Kingdom of Mauretania

110 BC–40
Capital Not specified
Language(s) Berber
Government Monarchy
 - 110-80 BC Bocchus I
 - 23-40 AD Ptolemy of Mauretania
Historical era Classical Antiquity
 - Established 110 BC
 - Client state of the Roman Empire 33 BC
 - Became Roman Province 40
King Juba II of Numidia and Mauretania.
Mauretania Tingitana province (borders in 116 AD).

Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria. Mauretania in antiquity was the western neighbour of the ancient kingdom of Numidia.



In antiquity, Mauretania was originally an independent kingdom on the Mediterranean coast of north Africa (named after the Mauri tribe, after whom the Moors were named), corresponding to northern Morocco. Some of its earliest recorded history relates to Phoenician and Carthaginian settlements such as Lixus, Volubilis, Mogador and Chellah.[1] The kingdom of Mauretania was not situated on the Atlantic coast south of Western Sahara, where modern Mauritania lies.

Roman Mauretania

After the defeat of Carthage by the Roman Empire Mauretania became a Roman client kingdom.[2] The Romans placed Juba II of Numidia as their client-king. When Juba died in 23 AD, his Roman-educated son Ptolemy of Mauretania succeeded him on the throne. Caligula killed Ptolemy in 40. Claudius annexed Mauretania directly as a Roman province in 44, under an imperial (not senatorial) governor.

Not depriving the Mauri of their line of kings would have contributed to preserving loyalty and order, it appears: "The Mauri, indeed, manifestly worship kings, and do not conceal their name by any disguise," Cyprian observed in 247, likely quoting a geographer rather than personal observation, in his brief euhemerist exercise in deflating the gods entitled On the Vanity of Idols.[3]

In the first century Emperor Claudius divided the Roman province of Mauretania into Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana along the line of the Mulucha (Muluya) River, about 60 km west of modern Oran:

Mauretania gave to the empire one emperor, the equestrian Macrinus, who seized power after the assassination of Caracalla in 217 but was himself defeated and executed by Elagabalus the next year.

Since emperor Diocletian's Tetrarchy reform (293), the country was further divided in three provinces, as the small, easternmost region Sitifensis was split off from Mauretania Caesariensis.

The Notitia Dignitatum (circa 400) mentions them still, two being under the authority of the Vicarius of the diocese of Africa:

  • a Dux et praeses provinciae Mauritaniae et Caesariensis, i.e., a Roman governor of the rank of Vir spectabilis, who also holds the high military command of 'duke', as the superior of eight border garrison commanders, each styled Praepositus limitis, named (genitive forms) Columnatensis, Vidensis, Praepositus limitis inferioris (i.e., lower border), Fortensis, Muticitani, Audiensis, Caputcellensis and Augustensis.
  • an (ordinary, civilian) Praeses in the province of Mauretania Sitifensis.
Roman Mauretania cities in the Tabula Peutingeriana map

And, under the authority of the Vicarius of the diocese of Hispaniae:

  • a Comes rei militaris of (Mauretania -, but not mentioning that part of the name) Tingitana, also ranking as vir spectabilis, in charge of the following border garrison (Limitanei) commanders: Praefectus alae Herculeae at Tamuco, Tribunus cohortis secundae Hispanorum at Duga, Tribunus cohortis primae Herculeae at Aulucos, Tribunus cohortis primae Ityraeorum at Castrabarensis, another Tribunus cohortis at Sala, Tribunus cohortis Pacatianensis at Pacatiana, Tribunus cohortis tertiae Asturum at Tabernas and Tribunus cohortis Friglensis at (and apparently also from, a rarity) Friglas; and to whom three extraordinary cavalry units are assigned: Equites scutarii seniores, Equites sagittarii seniores and Equites Cordueni,
  • a Praeses (civilian governor) of the same province of Tingitana

See also

Line notes

  1. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Chellah, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
  2. ^ There is a problem with this text as Carthage was destroyed in 146BC. However, the right hand side says Mauretania became a client state in 33BC. So it couldn't have happened immediately after the destruction, or the 33BC date is incorrect.
  3. ^ Cyprian (circa 255 AD) De idolorum vanitate


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mauretania —   [lateinisch], Name Nordwestafrikas im Altertum, benannt nach den berberischen Mauri (Mauren), umfasste ursprünglich das heutige Marokko sowie Teile Algeriens und grenzte im Osten an Numidien. Unter König Bocchus I. trat es während des… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Mauretania — bezeichnet: ein antikes Königreich, das im 1. Jahrhundert von den Römern annektiert wurde, siehe Mauretanien (Antike) zwei römische Provinzen in Nordafrika, siehe Mauretania Caesariensis und Mauretania Tingitana ein Passagierschiff (Baujahr 1907) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mauretania — Mauretanĭa, im Altertum der nordwestlichste Teil Afrikas, kam durch Cäsar unter röm. Oberhoheit, zerfiel in M. Tingitana (Hauptstadt Tingis) und M. Cäsariensis (Hauptstadt Cäsarea), 429 von den Vandalen erobert, kam 534 in Besitz der Byzantiner,… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Mauretania — [môr΄ə tā′nē ə, môr΄ətān′yə] ancient country & Roman province in NW Africa, including areas now in NE Morocco & W Algeria …   English World dictionary

  • Mauretania — RMS Mauretania Mauretania Type : Paquebot transatlantique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mauretania — Mauretanian, adj., n. /mawr i tay nee euh/, n. an ancient kingdom in NW Africa: it included the territory that is modern Morocco and part of Algeria. Also, Mauritania. * * * Ancient region of North Africa, corresponding to present day northern… …   Universalium

  • Mauretania — El término Mauretania puede designar: el antiguo territorio de Mauretania. el RMS Mauretania, un transatlántico británico. el país africano de Mauritania. Esta página de desambiguación cataloga artículos relacionados con el mismo título. Si… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mauretania — or Mauritania geographical name ancient country N Africa W of Numidia in modern Morocco & W Algeria • Mauretanian or Mauritanian adjective or noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Mauretania — noun An ancient Berber kingdom on the Mediterranean coast of north Africa which was annexed by the Romans …   Wiktionary

  • Mauretania —  , Mauritania  The first is the spelling for the ancient African country and two famous Cunard ships. The second is the spelling of the modern day African country formally known as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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