Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
History of medieval Tunisia
The medieval era of Tunisia starts with what will return Ifriqiya to local Berber rule. The Shia Islamic Fatimid Caliphate departed to their newly conquered territories in Egypt leaving the Zirid dynasty to govern in their stead; the Zirids would break all ties to the Fatimids and formally embrace Sunni Islamic doctrines. During this time there arose in Maghrib two strong local successive movements dedicated to Muslim purity in its practice; the Almoravids emerged in the far western area in al-Maghrib al-Aksa establishing an empire to as north as modern Spain and south to Mauretania. The Berber religious leader Ibn Tumart founded the Almohad movement, supplanted the Almoravids, would bring under the movement's control al-Maghrib and al-Andalus. Almohad rule would be succeeded by the Tunis-based Hafsids; the Hafsids were a local Berber dynasty and would retain control with varying success until the arrival of the Ottomans in the western Mediterranean. Following the Fatimids, for the next half millennium Berber Ifriqiya enjoyed self-rule.
The Fatimids were Shi'a of the more controversial Isma'ili branch. They originated in Islamic lands far to the east. Today, for many centuries, the majority of Tunisians identify as Sunni. In Ifriqiyah, at the time of the Fatimids, there was disdain for any rule from the east regardless if it was Sunni or Shi'a. Hence the rise in medieval Tunisia of regimes not beholden to the east, which marks a new and a popular era of Berber sovereignty; the local agents of the Fatimids managed to inspire the allegiance of Berber elements around Ifriqiya by appealing to Berber distrust of the Islamic east, here in the form of Aghlabid rule. Thus the Fatimids were successful in acquiring local state power. Nonetheless, once installed in Ifriqiya, Fatimid rule disrupted social harmony; the Fatimids of Ifriqiya managed to accomplish their long-held, grand design for the conquest of Islamic Egypt. The Fatimids left the Berber Zirids as their local vassals to govern in the Maghrib. Only a client of the Fatimid Shi'a Caliphate in Egypt, the Zirids expelled the Shi'a Fatimids from Ifriqiya.
In revenge, the Fatimids sent the disruptive Banu Hilal against Ifriqiya, which led to a period of social chaos and economic decline. The independent Zirid dynasty has been viewed as a Berber kingdom. Concurrently, the Sunni Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba were opposing and battling against the Shi'a Fatimids; because Tunisians have long been Sunnis themselves, they may evidence faint pride in the Fatimid Caliphate's rôle in Islamic history. In addition to their above grievances against the Fatimids, during the Fatimid era the prestige of cultural leadership within al-Maghrib shifted decisively away from Ifriqiya and instead came to be the prize of al-Andalus. During the interval of disagreeable Shi'a rule, the Berber people appear to have ideologically moved away from a popular antagonism against the Islamic east, toward an acquiescence to its Sunni orthodoxy, though of course mediated by their own Maliki school of law. Professor Abdallah Laroui remarks that while enjoying sovereignty the Berber Maghrib experimented with several doctrinal viewpoints during the 9th to the 13th centuries, including the Khariji, Shi'a, Almohad.
They settled on an orthodoxy, on Maliki Sunni doctrines. This progression indicates a grand period of Berber self-definition. Tunis under the Almohads would become the permanent capital of Ifriqiya; the social discord between Berber and Arab would move toward resolution. In fact it might be said that the history of the Ifriqiya prior to this period was prologue, which set the stage. Prof. Perkins mentions the preceding history of rule from the east, comments that following the Fatimids departure there arose in Tunisia an intent to establish a "Muslim state geared to the interests of its Berber majority." Thus commenced the medieval era of their sovereignty. Twenty or so Berber languages are spoken in North Africa. Berber speakers were once predominant over all this large area, but as a result of Arabization and local migrations, today Berber languages are reduced to several large regions or remain as smaller language islands. Several linguists characterize the Berber spoken as one language with many dialect variations, spread out in discrete regions, without ongoing standardization.
The Berber languages may be classified. Ethnic historical correspondence is suggested by the designation |Tribe|. I. Guanche -. II. Old Libyan -. III. Berber Proper. A. Eastern: Siwa, Sokna -. B. Tuareg -. |Sanhaja| C. Western: Zenaga -. |Sanhaja| D. Northern Berber languages -. 1. Atlas: Shilha, Central Morocco Tamazight -. |Masmuda| 2. Kabyle -. |Sanhaja| 3. Zenati -. |Zenata|Nota Bene: The classification and nomenclature of Berber languages l
Algeria the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, to the north by the Mediterranean Sea; the country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 1,541 communes. It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries. Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Carthaginians, Vandals, Umayyads, Idrisid, Rustamid, Zirid, Almoravids, Spaniards and the French colonial empire. Berbers are the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Algeria is a middle power.
It supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest defence budget on the continent. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union. On 2 April 2019, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after nearly 20 years in power, following pressure from the country’s army after mass protests against Bouteflika's campaign for a fifth term; the country's name derives from the city of Algiers. The city's name in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazā'ir, a truncated form of the older Jazā'ir Banī Mazghanna, employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi. In the region of Ain Hanech, early remnants of hominid occupation in North Africa were found.
Neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles similar to those in the Levant. Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian; the earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian. This industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghreb as early as 11,000 BC or as late as between 6000 and 2000 BC; this life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period. The mixture of peoples of North Africa coalesced into a distinct native population that came to be called Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa. From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast.
These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages. As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing and political organization supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew, but territorial expansion resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others. By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War, they succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa. The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars.
In 146 BC the city of Carthage was destroyed. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BC, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Moulouya River in modern-day Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean; the high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium was reached during the reign of Masinissa in the 2nd century BC. After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were reunited several times. Masinissa's line survived until 24 AD, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire. For several centuries Algeria was ruled by the Romans. Like the rest of No
The Ibadi Movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya known as the Ibadis, is a school of Islam dominant in Oman. It is found in parts of Algeria, Tunisia and East Africa; the movement is said to have been founded around the year 650 CE or about 20 years after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, predating both the Sunni and Shia denominations. Modern historians trace back the origins of the denomination to a moderate current of the Khawarij movement; the school derives its name from ʿAbdu l-Lāh ibn Ibāḍ of the Banu Tamim. Ibn Ibad was responsible for breaking off from the wider Kharijite movement around the time that Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the fifth Umayyad ruler, took power. However, the true founder was Jābir ibn Zayd of Oman. Ibadi theology developed in Basra, Iraq; the Ibadis opposed the rule of the third caliph in Islam, Uthman ibn Affan, but unlike the more extreme Kharijites the Ibadis rejected the murder of Uthman as well as the Kharijite belief that all Muslims holding differing viewpoints were infidels.
The Ibadis were among the more moderate groups opposed to the fourth caliph and wanted to return Islam to its form prior to the conflict between Ali and Muawiyah I. Due to their opposition to the Umayyad Caliphate, the Ibadis attempted an armed insurrection starting in the Hijaz region in the 740s. Caliph Marwan II led a 4,000 strong army and routed the Ibadis first in Mecca in Sana'a in Yemen, surrounded them in Shibam in western Hadhramaut. Problems back in their heartland of Syria forced the Umayyads to sign a peace accord with the Ibadis, the sect was allowed to retain a community in Shibam for the next four centuries while still paying taxes to Ibadi authorities in Oman. For a period after Marwan II's death, Jabir ibn Zayd maintained a friendship with Umayyad general Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who supported the Ibadis as a counterbalance to more extreme Kharijites. Ibn Zayd ordered the assassination of one of Al-Hajjaj's spies, in reaction many Ibadis were imprisoned or exiled to Oman, it was during the 8th century.
The position was an elected one, as opposed to Shi'a dynasties where rule was inherited. These imams exerted political and military functions. By the year 900, Ibadism had spread to Sind, Hadhramaut, Oman proper, the Nafusa Mountains, Qeshm; the last Ibadis of Shibam were expelled by the Sulayhid dynasty in the 12th century. In the 14th century, historian Ibn Khaldun made reference to vestiges of Ibadi influence in Hadhramaut, though the sect no longer exists in the region today. Despite predating all Sunni and Shia schools by several decades, the Ibadis and their beliefs remain a mystery to outsiders, both non-Muslims and other Muslims. Ibadis have claimed, with justification, that while they read the works of both Sunnis and Shias the learned scholars of those two sects never read Ibadi works and repeat myths and false information when they address the topic of Ibadism without performing proper research; the isolated nature of Oman granted the Ibadi denomination, secretive by nature, the perfect environment to develop in isolation from the Islamic mainstream.
Ibadis were cut off from the Kharijite sect because of Ibn Ibaḍ's criticism of their excesses and his rejection of their more extreme beliefs. The spread of Ibadism in Oman represents the triumph of theology over tribal feudalism and conflict. Ibadis have been referred to as tolerant Puritans or as political quietists because of their preference to solve differences through dignity and reason rather than with confrontation, as well as their tolerance for practising Christians, Hindus and Jews sharing their communities. Muscat, Oman presently has Churches and Gurudwaras. Ibadism's movement from Hijaz to Iraq and further out made Ibadi historian al-Salimi once write that Ibadism is a bird whose egg was laid in Medina, hatched in Basra and flew to Oman. Ibadis state, with reason, that their school predates that of mainstream Islamic schools, Ibadism is thus considered to be an early and orthodox interpretation of Islam. Ibāḍīs have several doctrinal differences with other denominations of Islam, chief among them: God will not show himself to Muslims on the Day of Judgment, a belief shared with Shias.
Sunnis believe. The Quran was created by God at a certain point in time; this belief is shared with the Mutazila, whereas Sunnīs hold the Quran to be co-eternal with God, as exemplified by the suffering of Ahmad ibn Hanbal during the miḥnah. Like the Mutazila and Shias, they interpret anthropomorphic references to God in the Qur'an symbolically rather than literally, their views on predestination are like the Ashari Sunnis. It is unnecessary to have one leader for the entire Muslim world, if no single leader is fit for the job, Muslim communities can rule themselves; that is different from the Shia belief of Imamah. It is not necessary for the ruler of the Muslims to be descended from the Quraysh tribe, the tribe of the Muslim prophet Muhammad; that is different from Shias They believe it is acceptable to conceal one's beliefs under certain circumstances, analogous to the Shia taqiyya. Ibadis agree with Sunnis, regarding Abu Umar ibn al-Khattab as rightly-guided caliphs, they regard the fir
Praetorian prefecture of Africa
The praetorian prefecture of Africa was a major administrative division of the Eastern Roman Empire located in the Maghreb. With its seat centered at Carthage, it was established after the reconquest of northwestern Africa from the Vandals in 533–534 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, it continued to exist until the late 580s. In 533, the Roman army under Belisarius defeated and destroyed the Vandal Kingdom that had existed in the former Roman territories of Northern Africa. After the victory, in April 534, the emperor Justinian published a law concerning the administrative organization of the newly acquired territories; the old provinces of the Roman Diocese of Africa had been preserved by the Vandals, but large parts, including all of Mauretania Tingitana, much of Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Sitifensis and large parts of the interior of Numidia and Byzacena, had been lost to the inroads of Berber tribes, collectively called the Mauri. Justinian restored the old administrative division, but raised the overall governor at Carthage to the supreme administrative rank of praetorian prefect, thereby ending the Diocese of Africa's traditional subordination to the Prefecture of Italy.
Seven provinces – four consular, three praesides – were designated: From the aforesaid city, with the aid of God, seven provinces with their judges shall be controlled, of which Tingi, Carthage and Tripoli under the jurisdiction of proconsuls, shall have consular rulers. It should be assumed that Mauretania Tingitana, traditionally part of the Diocese of Spain, was temporarily extinguished as a separate province in Justinian's arrangement and merged with Mauretania Caesariensis to form the province ruled from Tingi, that "Mauretania" refers to Mauretania Sitifensis, it is noteworthy that the island of Sardinia was part of Africa rather than Italy. Justinian's intent was to, in the words of the historian J. B. Bury, "wipe out all traces of the Vandal conquest, as if it had never been"; the churches were restored to the Chalcedonian clergy, the remaining Arians suffered persecution. The land ownership was reverted to the status prior to the Vandalic conquest, but the scarcity of valid property titles after 100 years of Vandal rule created an administrative and judicial chaos.
The military administration was headed by the new post of magister militum Africae, with a subordinate magister peditum and four regional frontier commands under duces. This organization was only established, as the Romans pushed the Mauri back and regained these territories; when the Romans landed in Africa, the Moors maintained a neutral stance, but after the quick Roman victories, most of their tribes pledged loyalty to the Empire. The most significant tribes were the Leuathae in Tripolitania, the Frexi in Byzacena; the Frexi and their allies were led by Antalas. The Aurasii in Numidia were ruled by Iaudas, the Mauretanian Moors were led by Mastigas and Masuna. After Belisarius departed for Constantinople, he was succeeded as magister militum Africae by his domesticus, the eunuch Solomon from Dara; the tribes of Mauri living in Byzacena and Numidia immediately rose up, Solomon set out with his forces, which included allied Moorish tribes, against them. The situation was so critical that Solomon was entrusted with civil authority, replacing the first prefect, Archelaus, in the autumn of 534.
Solomon was able to defeat the Mauri of Byzacena at Mamma, again, decisively, at the battle of Mt. Bourgaon in early 535. In the summer, he campaigned against Iabdas and the Aurasii, who were ravaging Numidia, but failed to achieve any result. Solomon set about erecting forts along the borders and the main roads, hoping to contain the raids of the Moors. In the Easter of 536 however, a large-scale military revolt broke out, caused by dissatisfaction of the soldiers with Solomon. Solomon, together with Procopius, who worked as his secretary, was able to escape to Sicily, which had just been conquered by Belisarius. Solomon's lieutenants Martinus and Theodore were left behind, the first to try to reach the troops at Numidia, the second to hold Carthage. Upon hearing about the mutiny, with Solomon and 100 picked men, set sail for Africa. Carthage was being besieged by 9,000 rebels, including many Vandals, under a certain Stotzas. Theodore was contemplating capitulation; the news of the famous general's arrival were sufficient for the rebels to abandon the siege and withdraw westwards.
Belisarius, although able to muster only 2,000 men gave pursuit and caught up and defeated the rebel forces at Membresa. The bulk of the rebels however was able to flee, continued to march towards Numidia, where the local troops decided to join them. Belisarius himself was forced to return to Italy, Justinian appointed his cousin Germanus as magister militum to deal with the crisis. Germanus managed to win over many of the rebels to his side by appearing conciliatory and paying their arrears. In the spring of 537, the two armies clashed at Scalae Veteres, resulting in a hard-won victory for Germanus. Stotzas fled to the tribesmen of Mauretania, Germanus spent the next two years in re-establishing discipline in the army. Justinian judg
Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified form of the old Nabataean script. Kufic developed around the end of the 7th century in Kufa, from which it takes its name, other centres. Kufic was prevalent in manuscripts from the 7th to 10th centuries; until about the 11th century it was the main script used to copy the Qur'an. Professional copyists employed a particular form of kufic for reproducing the earliest surviving copies of the Qur'an, which were written on parchment and date from the 8th to 10th centuries. Kufic is seen on Seljuk coins and monuments and on early Ottoman coins, its decorative character led to its use as a decorative element in several public and domestic buildings constructed prior to the Republican period in Turkey. The current flag of Iraq includes a kufic rendition of the takbir; the flag of Iran has the takbir written in white square kufic script a total of 22 times on the fringe of both the green and red bands. Square or geometric Kufic is a simplified rectangular style of Kufic used for tiling.
In Iran sometimes entire buildings are covered with tiles spelling sacred names like those of God and Ali in square Kufic, a technique known as banna'i."Pseudo-Kufic" "Kufesque", refers to imitations of the Kufic script, made in a non-Arabic context, during the Middle Ages or the Renaissance: "Imitations of Arabic in European art are described as pseudo-Kufic, borrowing the term for an Arabic script that emphasizes straight and angular strokes, is most used in Islamic architectural decoration". Mashq script Hijazi script Ancient South Arabian script Ancient North Arabian script Thuluth Naskh Tawqi Muhaqqaq Rayhan Persian calligraphy Mack, Rosamond E. Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300–1600, University of California Press, 2001 ISBN 0-520-22131-1 Wolfgang Kosack: Islamische Schriftkunst des Kufischen. Geometrisches Kufi in 593 Schriftbeispielen. Deutsch – Kufi – Arabisch. Christoph Brunner, Basel 2014, ISBN 978-3-906206-10-3. Square Kufic lectures: alphabet, square designs Kufic manuscript alphabet On The Origins Of The Kufic Script Kufic Script Square Kufic Script Square Kufic Square Kufic explained
Berbers, or Amazighs are an ethnic group of several nations indigenous to North Africa and in some northern parts of Western Africa. Berbers constitute the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, northern Mali, northern Niger, a small part of western Egypt. Berber nations are distributed over an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River in West Africa. Berber nations spoke the Berber language, a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. There are about 100 million Berbers in North Africa, but only some 25–30 million of them still speak the Berber language; the number of ethnic Berbers is far greater than the speakers of the Berber language, as a large part of the Berbers have lost their ancestral language and switched to other languages over the course of many decades or centuries. The majority of North Africa's population west of Egypt is believed to be Berber in ethnic origin, although due to Arabization and Islamization some ethnic Berbers identify as Arabized Berbers.
Most Berber people who speak Berber today live in Morocco, Libya, northern Mali, northern Niger. Smaller Berber-speaking populations are found in Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Egypt's Siwa town. There are large immigrant Berber communities living in France, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries of Europe; the majority of Berbers are Sunni Muslim. Although, since some Berbers have converted to Shia Islam and atheism; the Berber identity is wider than language and ethnicity and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not an homogeneous ethnicity, they encompass a range of societies and lifestyles; the unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history. Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en meaning "free people" or "noble men"; the name had its ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for Berbers such as Mazices. Some of the best known of the ancient Berbers are the Numidian king Masensen, king Yugerten, the Berber-Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, the Berber-Roman general Lusius Quietus, instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117 in ancient Israel.
The Berber queen Dihya, or Kahina, was a religious and political leader who led a military Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in Northwest Africa. Kusaila was a 7th-century leader of the Berber Awerba tribe and King of the Iẓnagen confederation and resisted the Arab-Muslim invasion. Yusef U Tashfin was a Muslim king of the Berber Almoravid dynasty. Abbas Ibn Firnas was a Berber-Andalusian prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation. Ben Bettota was a medieval Berber explorer who departed from Tanja and traveled the longest known distances of his time and chronicled his impressions of hundreds of nations and cultures; the name Berber derives from an ancient Egyptian language term meaning "outlander" or variations thereof. The exonym was adopted by the Greeks, with a similar connotation. Among its oldest written attestations, Berber appears as an ethnonym in the 1st century AD Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. Despite these early manuscripts, certain modern scholars have argued that the term only emerged around 900 AD in the writings of Arab genealogists, with Maurice Lenoir positing an 8th or 9th century date of appearance.
The English term was introduced in the 19th century. The Berbers are the Mauri cited by the Chronicle of 754 during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, to become since the 11th century the catch-all term Moros on the charters and chronicles of the expanding Christian Iberian kingdoms to refer to the Andalusi, the north Africans, the Muslims overall. For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo the name Amazigh could be derived from the name of the ancestor Mezeg, the translation of biblical ancestor Dedan son of Sheba in the Targum. According to Leo Africanus, Amazigh meant "free man", though this has been disputed, because there is no root of M-Z-Gh meaning "free" in modern Berber languages; this dispute, however, is based on a lack of understanding of the Berber language as "Am-" is a prefix meaning "a man, one, " Therefore, the root required to verify this endonym would be zigh, "free", which however is missing from Tamazight's lexicon, but may be related to the well attested aze "strong", Tizzit "bravery", or jeghegh "to be brave, to be courageous".
Further, it has a cognate in the Tuareg word Amajegh, meaning "noble". This term is common in Morocco among Central Atlas and Shilah speakers in 1980, but elsewhere within the Berber homeland sometimes a local, more particular term, such as Kabyle or Chaoui, is more used instead in Algeria; the Egyptians, Greeks and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" in the areas where Berbers were found. Tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are still related to the modern Amazigh; the Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field. Scholars believe it would be the same tribe called a few centuries afterwards in Greek as Mazyes by Hektaios and as Maxyes by Herodotus, while it was called after that Mazaces and Mazax in Latin sources, related to the Massylii and Masaesyli. All those names are similar and foreign renditions of the