MAURETANIA IN THE DICTIONARY OF GREEK AND ROMAN GEOGRAPHY 1854 – A HISTORICAL RETROSPECT

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DICTIONARY OF GREEK AND ROMAN GEOGRAPHY 1854
William Smith, L.L.D.

MAURETA´NIA
MAURETA´NIA the NW. coast of Africa, now known as the Empire of Marocco, Fez, and part of Algeria, or the Mogh’rib-al-akza (furthest west) of the natives.
I. Name, Limits, and Inhabitants.

This district, which was separated on the E. from Numidia, by the river Ampsaga, and on the S. from Gaetulia, by the snowy range of the Atlas, was washed upon the N. coast by the Mediterranean, and on the W. by the Atlantic. From the earliest times it was occupied by a people whom the ancients distinguished by the name MAURUSII (Strab. i. p.5, iii. pp. 131, 137, xvii. pp. 825, 827; Liv. 24.49; Verg. A. 4.206; Ptol. 4.1.11) or MAURI ( “Blacks,” in the Alexandrian dialect, Paus. i, 33 § 5, 8.43. [2.297] § 3; Sal. Jug. 19; Pomp. Mela, 1.4.3; Liv. 21.22, 28.17; Hor. Carm. 1.22. 2, 2.6. 3, 3.10. 18; Tac. Ann. 2.52, 4.523, 14.28, Hist. 1.78, 2.58, 4.50; Lucan 4.678; Juv. 5.53, 6.337; Flor. 3.1, 4.2); hence the name MAURETANIA (the proper form as it appears in inscriptions, Orelli, Inscr. 485, 3570, 3672; and on coins, Eckhel, vol. vi. p. 48; comp. Tzchucke, ad Pomp. Mela, 1.5.1) or MAURITANIA ( Ptol. 4.1.2; Caes. B.C. 1.6, 39; Hirt. B. Afr. 22; Pomp. Mela, 1.5; Plin. Nat. 5.1; Eutrop. 4.27, 8.5; Flor. iv. (the MSS. and printed editions vary between this form and that of Mauretania); Strab. p. 827).

These Moors, who must not be considered as a different race from the Numidians, but as a tribe belonging to the same stock, were represented by Sallust (Sal. Jug. 21) as a remnant of the army of Hercules, and by Procopius (B. V. 2.10) as the posterity of the Cananaeans who fled from the robber Joshua; he quotes two columns with a Phoenician inscription. Procopius has been supposed to be the only, or at least the most ancient, author who mentions this inscription, and the invention of it has been attributed to himself; it occurs, however, in the history of Moses of Chorene (1.18), who wrote more than a century before Procopius. The same inscription is mentioned by Suidas (s. v.), who probably quotes from Procopius. According to most of the Arabian writers, who adopted a nearly similar tradition, the indigenous inhabitants of N. Africa were the people of Palestine, expelled by David, who passed into Africa under the guidance of Goliah, whom they call Djalout. (St. Martin, Le Beau, Bas Empire, vol. xi. p. 328; comp. Gibbon, c. xli.)


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