Ihsp ancient History

Download 112.81 Kb.
View original pdf
Size112.81 Kb.
1   2
Internet History Sourcebooks
Checkout confirm Eastbay
stadia, but the voyage along the coast to Massillia is above 6000 stadia.
Although the Mauretanii inhabit a country, the greatest part of which is very fertile, yet the people in general continue even to this time to live like nomads. They bestow care to improve their looks by plaiting their hair, trimming their beards, by wearing golden ornaments, cleaning their teeth, and paring their nails; and you would rarely see them touch one another as they walk, lest they should disturb the arrangement of their hair. They fight for the most part on horseback, with a javelin; and ride on the bareback of the horse, with bridles made of rushes. They have also swords. The foot soldiers present against the enemy, as shields, the skins of elephants. They wear the skins of lions, panthers, and bears,
and sleep in them. These tribes, and the Masaesylii next to them, and for the most part the
Africans in general, wear the same dress and arms, and resemble one another in other respects; they ride horses which are small, but spirited and tractable, so as to be guided by a switch. They have collars made of cotton or of hair, from which hangs a leading-rein. Some follow, like dogs, without being led. They have a small shield of leather, and small lances with broad heads. Their tunics are loose, with wide borders; their cloak is a skin, as I have said before, which serves also as a breastplate.
The Pharusii and Nigrites, who live above these people, near the western Ethiopians, use bows and arrows, like the Ethiopians. They have chariots also, armed with scythes. The
Pharusii rarely have any intercourse with the Mauretanii in passing through the desert country, as they carry skins filled with water, fastened under the bellies of their horses.
Sometimes, indeed, they come to Cirta [modern Constantine], passing through places abounding with marshes and lakes. Some of them are said to live like the Troglodytae, in caves dug in the ground. It is said that rain falls there frequently in summer, but that during the winter drought prevails. Some of the barbarians in that quarter wear the skins of serpents and fishes, and use them as coverings for their beds. Some say that the Mauretanii are Indians, who accompanied Hercules hither. A little before my time, the kings Bogus and
Bocchus, allies of the Romans, possessed this country; after their death, Juba succeeded to the kingdom, having received it from Augustus Caesar, in addition to his paternal dominions.
He was the son of Juba who fought, in conjunction with Scipio, against divine Caesar. Juba died lately, and was succeeded by his son Ptolemy, whose mother was the daughter of
Antony and Cleopatra.
Next to Mauretania is the country of the Masaesylii, beginning from the river Molocath, and ending at the promontory which is called Tretum [modern Ebba-Ras], the boundary of the country of the Masaesylii and of the Masylies. From Metagonium to Tretum are 6000 stadia;
according to others, the distance is less. Upon the sea-coast are many cities and rivers, and a country which is very fertile. It will be sufficient to mention the most renowned. The city of
Siga [probably modern Tafna], the royal seat of Syphax, is at the distance of 1000 stadia
from the above-mentioned boundaries. It is now razed. After Syphax, the country was in the possession of Masanasses, then of Micipsa, next of his successors, and in our time of
Juba, the father of the Juba who died lately. Zama, which was Juba's palace, was destroyed

by the Romans. At the distance of 600 stadia from Siga is Theon-limen (port of the gods);
next are some other obscure places. Deep in the interior of the country are mountainous and desert tracts scattered here and there, some of which are inhabited and occupied by
Gaetuli extending to the Syrtes. But the parts near the sea are fertile plains, in which are numerous cities, rivers, and lakes.
Poseidonius says, but I do not know whether truly, that Africa is traversed by few, and those small rivers; yet he speaks of the same rivers, namely those between Lynx and Carthage,
which Artemidorus describes as numerous and large. This may be asserted with more truth of the interior of the country, and he himself assigns the reason of it, namely, that in the northern parts of Africa (and the same is said of Ethiopia) there is no rain; in consequence therefore of the drought, pestilence frequently ensues, the lakes are filled with mud only, and locusts appear in clouds. . . .
Somewhere there, also, are copper mines; and a spring of asphalt; scorpions of enormous size, both with and without wings, are said to be found there, as well as tarantulas,
remarkable for their size and numbers. Lizards also are mentioned of two cubits in length.
At the base of the mountains precious stones are said to be found, as those called Lychnitis
(the ruby) and the Carchedonius (the carbuncle?). In the plains are found great quantities of oyster and mussel shells. There is also a tree called melilotus, from which a wine is made.
Some obtain two crops from the ground and have two harvests, one in the spring, the other in the summer. The straw is five cubits in height, and of the thickness of a little finger; the produce is 250-fold. They do not sow in the spring, but bush-harrow the ground with bundles of the paliurus, and find the seed-grain sufficient which falls from the sheaves during harvest to produce the summer crop.
Procopius of Caesarea: History of the Wars, c. 550 CE
Books III.xxv.3-9; IV.vi.10-14, vii.3, xi.16-20, xiii.26-29
For all those who ruled over the Mauretanii in Mauretania and Numidia and Byzacium sent envoys to Belisarius saying that they were slaves of the emperor and promised to fight with him. There were some also who even furnished their children as hostages and requested that the symbols of office be sent with them from him according to the ancient custom. For it was a law among the Mauretanii that no one should be a ruler over them, even if he was hostile to the Romans, until the emperor of the Romans should give him the tokens of the office. And though they had already received them from the Vandals, they did not consider that the Vandals held the office securely. Now these symbols are a staff of silver covered with gold, and a silver cap---not covering the whole head, but like a crown and held in place on all sides by bands of silver---a kind of white cloak gathered by a golden brooch on the right shoulder in the form of a Thessalian cape, and a white tunic with embroidery, and a gilded boot. And Belisarius sent these things to them, and presented each one of them with much money. However, they did not come to fight along with him, nor, on the other hand, did they dare give their support to the Vandals, but standing out of the way of both contestants,
they waited to see what would be the outcome of the war. . . .
The Mauretanii live in stuffy huts both in winter and in summer and at every other time,
never removing from them either because of snow or the heat of the sun or any other discomfort whatever due to nature. And they sleep on the ground, the prosperous among them, if it should so happen, spreading a fleece under themselves. Moreover, it is not customary among them to change their clothing with the seasons, but they wear a thick cloak and a rough shirt at all times. And they have neither bread nor wine nor any other good thing, but they take grain, either wheat or barley, and, without boiling it or grinding it to
flour or barley-meal, they eat it in a manner not a whit different from that of animals. . . .A
certain Mauretanian woman had managed somehow to crush a little grain, and making of it a very tiny cake, threw it into the hot ashes on the hearth. For thus it is the custom among the Mauretanii to bake their loaves. . . .
Now there are lofty mountains there, and a level space near the foothills of the mountains,
where the Mauretanii had made preparations for the battle and arranged their fighting order as follows. They formed a circle of their camels, just as, in the previous narrative, I have said
Cabaon did, making the front about twelve deep. And they placed the women with the

children within the circle; for among the Mauretanii it is customary to take also a few women, with their children, to battle, and these make the stockades and huts for them and tend the horses skillfully, and have charge of the camels and the food; they also sharpen the iron weapons and take upon themselves many of the tasks in connection with the preparation for battle; and the men themselves took their stand on foot in between the legs of the camels, having shields and swords and small spears which they are accustomed to hurl like javelins. And some of them with their horses remained quietly among the mountains. . . .
And there are fortresses also on the mountain [called "Clypea" by the Romans], which are neglected, by reason of the fact that they do not seem necessary to the inhabitants. For since the time when the Mauretanii wrested Aurasium from the Vandals, not a single enemy had until now ever come there or so much as caused the barbarians to be afraid that they would come, but even the populous city of Tamougadis [Timgad], situated against the mountain on the east at the beginning of the plain, was emptied of its population by the
Mauretanii and razed to the ground, in order that the enemy should not only not be able to camp there, but should not even have the city as an excuse for coming near the mountains.
And the Mauretanii of that place held also the land to the west of Aurasium, a tract both extensive and fertile. And beyond these dwelt other nations of the Mauretanii, who were ruled by Ortaïas, who had come, as was stated above, as an ally of Solomon and the
Romans. And I have heard this man say that beyond the country which he ruled there was no habitation of men, but desert land extending to a great distance, and that beyond that there are men, not black-skinned like the Mauretanii, but very white in body and fair-haired.

Herodotus, The History, trans. George Rawlinson (New York: Dutton & Co., 1862)
Strabo, The Geography of Strabo: Literally Translated, with Notes, trans. H. C. Hamilton, esq.,
& W. Falconer (London: H. G. Bohn, 1854-1857), pp. 279-284
Procopius, History of the Wars, 7 vols., trans. H. B. Dewing (Cambridge, Mass., and London:
Harvard University Press & Wm. Heinemann, 1914; reprint ed., 1953-54), II.201-203, 257-259,
265, 295-297, 321-323.
Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg has modernized and annotated the text.
This text is part of the
Internet Ancient History Sourcebook
. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright.
Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. No representation is made about texts which are linked off-site,
although in most cases these are also public domain. If you do reduplicate the document,
indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.
© Paul Halsall, July 1998 halsall@murray.fordham.edu
The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the
History Department of
Fordham University
New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the
Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies
.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham

University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham
University. Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

Site Concept and Design:
Paul Halsall

created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [
Curriculum vitae

Download 112.81 Kb.

Share with your friends:
1   2

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2022
send message

    Main page