The Works of Sallust

“From the plains of Catabathmos, (which are the Boundaries separating Egypt from Africa) following the Sea-coast, the first City is that of Cyene, a Greek Colony from Thera. Next, are the Two Syrtes: Between them lands Leptis; and them Altars, raised to the Two Brothers Phileni, which limited the Dominions of Carthage toward Egypt: Afterwards are found other Punic Cities.”

“All the other Territories, quite to Mauretania, are occupied by the Numidians. The Moors are situated nearest to Spain. Above Numidia, as I have learned, live the Getulians; some in Huts, others wild and roaming. Beyond these are the Ethiopians; and, further on, Regions utterly scorched by the Rays of the Sun.”

“Now, during this War, the Roman People had Governors of their own, in most of the Punic Cities, and in the Territories lately belonging to Carthage. Great Part of the Getulians was subject to the Jugurtha; so were the Numidians, as far as the River Mulucha. The Moors were all under the Sovereignty of Bocchus, who knew nothing of the Romans, farther than their Name; neither was He before known to them, by any intercourse of War or Peace.”

“The Moorish King, after long…and Balancing within himself, at last, declared his Affiant to this proposition. Whether his hesitation proceeded from Perisdy, or from Perplexity, is not clear. In truth, the Inclinations of Princes, as they are generally impetuous, are also unsteady, and subject to thwart one another. Now, as a Time and Place were settled for a Treaty, Bocchus, in the Interval, frequently called, now for Sylla, anon for the Minister of Jugurtha, caressed each and made the same promises to both. Thus they were equally pleased and filled with equal Hopes.”

“But the Night preceding the Day appointed for the Treaty, the Moorish King, after he had called together his Counsellors, and then, his Mind suddenly changing, sent them all away again, is reported to have had many and strong conflicts within himself, insomuch that the frequent Changes of his visage, and external agitations, corresponding with the distractions of his spirit, manifested his Agonics, though he said nothing. At last, he sent for Sylla, and, comfortably to his counsel, prepared to deceive and seize the Numidian Prince.”

Source: The Works of Sallust By Sallust

The Wars of Justinian


“…nations settled in Libya before the Moors, who on account of having been established there from ancient times were called autochthonous. Because of this, they said that Antaios, their king, who wrestled with Herakles in Clipea, was a son of the earth. In later times those who left from Phoenicia with Dido came to the inhabitants of Libya as to kinsmen, and the latter willingly allow them to found and hold Carthage. But as time went on Carthage became a powerful and populous city.”



“A battle took place between them and their neighbors, who, as was said, had come from Palestine before them and are called Moors today, and the Carthaginians defeated them and forced them to live far from Carthage. Later on, the Romans prevailed over all of them in war and settled the Moors at the edges of the inhabited land of Libya, making the Carthaginians and other Libyans subject and tributary to themselves. Later on, the Moors won many victories over the Vandals and gained possession of the land now called Mauretania, which extends from Cadiz to the boundaries of Caesarea, as well as most of the rest of Libya. Such then is the story of the settlement of the Moors in Libya.”


“The Moors replied as follows: Belisarious deluded us with great promises and so persuaded us to become subjects of the emperor Justinian. But the Romans, while giving us no share in any good thing, expected to have us as their friends and allies,, although we are pressed with hunger. Therefore it is more fitting that you, rather than the Moors, should be called faithless.”


“For the men who break treaties are not those who, when wronged, bring accusations openly against their neighbors and turn away from them, but those who expect to keep others in faithful alliance and then do them violence. Men make God their enemy not when they march against others in order to recover their own possessions but when they transgress upon the possession of others in entering into the dangers of war.”


“As for children, that will be your concern, who are required to have only one wife; but with us, who have, it may be, fifty wives living with each of us, the making of children is not an issue. When Soloman read this letter, he decided to lead his whole army against the Moors. Arranging matters in Carthage, he went with his entire army to Byzacium. When he reached the place called Mammes, where the fourth Moorish commanders, whom I mentioned just above, were encamped, he made a stockade.”


“There are tall mountains at that place and a level space near foothills of the mountains, where the barbarians had made preparations for the battle and arranged their order as follows. They formed a circle of their camels, just as in a previous book. I said Kabaon did, making the front about twelve deep. They placed the children within the circle (for among the Moors it is customary to take a few women, with their children, to battle, and these make the stockade and huts for them, tend the horses skillfully, take charge of the camels and food, sharpen the iron weapons, and generally take on may of the labors involved in campaigning. “


Source: The Wars of Justinian By Prokopios


North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present



“Livy contemplated Polybius’s generous assessment as he described Hannibal’s exceptional transcultural consciousness, which the Carthaginian exploited: Hannibals’s army was composed of so many men who had nothing in common in terms of language, culture, law, weaponry, dress, physical appearance, and their reasons for fighting and he varied his exhortations accordingly….The Gauls could be aroused by their own particular and instinctive hatred for the Romans.”

“The Ligurians, who had been brought down from their rugged mountain homes, were inspired hopes of victory by the prospect of the rich plains of Italy. The Moors and Numidians Hannibal frightened by telling them how brutal Masinissa’s rule would be. He worked on their various races by inspiring different hopes and different fears. (Livy 2006, 602)”

“Although Polybius and Livy admired Hannibal’s transcultralism, Carthaginians characteristically evinced these sensitivities for centuries given their commercialism and their need to enlist mercenaries. They realized that Carthage’s survival depended on positive and patient interaction with diverse societies. Carthaginian transculturalism was not casual but crucial and compulsory.”

“Carthage remained independent, but hardly a threat to Rome. Instead, Numidia loomed as Carthage’s greatest menace, whose dynamic King Masinissa aspired to unite the Maghrib. The growth of Numidian power, coupled with the pathological fear of a potentially resurgent Carthage, led to another Roman expedition against its archival.”

“Aided by their Numidian allies, the belligerent Romans, commanded by the adopted grandson of Scipio, Scipio Aemilianus, finally breached Carthage’s walls after a determined and desperate defense. The Romans enslaved the survivors and destroyed the city, reputedly plowing its debris underground and then symbolically salting the land to prevent its regeneration. Establishing a new province, Africa Proconsularis, Romans settled permanently in North Africa.”

“Significant Berber kingdoms exercised considerable power and influence by the time the Romans defeated Carthage, notably Numidia. In addition, Mauretania (the country of the Mauri) bordered Numidia on the west and included Morocco. Although the Romans had allied with Berbers, specifically the Massyli, against Carthage, relations between them declined and ultimately led to the Jugurthine War. In the first century BCE, rivalries among Roman commanders contesting for power embroiled North Africa, ending the Berber Kingdoms and also Hellenistic Egypt. For the first time, an imperial state, the Roman Empire, ruled North Africa’s Mediterranean littoral and, in varying degrees, its hinterland from Egypt to the Atlantic.”

“Ibn Odhari refers to al-Kahina as a Malika or a queen. The resistance of Kusayla and al-Kahina remains important regarding contemporary Berber-Arab cultural controversy, such as the use of the Berber language, Tamazight. See also El-Aroui 1990.”

“Phillip Hitti credited the Arabs’ Semitic (refers to language, not ethnicity) kinship with the Phoenicians in expediting their relations with the Berbers who still spoke Punic in some regions: “This explains the seemingly inexplicable miracle of Islam in Arabicizing the language and Islamizing the religion of these [Berbers] and using them as fresh relays in the race toward further conquest” (Hitti 1970, 214). On the other hand, a significant number of bishoprics remained in North Africa three hundred years after the conquest (ibid.,361). Regarding Arabization, see also the section on the Bantu Hilal in this chapter. Musa’s trust in Tariq illustrated an exceptional sensibility between Arab and Berber, which obviously expedited the campaigns in the far Maghrib and Iberia.”

“The extraordinary expansion of the Umayyads also led to problems in North Africa. Animosity intensified between Berbers and Arabs. Berber, especially those who contributed to Arab success in al-Andalus and elsewhere, demanded the application of Muslim equality. Despite legal prohibitions, Arab administrators imposed taxes and even enslaved Berbers, fellow Muslims, and sent them to the East. The renowned Abbasid historian al-Tabari recounted how Berbers questioned the caliph and Umayyad authority: “They make us give them the most beatiful of our daugthers, and we say, ‘We have not found this in the Book or in the Sunna [the customs of the Prophet Muhamad (see below)]. We are Muslims and we wish to know: is this with the approval of the Commander of the Faithful or not?” (Lewis 1974,2:57-58). The Berbers subsequently revolted and in 741, led by a self-proclaimed “caliph” named Maysara, defeated an Arab force sent from Qayrawan. Although Maysar was eventually killed, the Berber revolt spread into Algeria and al-Andalus.”

Source: North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present By Phillip C. Naylor

Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War

“The Mauri, or Moors, inhabited the lands to the west of the Numidians; they were of the same racial stock as the Libyans and Numidians, and Polybius evidently regarded them as simply another group of Numidians. During the Second Punic War the Moorish tribes formed a single nation under King Baga (Law, 1978, p.188); and seem not to have had any formal relationship with Carthage.”

“At any rate, no mention is made of alliances between Carthage and the Moors, and the Moors who fought for Carthage at Zama were deployed in the first line of infantry, classified by Polybius as mercenaries (Polyb. 15.11.1). Moorish infantry were light-armed skirmishers, as is clearly indicated by Livy’s statement that in 216 Hiero of Syracuse sent a force of archers to serve in the Roman forces in order to aid the Romans against the threat posed by Hannibal’s… “

“What then of the spearmen, Polybius’ longchoporoi, who made up by far the greater number of Hannibal’s light-armed troops? As has been noted, they were almost certainly of mixed nationality, since Polybius never identifies them as a sperate racial group, presumably when they crossed the Arno swamps they were among ‘the most serviceable portion’ of Hannibal’s army (Polyb. 3.79.1)”

“There were certainly light-armed Spaniards and Africans employed by Carthage in 218, if Livy’s claim that the troops transferred to Spain and Africa that year were mostly light-armed African spearmen and Spanish targeteers respectively is correct (Liv. 21.21.11-12).”

“Livy does, admittedly, describe the Balearians at the Trebia as being armed with javelins rather than with slings (Liv., but as has been noted he is here merely using the term ‘Balearians’ as a synonym for ‘skirmishers’.”

“In fact, it would appear that most of the spearmen were Moors, since in 216, before the battle of Cannae, Hiero of Syracuse offered the Romans a force of light-armed troops: well adapted to cope with Moors and Balearians and any other tribes that fought with missiles.” 


Source:  Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War By Gregory Daly

Pride of Carthage

“The army was a mixed company made up partly of the veterans stationed at New Carthage, with some Iberians from the southern tribes, completed by new Libyan recruits and a unit of Moorish mercenaries, and augmented.. Page 68”

“After his father’s death, he would make her the queen of his empire and then he would extend his domain in new directions. Even as Carthage ruled the Mediterranean, the Massylii would extend their dominion to the west and bring the Gaetulians and the Moors into submission, not to mention the Libyans. He would Syphas beneath the heel of his right foot, and then he would turn south-….Page 346”

“Moorish traders made his flight possible. He considered sending word to Maharbal in Italy, asking him to forsake Hannibal and return to Numidia, but he had not the resources to do this. Page 479”

“He realized that Gadeer had left him sometime during these musings and was just now returning. Another man follows him, also a Moor. This man carried a sword he had sometimes seen Moors wield. It was similar to the Iberians’ curving falcata, except heavier, thicker. It was a weapon to be swung in sweeping arcs with the intention of doing lethal damage with a single blow… Page 533-534”

See Pride of Carthage By David Anthony Durham