive fog covering these prehistoric landscapes.]

ea traders from the east

The historical era opens with the advent of traders coming by sea from the eastern Mediterranean. Eventually they were followed by a stream of colonists, landing and settling along the coasts of Africa and Iberia, and on the islands of the western seas.

Technological innovations following economic development in the eastern Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, and along the Nile, increased the demand for various metals not found locally in sufficient quantity. Phoenician traders recognized the relative abundance and low cost of the needed metals among the goods offered for trade by local merchants in Hispania, which spurred trade. [Cf., B.H.Warmington, "The Cathaginian period" at 246-247, in "General History of Africa, vol. II" (UNESCO 1990).] In the Phoenician city-state of Tyre, much of this Mediterranean commerce, as well as the corresponding trading settlements located at coastal stops along the way to the west, were directed by the kings, e.g., Hiram of Tyre (969-936). [Yuri B. Tsirkin, "Phoenician and Greek Colonization" at 347-365, 351, in Igor M. Diakonoff, editor, "Early Antiquity" (Univ.of Chicago 1991), translated from "Rannyaya Drevnost" (Moskva: Nauka 1982, 1989).]

By three thousand years ago the Levant and Hellas had enjoyed remarkable prosperity, resulting in population growth in excess of their economic base. On the other hand, political instability from time to time caused disruption of normal business and resulted in short term economic distress. City-states started organizing their youth to migrate in groups to locations where the land was less densely settled. Importantly, the number of colonists coming from Greece was much larger than those coming from Phoenicia. [B.H.Warmington, "The Carthaginian period" at 246-260, 247, in "General History of Africa, vol. II" (UNESCO 1990), Abr. Ed.] To these migrants lands in the western Mediterranean presented an opportunity and could be reached relatively easily by ship, without marching through foreign territory. Colonists sailed westward following in the wake of their commercial traders. The Greeks arrived later, coming to (what is now) southern France, southern Italy including Sicily, and Libya. Earlier the Phoenicians had settled in (what is now) Sardinia, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Sicily, and of course, Tunisia. [Cf., Yuri B. Tsirkin, "Phoenician and Greek Colonization" at 347-365, in Igor M. Diakonoff, editor, "Early Antiquity" (Univ.of Chicago 1991), translated from "Rannyaya Drevnost" (Moskva: Nauka 1982, 1989).]

City-state of Carthage

Founding of the city

The city of Carthage (site of its ruins near present day Tunis) was founded by Phoenicians coming from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Its name KRT HDST pronounced "Kart Hudesht" in their Punic language meant "new city". [cite book|last=Picard|first=Gilbert|coauthors=Colette Picard|year=1968|title=The Life and Death of Carthage|publisher=Taplinger|pages=30. Here "kart" meant "city", "hudesht" "new" (pronounced "Carchedon" in ancient Greek; "Carthago" in ancient Latin).] [The placement of the vowels for KRT HDST being somewhat of a conjecture, Smith would pronounce the city "Kirjath Hadeschath" in his "Carthage and the Carthaginians" (1878, 1902) at 10.] Punic derived from the Phoenician idiom and is a Canaanite language, in the group of Northwest Semitic languages. [Robert Hetzron classifies Punic with Canaanite and Arabic, along with Aramaic, under Central "West Semitic". The South Arabian and the Ethiopic languages are classified South "West Semitic". Akkadian alone makes "East Semitic". Merritt Ruhlen, "A Guide to the World's Languages. Volume 1: Classification" (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 90, 92.] [Cf., cite book|last=Lancel|first=Serge|year=1993; 1995|title="Carthage"|publisher=Librairie Artheme Fayard; Blackwell|pages=351-360]

Timaeus of Taormina, a Greek historian from Sicily circa 300 B.C., gives the foundation date of Carthage as thirty-eight years before the first Olympiad (in 776), which accordingly would be the year 814 B.C. Living in Sicily, Timaeus was proximous to Cathaginians and likely to hear their versions of the city's foundation; his date is generally accepted as approximate. [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 22, noting that the first Greek colony in the west Cumae was founded south of Rome about sixty years later, and Cumae's foundation date is "relatively secure".] [Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 23-25.] [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) at 28-35.] Ancient authors, such as the aforementioned Timaeus, Pliny the Elder, and Strabo, give founding dates several hundred years earlier for other Phoenician cities in the western Mediterranean, such as Gades in Hispania, and Utica near Carthage; recent archeology has been unable to verify these earlier dates, yet objects made in Syria dating to the second millennium have been unearthed at and near Gades. [Lancel, "Carthage. A history" (1992, 1995) at 1-3, 16 (ancient authors, including Velleius Paterculus and the Pseudo-Aristotle); 4 (archeology); 9 (Bible), 20-23 (traditions).] [José María Blazquez, "Fenicios en la Península Ibérica (1100 - final siglo VI a.C.)" in "Historia de España Antigua" (Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra, 2d ed. 1983) ed. by Blazquez, Presedo, Lomas, & Fernandez Nieto, vol. I at 277-297; 279 (gold mask from Gades; cylindrical seal from Río Vélez/Málaga); 281, 287-288 (e.g., Pliny, Diodorus, Strabo); 285-289 (Bible).] [Antonio Arribas, "The Iberians" (New York: Friderick A. Praeger 1964) [Ancient Peoples and Places] , at 47-51 (twelfth century presence of Phoenicians traders in Hispania).] The Biblical fleets of Hiram of Tyre, perhaps joined by ships assigned to Solomon, would date to the tenth century. ["I Kings" 10:22/23.] [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1969) at 16-17, where Tarshish might refer to a cargo, a ship, or a place. Tarshish ships sailed over the Red Sea to "Ophir", as well across the Mediterranean to Tartessus in Hispania.] [Raphael Patai, "The Children of Noah. Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times" (Princeton Univ. 1998) at 12-13, 40, 134. At 133 Patai notes the Jewish need for Phoenician shipwrights and craft in building and managing the ships, citing "I Kings" 22:49, as well as the moral critique in "II Chronicles" 20:35-37.]

Tyre, a major maritime city-state of Phoenicia, first settled Carthage, probably as a permanent station for its very profitable, ongoing trade in minerals with southern Hispania. Such stations were established by Tyre at regular intervals along the African coast. [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1969) at 18, 27.] Carthage would grow to out-rival all other Phoenician settlements.

Legends alive in the city for centuries assigned its foundation in 814 B.C. to a queen of Tyre, Elissa, also called Dido. [Etymologically "Dido" comes from the same [Semitic] root as does "David" which means "beloved". "Elissa" [Greek version; from Phoenician "Elishat"] is the feminine form of the remote Phoenician creator god "El", also a name for the God of the Hebrews. Smith, "Carthage and the Carthaginians" (1878, 1902) at 13.] [Probably "Dido" is an ephithet from the Semitic root "dod", "love". Barton, "Semitic and Hamitic Origins" (1934) at 305.] [But cf., Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 23-24, 35-36.] Dido's great aunt must have been Jezebel, who was also the daughter of a King of Tyre, in this case Ithobaal [the biblical Ethbaal] (r.891-859), and Jezebel became wife to King Ahab of Israel (r.875-853), according to the Hebrew Books of Kings. [E.g., "I Kings" chapters 16, 18, 21, and "II Kings" chapter 9. Some place Jezebel's origin at Sidon, a Phoenician city-state and major rival to Tyre; more likely at that time Tyre and Sidon were united.] [Donald Harden, "The Phoenicians" (New York: Frederick A. Praeger 1962) at 52, 66. Harden at 53 gives a schema of the "Royal Houses of Tyre, Israel, and Judah in the Ninth Century B.C." Jezebel was mother of kings both in Israel and in Judah. Jezebel's daughter Athaliah wed the King of Judah, where Athaliah later became Queen.] [Jezebel, as wife of King Ahab of Israel, orchestrated sinister plots from her position at court. Her daughter Athaliah when Queen of Judah (r.842-836) also involved herself in murderous court intrigue leading to her death. Allen C. Myers, editor, "The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1987) at 580-581 (Jezebel), 28-29 (Ahab), 30-31 (Ahaziah, King of Israel, son of Jezebel and Ahab), 559-560 (Jehoram, King of Israel, son of Jezebel and Ahab); 560 (Jehoram, King of Judah, husband of Athaliah), 103-104 (Athaliah, Queen of Judah, daughter of Jezebel and Ahab), 31 (Ahaziah, King of Judah, son of Jehoram and Athaliah).] [Jezebel might be compared to Bathsheba, whose adulterous affair with King David (r., c.1010-970) led to the covert murder of her soldier husband. Later on, she apparently connived in the execution of Adonijah, a rival to her son Solomon. Cross, "Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic" (Harvard Univ. 1973) at 227 (Uriah), 237 (Adonijah). Yet the Hebrew Bible condemns Jezebel (who killed Hebrew prophets) but not Bathsheba (whose adultery was a youthful affair, and whose latter alleged offense is subject to different interpretions).] [Intrigue and palace revolts were then common to the royal courts of Phoenicia, Judah and Israel. Soren, Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (1990) at 24. Historically, of course, similar criminality by royals is reported in many nations.] Dido's story is told by the Roman historian Pompeius Trogus (first century B.C.), a near contemporary of Virgil. Trogus describes a sinister web of court intrigue in which the new king Pygmalion ["Pygmilion" is a Greek form of a Phoenician name, which was perhap "Pumai-jaton". Stéphane Gsell, "Histoire ancienne de l'Afrique du Nord", volume 1 (Paris: Librairie Hachette 1921) at 391.] (brother of Dido) slays the chief priest Acharbas (husband of Dido), which causes the Queen Elissa (Dido) along with some nobles to flee the city of Tyre westward with a fleet of ships carrying gold. [Justin, "Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus" at XVIII,5.] [David Soren, Aicha Ben Abed Ben Khader, Hedi Slim, "Carthage. Uncovering the Mysteries and Splendors of Ancient Tunisia" (New York: Simon & Schuster 1990) at 23-24 (Dido's escape from Tyre), 17-29 (Dido), 23-25 (Trogus). Trogus appears to be following the events as recorded by the historian Timaeus (c.300) of Sicily, whose works are largely lost. Much of the writings of Trogus himself are lost, but its abbreviated content survives in an ancient summary by Justin, "Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus". Dates for Justin are approximate: the second, third, or fourth century.] At Cyprus, four score temple maidens were taken aboard the ships. [Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962) at 66-67.] [The captured temple women of Cyprus are possibly symbolic or a metaphor, parallel to the rape of the Sabine women in Roman lore, notes Lancel in his "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 34.] Then her fleet continued on, landing in North Africa to found Carthage. Shortly after becoming established, according to Trogus, it is said that Hiarbus a local Mauritani tribal chief sought to marry the newly arrived Queen. [Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 38, reads in Justin's "Epitome" the tribe "Maxitani", per the Punic district "pagus Muxi", instead of interpreting it as a corrupt form of the tribe "Mauri" or the "Mauritani".] Instead, in order to honor her murdered husband the priest, Dido took her own life by the sword, publicly casting herself into a ceremonial fire. Thereafter she was celebrated as a goddess at Carthage. [Justin, "Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus" at XVIII,6.] [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) re Dido at 31, 47, 154.] [The celebration of Dido thereafter demonstrates the Carthaginian's abiding respect for committed dedication to an all-encompassing purpose, even to taking the ultimate step of self-sacrifice. Cf., Soren, Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (1990) at 28.]

The Roman poet Virgil (70-19 B.C.) presents Dido as a tragic heroine in his epic poem the "Aeneid". [Virgil, "Aeneid", as translated by Fitzgerald (New York: Vintage 1990). In the "Aeneid" Virigl attempted, in part, to personify Carthage and Rome, and mythically explain their subsequent antagonism. The story line follows Aeneas as he escapes from his city of Troy after its capture by the Greeks, and eventually (as steered by the gods) lands in Italy where he acts in the foundation of Rome; in his journeys, he lands at Carthage where the Queen Dido and Aeneas become lovers.] The work contains inventions loosely based on the legendary history of Carthage, e.g., referring to the then well-known story how the Phoenician Queen cunningly acquired the citadel of the Byrsa. [The Queen bought as much land as an ox hide would cover, then cut it into very thin, long strips, enough to surround the citadel area. For the Romans this exemplified Berber simplicity and Phoenician sophistry. cite book|last=Lancel|first=Serge|year=1992, 1995|title="Carthage"|pages=23-25] In Virgil's epic, the god Jupiter requires the hero Aeneas to leave Dido, who then commits suicide and burns in a funeral pyre. [Virgil, "Aeneid" (Vintage 1990). The god Jupiter compells the hero Aeneas to leave Dido and travel to his destiny at Rome (at pages 103-105, lines 299-324, 352-402 [IV, {220s-230s, 260s-290s}] ). The Queen Dido then dies by her own hand and is consumed in a sacrificial fire (at 119-120, lines 903-934 [IV, {650s-670s}] ). Later, Aeneas meets Dido in the underworld (at 175-176, lines 606-639 [VI, {450s-470s}] ). The reference to the Dido's purchase of the Byrsa is at 16, lines 501-503 [I, 367-368] .] This episode employs not only the history or legends narrated by Trogus (mentioned above), but perhaps also subsequent mythic and cultic elements, as Dido would become assimilated to the Punic or Berber goddess Tanit. Each autumn a pyre was built outside the old city of Carthage; into it the goddess was thought to throw herself in self-immolation for the sake of the dead vegetation god Adonis-Eshmun. [Tanit, known also for fertility, was a goddess of vegetation similar to the Roman Ceres. George Aaron Barton, "Semitic and Hamitic Origins. Social and Religious" (Univ.of Pennsylvania 1934) at 305-306, where he cites the work of Lewis R. Farnell per Dido of the "Aeneid".] [Virgil's epic has spawned the operas "Dido and Aeneas" by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and "Les Troyens" by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869). Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 23.]

"Nothing of historical value can be derived from the foundation legends transmitted to us in various versions by Greek and Roman authors," comments Warmington. [B.H.Warmington, "The Carthiginian period" at 246-260, 247, in "General History of Africa, volume II, Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990) Abridged Edition.] [Warmington previously noted that the ancient Greeks did not possess sufficient knowledge nor a firm grasp on the information available concerning their contemporaries the Phoenicians, nor of their history; thus they were not trustworthy guides. B.H.Warmington, "Carthage" (Robert Hale 1960; reprinted by Penguin) at 24-25.] Yet from such "legends" we can form some understanding of how the ancient people of Carthage told each other about their city's beginnings, i.e., their self-image, the inferred "cultural context" of the accepted tradition, if not the personality of the characters nor the gist of the events themselves. [Cf., Gwyn Prins, "Oral History" at 114-139, in "New Perspectives on Historical Writing" (Pennsylvania State Univ. 1992). "To show awareness of the pitfalls of invented tradition and hence in the explanations offered, the historian must also reveal what it was like to have been there--a bard in Homeric Greece; a villager in Africa... ." "Ibid." at 137.]

The 6th century Hebrew prophet Ezekiel in a lamentation, which nonetheless sings the praises of the Phoenicians, specifically of the cities of Tyre and Sidon. ["Ezekiel," chapters 27 and 28. His praise is followed by a warning from his God for the cities to repent.] [Gilbert Charles Picard and Colette Picard, "Vie et mort de Carthage" (Paris: Hachette 1968), translated as "The Life and Death of Carthage" (New York: Taplinger 1969), at 15-16 (Ezekiel).] "Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of many peoples on many coastlands... . ... Tarshish traficked with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares." ["Ezekiel," 27: 3, 12.] [With regard to the Jewish people and the city of Carthage, Jewish settlement there and in the region now called Tunisia may have begun as early as the sixth century, after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E. André N. Chouraqui, "Between East and West. A History of the Jews of North Africa" (Paris 1952, 1965; Philadelphia 1968; reprint Atheneum 1973) at 8.]

Modern consensus locates this ancient, mineral-rich region (called Tarshish [TRSYS] by Ezekiel) in the south of Hispania, [Picard and Picard, "The Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969), at 16-17 (location of Tarshish).] [Raphael Patai, "The Children of Noah. Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times" (Princeton Univ. 1998) at xviii, 40, 133-134.] possibly linked to Tartessos, a native city of the Iberians. [Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 64, 160.] Here mining was already underway, and early on the Phoenicians founded the city of Gadir ["GDR" "strong wall"] (Latin "Gades") (currently Cádiz). [Richard J. Harrison, "Spain at the Dawn of History. Iberians, Phoenicians, and Greeks" (London: Thames and Hudson 1988) at 41-50 (Phoenician colonies); 80-92 (Carthage); 41, 81-83 (Gadir).] [Cf., Antonio Arribas, "The Iberians" (New York: Friderick A. Praeger 1964) [Ancient Peoples and Places] , 47-51 (Tartessos and Gadir); cf. at 190-193 (ancient authors).] Bronze then was a highly useful and popular material, made from copper and tin. Tin being scarce though in high demand, its supply became very profitable. [Picard, "The Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) at 17.] Originally Carthage was probably a stop on the way between Tyre and the region of Gadir, a stop where sailors might beach their boats and resupply with food and water, as described during that era by Homer. [Homer (before 700 B.C.) in the "Odyssey" at XV, 249-250, translated by E.V.Rieu (Penguin 1946) at 240, makes a reference to a notorious ship of Phoenician traders stopping at a sheltered beach to resupply.] [For Homer's epic compared to literature of the east, including the Sumerian tale of "Gilgamesh" (third millennium), see Cyrus H. Gordon, "Before the Bible" chapter VII (1962), reprinted as "The Epics Drawn from a Common Eastern Mediterranean Tradition" at 93-102, in "Homer's History" (1970) ed. by C.G.Thomas.] Eventually huts would be built; later more permanent settlements constructed and eventually fortified, perhaps a shrine built. All would change and transform on the day when a Queen of Tyre arrived with a fleet of ships carrying many colonists and royal treasure. [Picard and Picard, "The Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969), at 24-26 (Homer), 23-28, 34-35 (primitive sites similar to earliest Carthage).]

overeignty, Greek rivalry

By the middle of the sixth century B.C., Carthage had grown into a fully independent thalassocracy. Under Mago (r., c.550-530) and later his Magonid family, Carthage became preeminent among the Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean, which included nearby Utica.

Trading partnerships were established among the Numidian Berbers to the west along the African coast as well as to the east in Libya; other stations were located in southern Sardinia and western Sicily, Ibiza in the Balearics, Lixus south of the straits, and Gades north of the straits, with additional trading stations in the south and east of Iberia. Also, Carthage enjoyed an able ally in the Etruscans, who then ruled a powerful state to the north of the infant city of Rome. [cite book|last=Lancel|first=|year=1968|title=Carthage. A history|pages=20-25, 79-86] [Gilbert Picard and Colette Picard, "Vie et mort de Carthage" (1968) translated as "Life and Death of Carthage" (New York: Taplinger 1969) at 59-72; Glenn Markoe, "The Phoenicians" (Univ. of California 2000) at 54-56.]

A merchant sailor of Carthage, Himilco, explored in the Atlantic to the north of the straits, along the coast of the Lusitanians and perhaps as far as Oestrymnis (modern Brittany), circa 500 B.C. Carthage would soon supplant the Iberian city of Tartessus in carrying the tin trade from Oestrymnis. Another, Hanno the Navigator explored the Atlantic to the south, along the African coast well past the River Gambia. The traders of Carthage were known to be secretive about business and particularly about trade routes; it was their practice to keep the straits to the Atlantic closed to the Greeks. [Cary and Warmington, "The Ancient Explorers" (London: Methuen 1929; revised, Baltimore: Pelican 1963) at 45-47 (Himilco), at 63-68 (Hanno), at 47 (straits closed). The Phoenicians themselves had followed the Minoans in the ancient sea trade, "Ibid.", at 23-29.]

In the 530s there had been a three sided naval struggle between the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Etrusco-Punic allies; the Greeks lost Corsica to the Etruscans and Sardinia to Carthage. Then the Etruscans attacked Greek colonies in the Campania south of Rome, but unsuccessfully. As an eventual result, Rome threw off their Etruscan kings of the Tarquin dynasty. The Roman Republic and Carthage in 509 entered into a treaty which set out to define their commercial zones. [Picard, "The Life and Death of Carthage" at 72-78.] [Text of treaty in Gras, Rouillar, & Teixidor, "L'Univers phénicien" (París: Les Éditions Arthaud 1989) at VII, "documents".]

The energetic presence of the Greeks, [Ancient Greek sailors were familiar with the Mediterranean early on. In the epic of Homer (before 700 B.C.) "The Odyssey" IX, (Penguin 1946) at 141-142, appears the tale of the "lotus eaters" whose location has been reckoned the island of Jerba, off the southeast coast of modern Tunisia.] [The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (480s-425) also mentions the lotus eaters, in his "Histories" IV, 175, 181, (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 330, 332.] [Regarding Homer and Herodotus per the island of Jerba: John Anthony (aka John Sabini), "Tunisia. A personal view of a timeless land" (New York: Scribners 1961) at 192-194.] traders by sea and their emporia in the Mediterranean region, led to disputes over commercial spheres of influence, especially in Sicily. This Greek threat, plus the foreign conquest of Phoenicia in the Levant, had caused many Phoenician colonies to come under the leadership of Carthage. In 480 B.C. (concurrent with Persia's invasion of Greece), Mago's grandson Hamilcar landed a large army in Sicily in order to confront Syracuse (a colony of Corinth) on the island's eastern coast, but the Greeks prevailed at the Battle of Himera. A long struggle ensued with intermittent warfare between Syracuse led by e.g., the tyrant Dionysius I (r.405-367), and Carthage led by e.g., Hanno I the Great. Later, near Syracuse Punic armies defeated the Greek leader Agathocles (r.317-289) in battle, who then attempted a bold strategic end-run by leaving Sicily and landing his forces at Cape Bon near Carthage, frightening the city. Yet Carthage again defeated Agathocles (310-307). Greece, preoccupied with its conquest of the Persian Empire in the east, eventually became supplanted in the western Mediterranean by Rome, the new rival of Carthage. [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" at 78-80, 166-171; Lancel, "Carthage" at 90, 115; Picard, "Life and death of Carthage" at 131-134.]

All this while Carthage enlarged its commercial sphere, venturing south to develop the Saharan trade, augmenting its markets along the African coast, in southern Iberia, and among the Mediterranean islands, and exploring in the far Atlantic. Carthage also established its authority directly among the Numidian Berber peoples in the lands immediately surrounding the city, which grew ever more prosperous. [Jamil M. Abun-Naysr, "A History of the Maghrib" (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 17-20; Serge Lancel, "Carthage. A history" (Blackwell 1992, 1995) at 88-102; E. W. Bovill, "The Golden Trade of the Moors" (Oxford 1958, 1968) at 18-28.]

Punic religion

The Phoenicians of Tyre brought their inherited customs and habitual understandings with them to North Africa. The religious practices and beliefs of Phoenicia were generally similar to their neighbors in Canaan, which in turn shared characteristics common throughout the ancient Semitic world. [Sabatino Moscati, "Ancient Semitic Civilizations" (London 1957), e.g., at 40 & 113.] [W. Robertson Smith, "Lectures on the Religion of the Semites" (London, 3rd ed. 1927).] [Cf. Julian Baldick, who posits an even greater and more ancient sweep of a common religious culture in his "Black God. Afroasiatic roots of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions" (London: Tauris 1998).] Unfortunately, however, few Phoenician religious writings survive. [Donald Harden, "The Phoenicians" (New York: Frederick A. Praeger 1962) at 83-84.] While there remain favorable aspects of Canaanite religion, [S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "Canaanite Religion" at 173.] [Dmitri Baramki, "Phoenicia and the Phoenicians" (Beirut: Khayats 1961) at 55-58.] [Glenn E. Markoe, "Phoenicians" (Univ.of California 2000) at 115-142.] several of its practices have been widely criticized, particularly temple prostitution, [S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "Sacred Prostitution" at 512-513.] and child sacrifice. [ref>S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "Molech" at 448.] The tradition of temple prostitution became forbidden in Hebrew religion, e.g., by the reforms instituted under King Josiah. ["II Kings" 23:7. Cf., "Deuteronomy" 23:17.] In the foundation story of Abraham and Isaac (Ishmael in Islam), it is shown that the ancient practice of child sacrifice was not required by the Hebrew Diety. ["Genesis" 22:1-19. Cf., "Leviticus" 18:21, 20:2-5.]

Canaanite religious mythology does not appear as elaborated or as developed when compared with the existant literature of its cousin Semites in Mesopotamia. In Canaan the supreme god was called "El", which means "god" in common Semitic. [Cf., S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "El" at 258.] [Frank Moore Cross, "Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic" (Harvard Univ. 1973) at 11-75, 177-186.] The celebrated storm god was called "Baal", which means "master". [Cf., S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "Baal" at 124.] Other gods were called after human titles, e.g., royalty, as in "Melqart" meaning "king of the city", [Moscati, "Ancient Semitic Civilizations" at 113-114.] or as in "Adonis" for "lord". [S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "Adonis" at 29-30.] On the other hand the Phoenicians, notorious for being secretive in business, might use these non-descript words as cover for the secluded name of the god, known only to a select few initiated into the inmost circle of adherents, or not even used by them, much as their neighbors the ancient Hebrews used the word "Adonai" (Heb: "Lord") to place a cover over the name of their God. [S.G.F.Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" (Scribners 1970), "YHVH" at 655.]

The Semitic pantheon was well-populated; which god would become primary depended on the particular city-state or tribal locale. [In Phoenicia and Canaan: the rejuvenating "Melqart" was the chief god of Tyre, "Eshmun" the god of healing at Sidon, "Dagon" (his son was Baal) at Ashdod, "Terah" the moon god of the Zebulun. In Mesopotamia: the moon god at Ur was called "Sin" (Sum: "Nanna"), the sun god Shamash at Larsa, the fertility goddess of Uruk being "Ishtar", and the great god of Babylon being "Marduk". Brandon (ed.), "Dictionary of Comparative Religion" re "Canaanite Religion" at 173, and "Phoenician Religion" at 501.] [Richard Carlyon, "A Guide to the Gods" (New York 1981) at 311, 315, 320, 324, 326, 329, 332, 333.] Due to the leading role of the city-state of Tyre, its reigning god "Melqart" was prominent throughout Phoenicia and overseas. Also of great general interest was "Astarte" (Heb: "Ashtoreth"), (Bab: "Ishtar"), a fertility goddess who also enjoyed regal and matronly aspects. [Harden, "The Phoenicians" (New York: Praeger 1962) at 85-86, 87-88.] Religious institutions of great antiquity in Tyre called "marzeh" ("MRZH", "place of reunion") would hold banquets for their members on festival days; these "marzeh" were elite social groupings that originated in ritual meals, held to honor deified ancestors. [Glenn E. Markoe, "Phoenicians" (Univ.of California 2000) at 120.]

Religion in Carthage was based on the inherited Phoenician ways of devotion. Embassies from Carthage would regularly appear in Tyre to worship and make offerings to its chief god "Melqart". [Serge Lance, "Carthage" (Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard 1992), translated as "Carthage. A History" (Oxford: Blackwell 1995) at 193.] Yet after being transplanted to North Africa far from its geographic home, and after long-term co-existence with Berber tribal cults and growing familiarity with the Berber pantheon, the original Phoenician religion began to evolve distinctly over time, to become the Punic religion at Carthage. [Gilbert Charles Picard and Colette Picard, "Vie et mort de Carthage" (Paris: Hatchette 1968) translated as "The Life and Death of Carthage" (New York: Taplinger 1968) at 45.] The city's legendary foundress, Elissa or Dido, was the widow of Acharbas the high priest of Tyre in service to the god "Melqart". [Markoe, "Phoenicians" (Univ.of California 2000) at 129-130.] With her she brought implements for the worship of "Melqart", his priests, and sacred prostitutes of "Astarte". Eventually "Melqart" and his companion "Astarte" were replaced at Carthage by the god "Baal Hammon" (meaning "lord of the altars of incense" which epithet may cloak the god's real name), [B.H.Warmington, "Carthage" (London: Robert Hale 1960; reprint Penguin 1964) at 155-156, 157.] [The name "Baal Hammon" (BL HMN) has attracted scholarly interest, being associated with heat, with the Egyptian god Ammon (both sun gods, the Egyptian known to have spread by trade routes near the site of Carthage before the arrival of Phoenicians, yet nonetheless held to be not likely), with HM-N "protector", with a small chapel, with being a god of regeneration and fecundation; also, becoming known modernly per child sacrifice thanks to the French novelist Gustave Flaubert in his "Salammbô". Lance, "Carthage" (Paris 1992), translated as "Carthage. A History" (1995) at 194-199.] and by the goddess "Tanit", with "Tanit" later during the fifth century becoming the queen goddess, supreme over the city. "Tanit" may be of a Berbero-Libyan origin. [B.H.Warmington, "Carthage" (London: Robert Hale 1960; reprint Penguin 1964) at 156, 157.] [But contra is Markoe, who believes that "Tanit" originated in Phoenicia being closely linked to "Astarte". Markoe also believes "Baal Hammon" to be like "Dagon" a god related to agriculture. Markoe, "Phoenicians" (2000) at 130 ("Ball Hammon"), and at 118, 130 ("Tanit").] [Lancel mentions the problematic theory that as Carthage passed from monarchy to oligarchy, it turned away from dieties associated with Tyre, replacing them with "Tanit". Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 202-203.]

"When the Romans conquered Africa, Carthaginian religion was deeply entrenched even in Libyan areas." [B.H.Warmington, "Carthage" (London: Robert Hale 1960; reprint Penguin 1964) at 156.]

Constitution of state

The government of Carthage was undoubtedly patterned after the Phoenician, especially the mother city of Tyre, but Phoenician cities had kings and Carthage apparently did not. [This discussion first follows Warmington in essence, then turns to Picard's substantially different results.] An important office was called in Punic the "Suffets" (a Semitic word agnate with the Old Hebrew "Shophet" usually translated as Judges as in the Book of Judges). Yet the Suffet at Carthage was more the executive leader, but as well served in a judicial role. Birth and wealth were the initial qualifications. [A circa 2nd century B.C. bilingual inscription from Thugga (modern Dougga, Tunisia), describes Berber political office holders and indicates some influence by Carthage on Berber state institutions. Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" (1996) at 39.] It appears that the Suffet was elected by the citizens, and held office for a one year term; probably there were two of them at a time; hence quite comparable to the Roman Consulship. A crucial difference was that the Suffet had no military power. Carthaginian generals marshalled mercenary armies and were separately elected. From about 550 to 450 the Magonid family monopolized the top military position; later the Barcid family acted similarly. Eventually it came to be that, after a war, the commanding general had to testify justifying his actions before a court of 104 judges. [cite book|last=Warmington|first=B. H.|year=1960, 1964|title=Carthage|publisher=Robert Hale, Pelican|pages=144-147]

Aristotle (384-322, Greek) discusses Carthage in his "Politica" describing the city as a "mixed constitution", a political arrangement with cohabiting elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. [Aristotle, "Politica" in "The Basic Works of Aristotle" edited by R. McKeon, translated by B. Jowett (Random House 1941) at 1113-1316, "Carthage" at Book II, Chapter 11, at pages 1171-1174 (1272b-1274b).] Later Polybius of Megalopolis (c.204-122, Greek) in his "Histories" would describe the Roman Republic as a mixed constitution in which the Consuls were the monarchy, the Senate the aristocracy, and the Assemblies the democracy. [Polybius, "Histories" translated as "Rise of the Roman Empire" (Penguin 19xy) at Chapter VI.]

Evidently Carthage also had an institution of elders who advised the Suffets, similar to the Roman Senate. We do not have a name for this body. At times members would travel with an army general on campaign. Members also formed permanent committees. The institution had several hundred members from the wealthiest class who held office for life. Vacancies were probably filled by co-option. From among its members were selected the 104 Judges mentioned above. Later the 104 would come to judge not only army generals but other office holders as well. Aristotle regarded the 104 as most important; he compared it to the ephorate of Sparta with regard to control over security. In Hannibal's time, such a Judge held office for life. At some stage there also came to be independent self-perpetuating boards of five who filled vacancies and supervised (non-military) government administration. [Warmington, "Carthage" at 147-148.]

Popular assemblies also existed at Carthage. When deadlocked the Suffets and the quasi-senatorial institution of elders might request the assembly to vote, or in very crucial matters in order to achieve political coherence. The assembly members had no "legal" wealth or birth qualification. How its members were selected is unknown, e.g., whether by festival group or urban ward or another method. [Warmington, "Carthage" at 148.]

The Greeks were favorably impressed by the constitution of Carthage; Aristotle had a study of it made which unfortunately is lost. In the brief approving review of it found in his "Politica" Aristotle saw one fault: that focus on pursuit of wealth led to oligarchy. [Aristotle, "Politica" at II, 11, pages 1171-1174 (1272b/23-1273b/26).] So it was in Carthage. The people were politically passive; popular rights came late. Being a commercial republic fielding a mercenary army, the people were not conscripted for military service, an experience which can foster the feel for popular political action. On the other hand, Carthage was very stable; there were few openings for tyrants. "The superiority of their constitution is proved by the fact that the common people remain loyal," noted Aristotle. [Aristotle, "Politica" at II, 11, at page 1171 (1272b/29-32).] Only after defeat by Rome devastated Carthage's imperial ambitions did the people express interest in reform. [Warmington, "Carthage" at 143-144, 148-150]

In 196, following the Second Punic War, Hannibal Barca, still greatly admired as a Barcid military leader, was elected Suffet. When his reforms were blocked by a financial official about to become a Judge for life, Hannibal rallied the populace against the 104 Judges. He proposed a one year term for the 104, as part of a major civic overhaul. His political opponents cravenly went to Rome and charged Hannibal with conspiracy, with plotting war against Rome in league with Antiochus the Hellenic ruler of Syria. Although Scipio Africanus resisted such maneuver, eventually Roman intervention forced Hannibal to leave Carthage. Thus corrupt officials of Carthage efficiently blocked Hannibal Barca's efforts at reform. [Warmington, "Carthage" at 240-241] .

The above description of the constitution basically follows Warmington. Largely it is taken from descriptions by Greek foreigners who likely would see in Carthage reflections of their own institutions. How strong was the Hellenizing influence within Carthage? The basic difficulty is the lack of adequate writings due to the secretive nature of the Punic state as well as to the utter destruction of the capitol city and its records. Another view of the constitution of Carthage is given by Picard as follows.

Mago (6th century) was "King" of Carthage, Punic "MLK" or "malik" (Greek "basileus"), not merely a "SFT" or "Suffet", which then was only a minor official. Mago as "MLK" was head of state and war leader; being "MLK" was also a religious office. His family was considered to possess a sacred quality. Mago's office was somewhat similar to that of Pharaoh, but although kept in a family it was not hereditary, it was limited by legal consent; however, the council of elders and the popular assembly are late institutions. Carthage was founded by the "King" of Tyre who had a royal monopoly on this trading venture. Accordingly royal authority was the traditional source of power the "MLK" of Carthage possessed. Later, as other Phoenician ship companies entered the trading region, and so associated with the city-state, the "MLK" of Carthage had to keep order among a rich variety of powerful merchants in their negotiations over risky commerce across the seas. The office of "MLK" began to be transformed, yet it was not until the aristocrats of Carthage became landowners that a council of elders was institutionalized. [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" at 80-86]

ociety and economy

Most ancient literature concerning Carthage comes from Greek and Roman sources. Considering the rival political-economies of Hellenic Sicily versus Carthage, and of Republican Rome versus Carthage, both Greek and Roman authors generally viewed Carthage as the antagonist. Yet only in this light can we perceive many of the fascets of the Punic city, that is, by the early light given us by various ancient Greek and Roman authors. [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) at 40-41 (Greeks), .] [Cf., Warmington, "Carthage" (1960) at 24-25 (Greeks), 259-260 (Romans).]

Apart from inscriptions, hardly any Punic literature has survived, none in its own language and script. [B.H.Warmington, "The Carthiginian Period" at 246-260, 246 ("No Carthaginian literature has survived."), in "General History of Africa, volume III. Ancient Civilizations of Africa" (UNESCO 1990) Abridged Edition.] A brief catalogue would include: three short treaties with Rome (Latin translations); [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) at 72-73: translation of complete Romano-Punic Treaty of 509 B.C.] several pages of Hanno's log-book on his fifth/forth century maritime exploration of the Atlantic coast of Africa (Greek translation); [Hanno's log translated in full by Warmington, "Carthage" (1960) at 74-76.] fragments quoted from Mago's fourth/third century treatise on agriculture (Latin translations); [E.g., by Varro (116-27) in his "de Re Rustica", and by Columella in his "On trees" and "On agriculture". See below, paragraph on Mago's work.] the Roman playwright Plautus (d.184 B.C.) in his "Poenulus" incorporated a few speeches in Punic, which are transcribed into Latin letters;<> and the many inscriptions in Punic script, many, but extremely short usually, e.g., a dedication with divine or personal names. [Smith, "Carthage and the Carthaginians" (1878, 1902) at 12; his catalogue has not been appreciably augmented since, i.e., inscriptions.] Once "the City Archives, the Annals, and the scribal lists of "suffets" existed, but evidently these were destroyed in the terrible fires during the Roman capture of the city in 146 B.C. [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) at 30.] Punic books (Latin: "libri punici") reportedly did survive the fires; these were given by Roman authorities to the newly augmented Berber rulers. [Pliny the Elder (23-79), "Naturalis Historia" at XVIII, 22-23.] [Serge Lancel, "Carthage" (Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard 1992; Oxford: Blackwell 1995) at 358-360. Lancel here remarks that among Romans there was a reaction against the late Cato the Elder (234-149) the Roman censor who had notoriously lobbied for the destruction of Carthage, "Ibid." at 410.] Over a century after the fall of Carthage, Gaius Sallustius Crispus or Sallust (86-34) reported seeing volumes written in Punic, which once had been in the possession of a Berber king, Hiempsal II (r.88-81). By way of informants and translators, Sallust used these books to write his brief sketch of Berber affairs. [Sallust, "Bellum Iugurthinum" (c.42) at ¶17, translated as "The Jugurthine War" (Penguin 1963) at 54.] [Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 359, raises questions concerning the the provenance of these books.] [R.Bosworth Smith, "Carthage and the Carthaginians" (London: Longmans, Green 1878, 1908) at 38, laments that Sallust declined to address the history of the city of Carthage itself.] Yet in the end most Punic writings that survived the destruction of Carthage "did not escape the immense wreckage in which so many of Antiquity's literary works perished." [Serge Lancel, "Carthage. A History" (Paris 1992; Oxford 1995) at 358-360.] Accordingly, the long and continuous interactions between the Punic citizens of Carthage and the Berber peoples surrounding the city, their political arrangements, economic ties, cultural exchanges, and family relations, are not known to us from Punic accounts. [See section herein on "Berbers and Carthage".]

Regarding "Phoenician" writings, few remain and these seldom refer to Carthage. Reportedly a "Phoenician History" by Philo of Byblos (64-141) existed, but only fragments of this work survive. [Soren, Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (1990) at 128-129.] [The ancient Romanized Jewish author Flavius Josephus (37-100s) also mentions a lost Phoenician historical work; he quotes from a "Phoenician History" of one "Dius". Josephus, "Against Apion" (c.100) at I:17, in "The Works of Josephus" translated by Whiston (London 1736; reprinted Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson 1987) at 773-814, 780.] The highly valued works of Sanchuniathon, a Phoenician who wrote on religion and the origins of civilization, are themselves completely lost, but some little content endures twice removed. [Markoe, "Phoenicians" (2000) at 119. Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339), the Church Historian, quotes the Greek of Philo of Byblos whose source was Sanchuniathon, who wrote in Phoenician. Some doubt the existence of Sanchuniathon.] [Cf., Attridge & Oden, "Philo of Byblos" (1981); Baumgarten, "Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos" (1981). Cited by Markoe (2000).] An explanation proffered for why so few Phoenician works endured: early on (eleventh century), archives and records began to be kept on papyrus, which does not long survive in a moist coastal climate. [Glenn E. Markoe, "Phoenicians" (Univ.of California 2002) at 11, 27-28. Of course, this well might also apply to Carthage, too.] Also, both Phoenicians and Carthaginians were well known for their secrecy. [Strabo (c.63 B.C.-A.D. 20s), "Geographia" at III, 5.11.]

A widely admired work on agriculture by Mago (c.300) was, following the fall of Carthage, translated into Latin by Decimus Silanus (a Roman expert in the Punic language), and later into Greek; yet the original and both translations are lost. Mago's text, however, is quoted by Varro (116-27), a Roman polymath, in his "de Re Rustica", and by Columella (first century A.D.), a Roman writer on agriculture, and is praised by Pliny the Elder (23-79), a Roman encyclopedist. [Serge Lancel, "Carthage. A History" (Paris: Arthème Fayard 1992; Oxford: Blackwell 1995) at 273-274 (Mago quoted in Columella), 278-279 (Mago prior to Cato), 358 (translations).] [Pliny the Elder praises Mago's agricultural works in his "Naturalis Historia" XVIII,5.] Olive trees (e.g., grafting), fruit trees (pomegranate, almond, fig), viniculture, cattle, implements, and farm management were ancient topics Mago discussed. Many amphorae subsequently found around the Mediterranean testify to Carthaginian trade in their olive oil and wine. [Plato (c.427-c.347) in his "Laws" at 674, a-b, mentions regulations of Carthage pertaining to the consumption of wine.] Under Roman rule grain production (corn and barley) for export increased dramatically, which then fell with the rise in Egypt's export of grains. In general, Carthage's agricultural production rivaled that of Rome. Visitors to the region spoke very well of the lush green gardens, orchards, fields, irrigation channels, and the hedgerows for boundaries, as well as the many prosperous farming towns that punctuated the landscape. [Serge Lancel, "Carthage" (Paris: Arthème Fayard 1992) translated by Antonia Nevill (Oxford: Blackwell 1997) at 269-279: 274-277 (produce), 275-276 (amphora), 269-270 & 405 (Rome), 269-270 (yields), 270 & 277 (lands), 271-272 (towns).]

The urban landscape of the city itself is known from ancient authors, augmented in modern times from archeological digs and surveys. [What follows is a description most appropriate to the city of Carthage, circe 150 B.C. (just before the Third Punic War in which the city was destroyed), with some mention of the city's earlier stages.] The two inner harbors [called in Punic "cothon"] were located in the southeast; their function is not entirely clear, probably for the construction, outfitting, or repair of ships, perhaps also loading and unloading of cargo. [These harbors, often mentioned by ancient authors, remain a problem to archeologists because of the limited, fragmented evidence found. Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 172-192.] [Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 32, 130-131.] [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 138.] Larger anchorages existed to the north and south of the city. [Sebkrit er Riana to the north, and El Bahira (the Lake of Tunis) to the south. Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 31-32. Ships then could also be beached on the sand.] West of the "cothon" were located several industrial areas, e.g., metalworking and pottery (for amphora), which could serve both inner harbors, and ships anchored to the south of the city. The Byrsa, the citadel to the north, remains largely unknown, although it was the reported site of the Temple of Eshmun, at the top of a stairway of sixty steps. [The Byrsa was destroyed during the Third Punic War. Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 148-152; 151, 426 (Temple of Eshmun).] [On the Byrsa some evidience remains of quality residential construction of the second century B.C. Soren, Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (1990) at 117.] South of the Byrsa, near the inner harbors, was the "tophet", a special and very old cemetery, which when begun lay outside the city boundaries. [Regarding the "tophet", see the section on "Punic religion" herein.] Just north of these inner harbors, southeast of the Byrsa, lay the "agora", i.e., the central marketplace for business and commerce, an area of public squares and plazas, where public assembly and gatherings were held, the site of temples, and the location of the major municipal buildings. Here beat the heart of civil life. In this area of Carthage, the ruling suffets presided, the elder council convened, and justice was dispensed in the open air. [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 141.]

Wrapping around the Byrsa from the south to the north east, the early residential districts were nestled. Houses usually were whitewashed and blank to the street but within were courtyards open to the sky. [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 142.] In these neighborhoods multistory construction later became common, some up to six stories tall according to an ancient author. [Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.160s), "Pomaika" known as the "Roman History", at VII ("Libyca"), 128.] [Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 133 & 229n17 (Appian cited).] Several architecutural floorplans of homes have been revealed as the result of recent excavations, as well as the general layout of several city blocks. Stone stairs were set in the streets, and drainage was planned, e.g., in the form of soakways leaching into the sandy soil. [Lancel, "Carthage" (1992, 1995) at 152-172, e.g., 163-165 (floorplans), 167-171 (neighborhood diagrams).] The elevation of the land to the east, at the promontory on the seashore, at 100 meters, was higher than the Byrsa which rises to about 50 meters. In between a ridge of land runs that several times reaches 50 meters; this ridge continues northward along the seashore, being the edge of a plateau, which occupies much of northern Carthage. Along its southern slope were located not only fine old homes, but also many of the earliest gravesites, interspersed. [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 139.] Newer urban developments lay in the northern districts. [This was especially so, later in the Roman era. E.g., Soren, Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (1990) at 187-210.] Surrounding Carthage were walls "of great strength" said in places to rise above forty feet, being nearly thirty feet thick; the walls altogether ran about thirty-three kilometers to encircle the city. [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 138-140, map at 139; at 273n.3, he cites the ancient authors Appian, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Polybius.] [Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963), text at 34, maps at 31 and 34. According to Harden, the outer walls ran several kilometers to the west of that indicated on the map here.] The heights of the Byrsa were fortified; this area being the last to succumb to the Romans in 146 B.C. [The Romans landed their army on the strip of land extending southward from the city. Picard and Picard, "The Life and Death of Carthage" (1968, 1969) at 395-396.] [For discussion of the ancient city, see generally: Serge Lancel, "Carthage" (Paris: Artheme Fayard 1992; Oxford: Blackwell 1995) at 134-192.]

Maritime trade was the lifeblood of the city. The Carthaginians, of course, drew upon the experience, commodities, and lore of the Phoenicians regarding the affairs of commerce. Phoenicians excelled as traders, rather than as producers. Yet they crafted quality textiles, and developed a purple dye from marine life [the "murex" shellfish] , which became famous for its regal color and endurance (fade resistance) throughout the ancient Mediterranean. [Sabatino Moscati, (1965) [translated from Italian as] "The World of the Phoenicians" (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson 1968; reprint: London 1973) at 113-114.] Jewelry, glass, and ceramics were also fabricated and entered commerce. [Baramki, "Phoenicia and the Phoenicians" (Bierut: Khayats 1961) at 62-64, 64-67 (jewelry), 69-75 (glass), 63, 75-77 (ceramics).] Phoenician merchant ventures were often run as a family enterprise, using its members and its clients. Family firms might own the ships, providing the captain and crew, procure from local producers the commodities to carry and trade, and send their agents to distant outposts in order to make local contacts, eventually managing a warehouse of shipped goods and conducting the negotiations for sale. Over generations, such activity might result in the establishment of a wide-ranging network of trading operations, and reciprocity between different family firms. [Richard J. Harrison, "Spain at the Dawn of History" (London: Thames and Hudson 1988), "Phoenician colonies in Spain" at 41-50, 42.] [Cf., Harden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 158, " [T] he Phoenicians travelled westward not as true colonists but as traders."]

State protection was extended to its sea traders by Tyre and likewise to its traders by Carthage. [E.g., during the reign of Hiram (tenth century) of Tyre. Sabatino Moscati, "Il Mondo dei Fenici" (1966), translated as "The World of the Phoenicians" (1968, 1973) at 31-34.] Stéphane Gsell, the well-known historian of ancient North Africa, summarized the major principles guiding the city-state of Carthage with regard to its policies for trade and commerce: (1) to open and maintain markets for its merchants, whether by entering into direct contact with foreign peoples using either treaty negotiations or force, or by providing security for isolated trading stations; (2) reservation of markets exclusively for the merchants of Carthage, or where competition could not be eliminated, to regulate it by agreements; (3) suppression of piracy and Carthage's ability to freely navigate the seas. [Stéphane Gsell, "Histoire ancienne de l'Afrique du Nord" (Paris: Librairie Hachette 1924) at volume IV: 113.] Both the Phoenicians and Cathaginians were well known in antiquity for their secrecy in general, and especially pertaining to commercial contacts and trade routes. [Strabo (c.63 B.C.-A.D. 20s), "Geographia" at III, 5.11.] [Walter W. Hyde, "Ancient Greek Mariners" (Oxford Univ. 1947) at 45-46.] [Warmington, "Carthage" (1960, 1964) at 81 (secretive), 87 (monopolizing).]

[They were early known for exporting cedar lumber to Egypt. [xHarden, "The Phoenicians" (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 141-142.x] The most ancient ships to cross from Phoenicia to Egypt were probably powered by oars alone; latter sails were added. [Harden, The Phoenicians" (1962, 1963) at 169.] ] [Serge Lancel, "Carthage" (1992; 1995) at 121-125, 123. For ships without sails, Lancel cites Assyrian bas-reliefs at Ninevah of Phoenician shipping (illustrated at 122).] {WORK IN PROCESS}

Punic Wars with Rome

The emergence of the Roman Republic and its developing foreign interests led to sustained rivalry with Carthage for dominion of the western Mediterranean. As early as 509 B.C. Carthage and Rome had entered into treaty status, but eventually their opposing positions led to disagreement, alienation, and conflict.

The First Punic War (264-241) started in Sicily. It developed into a naval war in which the Romans learned how to fight at sea and prevailed. Carthage lost Sardinia and its western portion of Sicily. Following their defeat, the Mercenary revolt threatened the social order of Carthage, which they survived under their opposing leaders Hanno II the Great, and Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal. [Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" at 182-202.]

The Second Punic War (218-201) started over a dispute concerning Saguntum (near modern Valencia) in Hispania. It was from there that Hannibal Barca set out, leading his armies over the Alps into Italy. At first Hannibal ("grace of Baal") won great military victories against Rome, at Trasimeno (217), and at Cannae (216), which came close to destroying Rome's ability to wage war. Yet the majority of Rome's Italian allies remained loyal; Rome drew on all her resources and managed to rebuild her military strength. For many years Hannibal remained on campaign in southern Italy. An attempt in 207 by his brother Hasdrubal to reinforce him failed. Meanwhile, Roman armies were contesting Carthage for the control of Hispania, in 211 the domain of armies under Hannibal's three brothers (Hasdrubal, Mago, Hanno), and Hasdrubal Gisco; by 206 the Roman general Cornelius Scipio (later Africanus) had defeated Punic power there. In 204 Rome landed armies at Utica near Carthage, which forced Hannibal's return. One Numidian king, Syphax, supported Carthage. Another, Masinissa, Rome. At the Battle of Zama in 202 the same Roman general Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal Barca, ending the long war. Carthage lost its trading cities in Hispania and elsewhere in the Western Mediterranean, and much of its influence over the Numidian Kingdoms in North Africa. Carthage became reduced to its immediate surroundings. Also it was required to pay a large indemnity to Rome. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" at 25-28; Lancel, "Carthage" at 376-401; Picard, "Life and Death of Carthage" at 230-267; Theodor Mommsen, "Romische Geschichte" (3 volumes, Leipzig 1854-1856) translated by Wm. Dickson as "History of Rome" (4 volumes 1862, 4th ed. 1894); H. H. Scullard, "History of the Roman World, 753-146 BC" (rev.ed. 1951). Cf. the ancient Roman historian Livy, "Ab urbe condita" (c.20 B.C.) at Books XXI-XXX, translated as "The War with Hannibal" (Penguin 1965).]

Carthage revived, which caused alarm in Rome. The Third Punic War (149-146) began following the refusal by Carthage to alter the terms of its agreement with Rome. Roman armies again landed in Africa to lay siege to the ancient and magnificent city of Carthage, which rejected negotiations. Eventually, the end came; Carthage was destroyed, its citizens enslaved. [Lancel, "Carthage" at 401-406, 409-427.]

In the aftermath, the region (modern Tunisia) was annexed by the Roman Republic as the Province of Africa. Carthage itself was eventually rebuilt by the Romans. Long after the fall of Rome, the city of Carthage would be again destroyed.

Roman Province of Africa

Republic and early Empire

The Province (basically what is now Tunisia and coastal regions to the east) became the scene of military campaigns directed by well known Romans during the last decades of the Republic. Gaius Marius celebrated his "triumph" as a result of successfully finishing Rome's war against Jugurtha, the Numidian king. A wealthy "novus homo" and populares, Marius was the first Roman general to enlist in his army "proletari" (landless citizens); he was chosen Consul an unprecedented seven times (107, 104-100, 86). The optimate Lucius Cornelius Sulla, later Consul (88, 80), and Dictator (82-79), had served as quaestor under the military command of Marius in Numidia. There in 106 Sulla persuaded Bocchus to hand over Jurgurtha, which ended the war. [This conflict was later (circa 40 B.C.) described by the Sallust in his "Belum Jugurthinum", translated as "The Jugurthine War" (Penguin 1964).]

In 47 B.C. Julius Caesar landed in Africa in pursuit of Pompey's remnant army, which was headquartered at Utica where they enjoyed the support of the Numidian King Juba I. Also present was Cato the Younger, a political leader of Caesar's republican opponents. Caesar's victory nearby at the Battle of Thapsus almost put an end to that phase of the civil war. Cato committed suicide by his sword. [H. L. Havel, "Republican Rome" (London 1914, reprinted 1996) at 522-524; Cato was widely admired.] Caesar then annexed Numidia (the eastern region of modern Algeria).

Augustus (ruled 31 B.C. to 14 A.D.) controlled the Roman state following the civil war that would mark the end of the Roman Republic. He established a quasi-constitutional regime known as the "Principate", later to be called the Roman Empire.

Augustus circa 27 B.C. restored Juba II to the throne as King of Mauretania (to the east of the Province of Africa). Educated at Rome and obviously a client king, Juba also wrote books about the culture and history of Africa, and a best seller about Arabia, writings unfortunately lost. He married Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Anthony and Cleopatra. After his reign, his kingdom and other lands of the Maghrib were annexed as the Roman Provinces of Mauritania Caesaria and Mauritania Tingitana (approximately the western coast of modern Algeria and northern Morocco). [Abun-Nasr, "History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 31; Brett and Fentress, "The Berbers" at 43-44.]

Renaissance of Carthage

Rebuilding of the city of Carthage began under Augustus and, notwithstanding reported ill omens, Carthage flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries. The capital of the Province of Africa, where a Roman "praetor" or "proconsul" resided, was soon moved from nearby Utica back to Carthage. Its rich agriculture made the province wealthy; olives and grapes were important products, but by its large exports of wheat it became famous. Marble, wood, and mules were also important exports. New towns were founded, especially in the Majarda valley near Carthage; many prior Punic and Berber settlements prospered. [Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 35.]

Expeditions ventured south into the Sahara. Cornelius Balbus, Roman governor at Utica, in 19 B.C. occupied Gerama, desert capital of the Garamantes in the Fezzan. [Pliny (A.D.23-79), "Natural History" V, 36 (Heineman, Harvard Univ. 1942) at 244-245.] [Max Cary and Erik M. Warmington, "The Ancient Explorers" (London: Methuen 1929; revised ed., Pelican 1963) at 216-221, 219.] These Berber Garamantes had long-time, unpredictable, off-and-on contacts with the Mediterranean. [Roman artifacts and a cut-stone mausoleum at Gerama, 700 km. south of the Mediterranean port of Tripoli. Mortimer Wheeler, "Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers" (Penguin 1954) at 121-133, 130.] [Cf., Herodotus (c.484-c.425), "The Histories" IV, 181 (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 332.] Extensive trade across the Sahara directly with the lands to the south had not yet developed. [Richard W. Bulliet, "The Camel and the Wheel" (Harvard Univ. 1975) at 113, 138.] [A. Bathily, "Relations between the different regions of Africa" at 348-357, 350, in "General History of Africa, volume III, Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century" (UNESCO 1992).]

People from all over the Empire began to migrate into Africa Province, e.g., veterans in early retirement settled in Africa on farming plots promised for their military service. A sizable Latin speaking population that was multinational developed, which shared the region with those speaking the Punic and Berber languages. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 35-37.] [Laroui challenges the accepted view of the prevalence of the Latin language, in his "The History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 45-46.] The local population began eventually to provide the Roman security forces. That the Romans "did not display any racial exclusiveness and were remarkably tolerant of Berber religious cults" facilitated local acceptance of their rule. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 36.] Here the Romans evidently governed well enough that the Province of Africa became integrated into the economy and culture of the Empire, with Carthage as one of its major cities. [Soren, Ben Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (Simon and Schuster 1990) at 172-173, 187 ff.]

Apuleius (c.125-c.185) managed to thrive in the professional and literary communities of Latin-speaking Carthage. A full Berber (Numidian and Gaetulian) of Madaura whose father was a provincial magistrate, he studied at Carthage, and later at Athens (philosophy) and at Rome (oratory), where he evidently served as a legal advocate. He also traveled to Asia Minor and Egypt. Returning to Cathage he married an older, wealthy widow; he then was prosecuted for using magic to gain her affections. His speech in defense makes up his "Apology"; [Apuleius, "The Apology and Florida of Apuleius of Madaura" (Greenwood Press 1970), translated by Butler.] apparently he was acquitted. His celebrated work "Metamorphosus, or the Golden Ass" is an urbane, extravagant, inventive novel of the ancient world. [Apuleius, "Golden Ass" (Indiana Univ. 1960), translated by Lindsay. The plot unfolds in Greece where the hero, while experimenting with the ointment of a sorceress, is changed not into an eagle but into a donkey. In a digression the tale of Cupid and Psyche is artfully told. After many adventures, the hero regains his human form. One may note the imperial implications of the eagle, and the North African populist image of the donkey.] At Carthage he wrote philosophy, rhetoric, and poetry; several statues were erected in his honor. [Diana Bowder, editor, "Who was Who in the Roman World" (Cornell Univ. 1980) at 27.] St. Augustine discusses Apuleius in his "The City of God". [Augustine, "The City of God" in Book VIII, Chaps. XIV-XXIII (London: J.M.Dent 1967) translated by Healey (1610) as revised by Tasker, at vol. I: 238, 239, 241, 242, 245.] Apuleius used a Latin style that registered as "New Speech" recognized by his literary contemporaries. It expressed the every day language used by the educated, along with embedded archaisms, which transformed the more formal, classical grammar favored by Cicero (106-43), and pointed toward the development of modern Romance idioms. [Michael Grant, "Roman Literature" (Cambridge Univ. 1954, reprint Pelican 1958) at 118-122, who discusses his language style and gives with various translated excerpts his "novel".] Apuleius was drawn to the mystery religions, particularly the cult of Isis. [Bowder, editor, "Who was Who in the Roman World" (1980) at 27.]

Many native Berbers adopted to the Mediterranean-wide influences operating in the province, eventually intermarrying, or entering into the local aristocracy. Yet the majority did not. There remained a social hierarchy of the Romanized, the partly assimilated, and the unassimilated, many of whom were Berbers. These imperial distinctions overlay the preexisting stratification of economic classes, e.g., there continued the practice of slavery, and there remained a coopted remnant of the wealthy Punic aristocracy. [Soren, Ben Khader, Slim, "Carthage" (Simon and Schuster 1990) at 179. Of course, many poor immigrants from other regions of the empire might be considered "assimilated".] [Cf., Perkins, "Tunisia" (1986) at 21.] The stepped-up pace and economic demands of a cosmopolitan urban life could have a very negative impact on the welfare of the rural poor. Large estates ("latifundia") that produced crops for export, often were managed for absentee owners and used slave labor; these occupied lands previously tilled by small local farmers. [Cf., Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1970, 1977) at 35.] On another interface, tensions increased between pastoral nomads, who had their herds to graze, and sedentary farmers, with the best land being appropriated for planting, usually by the better-connected. These social divisions would manifest in various ways, e.g., the collateral revolt in 238, [Cf., following section "Emperors from Africa" re the Gordion line.] and the radical edge to the Donatist schism. [Perkins, "Tunisia" (1986) at 19-23, 21.]

Emperors from Africa

Septimus Severus (145-211, r.193-211) was born of mixed Punic Ancestry in Lepcis Magna, Tripolitania (now Libya), where he spent his youth. Although he was said to speak with a North African accent, he and his family were long members of the Roman cosmopolitan elite. His eighteen year reign was noted for frontier military campaigns. His wife Julia Domna of Emesa, Syria, was from a prominent family of priestly rulers there; as empress in Rome she cultivated a salon which may have included Ulpian of Tyre, the jurist of Roman Law. After Severus (whose reign was well regarded), his son Caracalla (r.211-217) became Emperor; Caracalla's edict of 212 granted citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Empire. Later, two grand nephews of Severus through his wife Julia Domna became Emperors: Elagabalus (r.218-222) who brought the black stone of Emesa to Rome; and Severus Alexander (r.222-235) born in Caesarea sub Libano (Lebanon). Though unrelated, the Emperor Macrinus (r.217-218) came from Iol Caesarea in Mauretania (modern Sharshal, Algeria). [Michael Grant, "The Roman Emperors. A biographical guide to the rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 B.C. to A.D. 476 (New York: Scribner's 1985) at 108-113, 117-136.] [Diana Bowder (editor), "Who was who in the Roman World" (Cornell Univ. 1980).]

There were also Roman Emperors from the Province of Africa. In 238 local proprietors rose in revolt, arming their clients and agricultural tenants who entered Thysdrus (modern El Djem) where they killed their target, a rapacious official and his bodyguards. In open revolt, they then proclaimed as co-emperors the aged Governor of the Province of Africa, Gordian I (c.159-238), and his son, Gordian II (192-238). Gordion I had served at Rome in the Senate and as Consul, and had been the Governor of various provinces. The very unpopular current Emperor Maximinus Thrax (who had succeeded the dynasty of Severus) was campaigning on the middle Danube. In Rome the Senate sided with the insurgents of Thysdrus. When the African revolt collapsed under an assault by local forces still loyal to the emperor, the Senate elected two of their number, Balbinus and Pupienus, as co-emperors. Then Maximus Thrax was killed by his disaffected soldiers. Eventually the grandson of Gordian I, Gordian III (225-244), of the Province of Africa, became the Emperor of the Romans, 238-244. He died on the Persian frontier. His successor was Philip the Arab. [Grant, "The Roman Emperors" at 140-155.] [Bowder, editor, "Who was Who in the Roman World".]

Christianity, its Donatist schism

The Imperial cult was based on a polytheism that, by combining veneration for the paterfamilias and for the ancestor, developed a public celebration of the reigning Emperor as a divine leader. From time to time displays of patriotism were required; those refusing the state cult might face a painful death. [Joyce E. Salisbury, "Perpetua's Passion. The Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman" (London: Routledge 1997) at 15-22 (state cult). 22 (persecution order of Lucius Septimius Severus (r.193-211) issued in 202).] Yet such worship was contrary to Christian life. In the Province of Africa were two newly baptised Christians, both young women, one a servant to the other a noble, one pregnant and the other a nursing mother; both together were publicly torn apart by wild animals at Carthage in A.D. 203. These saints were Felicitas and Perpetua. An esteemed writing contains the reflections and visions of Perpetua (181-203) followed by a narrative of the martyrdom. [W.H.Shewring, "The Passion of SS. Perpetua and Felicity" (London: Sheed and Ward 1931).] [Marie-Louise von Franz, "The Passion of Perpetua" (Irving, Texas: Spring Pub. 1980), text and commentary [Jungian Classics Series] .] These "Acts" were soon read aloud in the Churches. [Donald Atwater (ed.& rev. by John Cumming), "Dictionary of the Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press [1938, 1958] 1993) at 249.] [Joyce E. Salisbury, "Perpetua's Passion. The Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman" (London: Routledge 1997) at 5-9 (Perpetua), 92-112 (her visions), 136-148 (her martyrdom).]

Three significant theologians arose in the Province of Africa, all enjoying Berber ancestry. Tertullian (160-230) was born, lived, and died at Carthage. An expert in Roman law, [Eusebius (260-340), "Historia Ecclesiastica", II 2, translated as "The History of the Church" (Penguin 1965, reprint: Minneapolis: Augsburg 1975) at 75.] a convert and a priest, his Latin books on theology were at one time widely known, including his early understanding of the Trinity. [Tertullian, "Adversus Praxean", excerpted by Henry Bettenson in his "The Early Christian Fathers" (Oxford Univ. 1956) at 133-137.] He later came to espouse an unforgiving puritanism, after Montanus. [Dom Charles Poulet, "Histoire de l'Eglise" (Paris: Gabriel Beauchesne et ses Fils 1926, 1930), fourth edition edited and translated by Sidney A. Raemers as "Church History" (St. Louis: B. Herder 1934, 1951) at vol. I, 108-110 (life, doctrines, e.g., "rule of faith"), also: Montanus, at I: 83-84.] [Maureen A. Tilley discusses Tertullian as a predecessor to the Donatists, in her "The Bible in Christian North Africa. The Donatist World" (Minneapolis: Fortress 1997) at 20-28.] St. Cyprian (210-258) was Bishop of Carthage, and a martyr. Also a convert, he considered Tertullian his teacher, yet Cyrian's books kindly offer moral counsel. He accepted correction of his views: that baptism while a heretic was no baptism; that a bishop in his diocese was supreme. [Poulet, "Church History" (1930, 1934) at I: 97-99 (unforgivable sins), 99-101 and 103-105 (baptism by heretics), 110-111 (Cyrian's books); at I: 90-91, Cyprian on the brutal persecutions under the Emperor Decius (r.245-251), who came after Philip the Arab (r.244-249), and was later followed by Valerian I (r.253-260) whose persecutions martyred St. Cyprian.]

St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (modern Annaba), was born at Tagaste in Numidia (modern Souk Ahras), his mother being St. Monica (who evidently was of Berber heritage). ["Mon" (from which the name of his mother Monica) was a local Numidian goddess. Brown, "Augustine of Hippo" (1967) at 32. Yet Augustine evidently could not understand the Berber idiom. Brown (1967) at 139.] [Cf., William M. Green, "Augustine's Use of Punic" at 179-190, in "Semitic and Oriental Studies" presented to Prof. Wm. Popper (Univ.of California 1951).] [Cf., W.H.C.Frend, "A note on the Berber background in the life of Augustine" in "J.Theol. St." (1942) XLIII: 188-191.] At Carthage, Augustine received his higher education. While professor of Rhetoric at Milano (then the Roman imperial capital) he followed Manichaean teachings. Following his conversion to Christianity he returned to Africa, where he became a church leader and the author of many works. Augustine remains one of the most prominent and most admired of all Christian theologians. His moral philosophy remains influential, e.g., his contribution to the further evolved doctrine of the Just War, used to test whether or not a military action may be considered just and ethical. His books (e.g., "The City of God", and "Confessions") are still today widely read and discussed. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" at 38 & 43-44, 46.] [Diana Bowder, editor, "Who was who in the Roman World" (Cornell Univ. 1980) at 35.] [Peter Brown, "Augustine of Hippo. A biography" (Univ. of California 1967) at 28-34 (his mother St. Monica), 46-61 (as Manichee), 299-312 (his writing the "City of God").] [Charles Poulet, "Church History" (1934, 1951), edited and translated by Raemers, at vol. I, 218-228.] [In "The City of God", as translated by Healey (1610) and edited by Tasker (London: J.M.Dent 1945) in two volumes, St. Augustine, in addition to more theological subjects, criticizes repeatedly the ancient religion of the Romans, while also comparing the history of Israel to that of Rome.]

The Donatist schism was a major disruption; [Named after the Berber Bishop Donatus or Donatus Magnus, there being some confusion. [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05121a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Donatists] ] [Concerning Donatus or Donatus Magnes, see Tilly, "The Bible in Christian North Africa. The Donatist World" (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 1997): compare Donatus of 61,n18 (194,n18) & 131, with Donatus of 69-70.] it followed a severe Roman persecution of Christians ordered by the Emperor Diocletian (r.284-305). An earlier persecution had caused divisions over whether or how to accept back into the church contrite Christians who had apostatized under state threats, abuse, or torture. Then in 313 the new Emperor Constantine by the Edict of Milan had granted tolerance to Christianity, himself becoming a Christian. This turnabout led to confusion within the Church; in North Africa this accentuated the divide between wealthy urban members aligned with the Empire, and the local rural poor who were salt-of-the-earth believers, which included as well social and political dissidents. Christian Berbers tended to be Donatists, although some more assimilated Berbers were Catholic. [Cf., W.H.C.Frend, "The Donatist Church. A Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa" (Oxford Univ. 1952, 1971).] [Elizabeth Isichei, "A History of Christianity in Africa" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1995) at 37-38 text, and note 78 at 359-360, refers to strong criticism of Frend's ethnic and social-economic theories, citing A.H.M.Jones, "J.Theo. St." (1959), and P.Brown, "J.Rom. St." (1968).] [Maureen A. Tilley has continued questioning many assumptions about the Donatists, in her "The Bible in Christian North Africa. The Donatist World" (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 1997). She explicates their theological integrity in light of ancient Christianity.] To this challenge the Church did not respond well. The Donatists became centered in southern Numidia, the Catholics in Carthage. One issue was whether a priest could perform his spiritual office if not personally worthy. The Donatist schismatics set up parallel churches in order to practice a ritual purity not required by the Catholic Church. [It has been commonly remarked that the more rigorous quest for religious purity made by the rural Berbers, when compared to the more relaxed attitude of mainstream civilization, has led not only to Donatism with regard to Christianity, but also as regards Islam to the Berber attraction for the Kharijites, for the Fatimid Ismaili Shia, and for both the Almoravide and the Almohad movements. On the other hand, one could compare and contrast this Christian schism in North Africa with the Monophysite schism in Coptic Egypt and elsewhere.] Some Donatists sought to become martyrs by provocative acts. [Joyce E. Salisbury, "Perpetua's Passion. The Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman" (London: Routledge 1997) at 164, citing letters of Augustine. Salisbury remarks that North Africa was the last place in the Mediterranean region to practice human sacrifice. "Ibid." at 165.] A disorderly, rural extremist group became associated with the Donatists, the circumcellions, who opposed taxes, debt collection, and slavery, and would obstruct normal commerce to protect the poor. [Isichei, "A History of Christianity in Africa" (1995) at 38: "This was clearly a Peasant's Revolt; they lived in community near the tombs of rural martyrs, carrying clubs called Israel, attacking their propertied opponents with the war cry "Deo Laudes"."] [Tilley, "The Bible in Christian North Africa" (1997) at 94.] The Donatist were also linked to a revolt (395 to 398) led by the Roman general and Berber chief Gildo. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 41-43.] [Tilley, "The Bible in Christian North Africa" (1997) at 132-136.] Augustine as Bishop came to condemn the Donatists throngs for rioting; at one time there were Imperial persecutions. Long negotiations lasted until finally the Catholics declared Donatism a heresy in 405, though general tolerance persisted until the ban became enforced late in the 6th century. [Johnson, "A History of Christianity" (New York: Atheneum 1979) at 83-85, 88, 115.] [Brown, "Augustine of Hippo" at 215-225, 240-241.] [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" at 38-44, 62.]

Fall of the Roman Empire in the West

Vandal Kingdom

In the fifth century the western Roman Empire was in a steep decline. Carthage and the Roman province of Africa were captured in 439 by the Vandals under Gaiseric (r. 428-477), becoming the center of their Germanic kingdom. The western imperial capital at Ravenna recognized his rule in 442. In 455 the Vandals sailed with an army to the city of Rome, which was occupied without resistance and looted. Yet in governing their kingdom the Vandals did not fully maintain their martial culture, having made alliances with Berber forces upon entering the region. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 45-47, 50.] [Herwig Wolfram, "Das Reich und die Germanen" (Berlin: Wolf Jobst Siedler 1990) translated as "The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples" (Univ.of California 1997), chap. 7, "The Vandals" at 159-182, 166-171. In 429 the Vandals and Alans traveled the 2000 km. from Iulia Traducta in southern Spain to Carthage with about eighty thousand people. "Ibid." at 163, 166, 169-170.] [In 430 St. Augustine died at Hippo Regius while the Vandals besieged the city. Abun-Nasr (1971) at 46.]

In religious policy, the Vandals tried to convert the urban Catholic Christians of Africa to their Arian heresy (named after the Egyptian Christian priest Arius, who taught that the Father is greater than the Son and the Spirit), e.g., by sending the clergy into exile and by expropriating churches; in the 520s their efforts turned to persecution, including martyrdom, all without success. The Berbers remained aloof. In all Vandal rule would last 94 years. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 49-51.] [Wolfram, "The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples" (1990, 1997) at 174-175.]

The Vandals did provide functional security and governed with a light hand, so that the former Roman province prospered at first. Roman officials and Roman law continued, and Latin was used for government business. Agriculture provided more than enough to feed the region and trade flourished in the towns. Yet because of their desire to maintain a superiority in status, the Vandals refused to intermarry or agreeably assimilate to the advanced culture of the Romans. Consequently, finer points were overlooked; they failed to sustain in its entirety the workable society. The Berbers confederacies beyond the frontier grew increasingly powerful and troublesome. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 48-49, 52-53.] [Perkins, "Tunisia" (1986) at 23-24.]

Byzantine Empire

The Eastern Romans or Byzantine Empire eventually recaptured North Africa in 534, under their celebrated general Belisarius. The Byzantines rebuilt fortifications and border defenses (the "limes"), and entered into treaties with the Berbers. Nevertheless, for many decades security and prosperity were precarious and never fully returned. Direct Byzantine rule didn't extend far beyond the coastal cities; the interior remained under the control of various Berber tribal confederacies. Further west (in modern Algeria) was the Romano-Moor Kingdom of Garmul.

Early in the seventh century, several Berber groups (the Jarid and Zanata of the Auruba) converted to Catholicism, although other Berbers remained attached to their gods. [ It is uncertain how many Berbers professed Christianity, Catholic or Donatist. Cf., H. Mones, "The conquest of North Africa and the Berber resistance" in "General History of Africa" (Univ.of California/UNESCO 1992) at 119-120, who opines that only a "marginal" few (called "al-Afarika" by Arabs) of Romanized Berbers and Punics, as well as Romans and Greeks, were Christians.] In the 540s the restored Catholic Church in Africa was disrupted by the Emperor Justinian's position in favor of the Monophysite doctrine.

In the early 600s AD, the Byzantine Empire entered a period of serious crises that would alter the future of Tunisia. For centuries Rome/Byzantium's greatest enemy had been the Sassanid Persians, and the two powers were chronically at war with each other. The warfare was often intense but usually resulted in small border changes. By the 7th century however, the situation changed dramatically. Persistent religious discord within the Empire, followed by the overthrow of Emperor Maurice by the tyrant Phocas, severely weakened the Byzantines. The Persians invaded the Byzantine Empire, in alliance with the Eurasian Avars and Slavs from the north. Much of the Empire was overrun and it seemed the end was near.

It was a son of Carthage, so-to-speak, who managed to play a crucial role in restoring the imperial destiny. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 53-56, 58, 62-63.] [Perkins, "Tunisia" (1986) at 24-26.] The son of the Exarch of Carthage, Flavius Heraclius Augustus, [ M. Chahin (1987) at 270.] sailed east with an African fleet to the Byzantine capital city of Constantinople and overthrew the usurper Phocas; Heraclius became Roman Emperor in 610. He began reorganizing the government and erecting defenses to counter the threats to the capital. Yet the Persians continued their invasion, meeting little resistance, taking Antioch in 611, Jerusalem in 614, and Alexandria in 619, in astonishing victories. His forces soon stood before Constantinople. In response, Heraclius took a great risk and moved an army by ship over the Black Sea, landing near his Armenian allies, and in the fighting managed to out-flanked the Persians. By 627 Heraclius was marching on their capital Ctesiphon, a complete reversal of fortune. Then in 628 Chosroes II was killed in a revolt by his generals.

As a result of these dramatic and tumultuous events, Sassanid Persia was in disarray and confusion. The orthodox Byzantines retook their provinces of Eygpt and Syria, but the religious discord between the local Monophysite and Orthodox Christians returned. The orthodox Emperor Heraclius (575-641), the former Exarch of Africa (Carthage), attempted to work out a theological compromise, Monothelitism, but without any success.

Yet events did not rest. To the south, Arab Islamic armies began to stir, unified and energized by the teachings of the Prophet, Muhammad (570-632). In 636 at the Battle of Yarmuk to the east of the Sea of Galilee the Arabs decisively defeated the Byzantine forces. [A. A. Vasiliev, "History of the Byzantine Empire" (1917, 1923-25; Univ.of Wisconsin 1928-29, 1964) at vol. I, 176, 194-200, 211.] [Percy Sykes, "A History of Persia" (London: Macmillan 1915, 1921, 1930, reprinted New York: St. Martin's 1951) at vol. I, 480-486.]

Following the Arab invasion of Egypt in 640, Christian refugees came west into the Exarchate of Africa (Carthage). There serious disputes arose within the Catholic churches at Carthage over Monophysite doctrines and Monothelitism, with St. Maximus the Confessor leading the orthodox Catholics. [Abun-Nasr, "A History of the Maghrib" (1971) at 63-65.]

Reference notes

ee also

*Berber people
*Berber languages
*Ancient Lybia
*Shoshenq I
*Phoenician languages
*Phoenicia
*Utica
*Carthage
*Hanno the Great
*Hannibal Barca
*Syphax
*Masinissa
*Scipio Africanus
*Jugurtha
*Juba
*Septimius Severus
*Apuleius
*Augustine
*Africa Province
*Exarchate of Africa
*Praetorian prefecture of Africa
*North Africa during the Classical Period
*History of medieval Tunisia
*History of modern Tunisia


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