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

Carthage and Tunis: Past and Present: in Two Parts

“Historians speak only very vaguely of North Africa during the period previous to the arrival of the Phonecians. Herodotus gives the names of numerous peoples or nations situated between Egypt and lake Triton; but he says nothing of the inhabitants along the Atlas, and he sums up his information upon Africa thus: “There are only two great native peoples, the Libyans, and the Ethiopians.”

“Leaving aside the Ethiopians, (whether they were really blacks or simply a people of very swarthy complexion,) since authors place them altogether towards the interior, there remain for the general primitive people of North Africa only the Libyans. Sallust, who attempted to trace back the origin of this people in the Numidian books of Hiempsal, written out according to ancient traditions, says that after the death of Hercules in Spain, the Persians, the Medes and the Armenians who had followed him came again into Africa and mixed up with the ancient inhabitants of the country, the Libyans and the Getulians.”

“From the union of the Persians and the Getulians sprang the Numidians, and from the union of the Medes and Armenians with the Libyans sprang the Moors. The Byzantine historian, Procopius, speaks of the Moors as Canaanites expelled from Palestine at the epoch of the invasion by Joshua. Admitting this, let us observe that the Getulians, Numidians, and Moors enter into the unity of the Libyan race vaguely indicated by Herodotus. In fact, Sallust speaks of the Getulians as having the same manners and the same traits of character as the Libyans; and Strabo considers them a branch of that people.”

“Herodotus regards the Numidians as a simple variety of the Libyans, and Strabo regards the Moors in the same light. According to Sallust, Moors and Numidians are, it is true, mixed races, but are attached to a more numerous and predominant primitive population, with which they were necessarily confounded. From that which precedes, we can I think, infer, first, the existence of a single primitive population who origin the Latin and Greek authors scarcely specify, and which they regarded, according to their habits, as purely aboriginal and indigenous; second, successive foreign immigration, which became amalgamated with this native population.”

“And, first, this population itself, like that of the whole world, is of oriental origin; for humanity, like civilization, has followed the light of the rising sun from east to west. The identity or the similiary of civilization, has followed the light of the risin sun from east to west. The identity or the similiarity of the language and of the general characteristics of this population and of the primitive inhabitants of western Arabia, Palenstine and Egypt indicates their common origin.”

“The Libyans, like the ancient Egyptians and the Phonecians, are of a stock slightly mixed, in which predominates the blood of Ham. According to the Bible, Mizraim, Canaan, Cush and Phut were brothers, and modern philolgy has found a striking analogy between the very name of the Lehabim descendants of Mizraim, and the Libyans of antiquity.”

“The Arab historians who speak of Africa agree with ethnographers and modern travellers in affirming the identity of the Libyans or primitive Africans, and of the actual Berber. These Berbers, who are scatted over the whole north of Africa, from the valleys of the Atlas to the desert of Sahara, and from Egypt to the Atlantic ocean, and who are called Amasighs in Morocco; Cabyls in in Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli; Tibboos in Fezzan and in Egypt, and Touaregs in the north of the Sahara;–these Berbers, are regarded today as one of the types of that primitive family which science calls Egypto-Berber, and of which they are the most numerous and the most persistent branch.” 

Carthage and Tunis: Past and Present: in Two Parts