Archeology in Algeria
The archeology in Algeria is rich in prehistoric memorials of human occupation. Algeria contains many Roman is rich in monuments of Saracenic art. Algeria has many megalithic remains. Numerous flints of palaeolithic type have been discovered, notably at Kolea. Near Djelfa, in the Great Atlas, at Mechra-Sfa, a peninsula in the valley of the river Mina not far from Tiaret, are vast numbers of megalithic monuments. Notable among the prehistoric cultures of the area is the Capsian culture, whose shell-mounds are found throughout the north. Madghacen is a monument older, it was built around 150 B. C. as the burial place of the Numidian kings, is situated 35 miles southwest of Constantine. The form is that of a truncated cone, placed on 196 ft in diameter, it is 60 ft high. The columns encircling the cylindrical portion are stunted and much broader at the base than the top. Many of the columns, 60 in number, have been much damaged; when the sepulchral chamber was opened in 1873 by Bauchetet, a French engineer officer, clear evidence was found that at some remote period the tomb had been rifled and an attempt made to destroy it by fire.
The Qabr-er-Rumia-- best known by its French name, Tombeau de la Chrétienne, tradition making it the burial-place of Florinda, la Cava Rumía, the beautiful and unfortunate daughter of Count Julian—is near Kolea, is known to be the tomb of the Mauretanian king Juba II and of his wife Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. It is built on a hill 756 ft above the sea. A circular stone building surmounted by a pyramid rests on 209 ft square; the monument was about 130 ft in height, but it has been wantonly damaged. Its height is now 100 ft 8 in: the cylindrical portion 36 ft 6 in, the pyramid 64 ft 2 in The base, 198 ft in diameter, is ornamented with 60 engaged Ionic columns; the capitals of the columns have disappeared, but their design is preserved among the drawings of James Bruce, the African traveller. In the centre of the tomb are two vaulted chambers, reached by a spiral passage or gallery 6 1⁄2 ft broad, about the same height, 489 ft long; the sepulchral chambers are separated by a short passage, are cut off from the gallery by stone doors made of a single slab which can be moved up and down by levers, like a portcullis.
The larger of the two chambers is 142 ft long by 11 11 ft high. The other chamber is somewhat smaller; the tomb was looted in search of treasure. In 1555, Salah Rais, pasha of Algiers, set men to work to pull it down, but the records say that the attempt was given up because big black wasps came from under the stones and stung them to death. At the end of the 18th century, Baba Mahommed tried in vain to batter down the tomb with artillery. In 1866 it was explored by order of the emperor Napoleon III, the work being carried out by Adrien Berbrugger and Oscar Maccarthy; the Jedars is the name given to a number of sepulchral monuments placed on hill-tops. A rectangular or square podium is in each case surmounted by a pyramid; the tombs date from the 5th to the 7th century of the Christian era, lie in two distinct groups between Tiaret and Frenda. Frenda, which has preserved its old Berber character, has numerous dolmens and prehistoric rock sculptures close by. Tassili n'Ajjer is a national park in the Sahara desert, located on a vast plateau in south-east Algeria, covering an area of over 72,000 km2.
It has one of the most important groupings of prehistoric cave art in the world, was inducted into UNESCO's World Heritage Site list in 1982. Tassili n'Ajjer is known in the New Age culture for its Fungoid rock art, the primitive yet elaborate drawings of psychedelic mushrooms that hints on a shamanic consumption of those plants by the native people of this land. Lambessa Tebessa Tipasa Timgad Thubursicum: Well-preserved Roman theater Beni Hammad Fort In 2009, when the Place des Martyrs in Algiers was closed to build the subway station and French archeologists found a 5th century basilica below layers of concrete. In November 2018, archeologists in Algeria announced the discovery, on the site of Ain Boucherit near Sétif, of what seems to be stone tools and cut animal bones dated back to 2.4 million years old. This discovery turned Ain Boucherit into the oldest human site known today, shook the theory of East Africa being the craddle of humanity. Prehistory of Central North Africa
The Zirid dynasty was a Sanhaja Berber dynasty from modern-day Algeria which ruled the central Maghreb from 972 to 1014 and Ifriqiya from 972 to 1148. Descendants of Ziri ibn Menad, a military leader of the Cairo-based Fatimid Caliphate and the eponymous founder of the dynasty, the Zirids were Emirs who ruled in the name of the Fatimids; the Zirids established their autonomy in Ifriqiya through military conquest until breaking with the Fatimids in the mid-11th century. The rule of the Zirid emirs opened the way to a period in North African history where political power was held by Berber dynasties such as the Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Zayyanid dynasty, Marinid dynasty and Hafsid dynasty. Continuing their conquests to Fez and much of modern-day Morocco in 980, the Zirids encountered resistance from the local Zenata Berbers, who gave their allegiance to the Caliphate of Cordoba. Various Zirid branches did however rule the central Maghreb; this branch of the Zirids, at the beginning of the 11th century, following various family disputes, broke away as the Hammadids and took control of the territories of the central Maghreb.
The Zirids proper were designated as Badicides and occupied only Ifriqiyah between 1048 and 1148. Part of the dynasty fled to al-Andalus and founded, in 1019, the Taifa of Granada on the ruins of the Caliphate of Cordoba; the Zirids of Granada were again defeated by the expansion of the Almoravids, who annexed their kingdom in 1090, while the Badicides and the Hammadids remained independent. Following the recognition of the Sunni Muslim Abbasid Caliphate and the assertion of Ifriqiya and the Central Maghreb as independent kingdoms of Sunni obedience in 1048, the Fatimids masterminded the migration of the Hilalians to the Maghreb. In the 12th century, the Hilalian invasions combined with the attacks of the Normans of Sicily on the littoral weakened Zirid power; the Almohad caliphate conquered the central Maghreb and Ifriqiya in 1152, thus unifying the whole of the Maghreb and ending the Zirid dynasties. The Zirids were Sanhaja Berbers originating from the area of modern Algeria. In the 10th century this tribe served as vassals of the Fatimid Caliphate, defeating the Kharijite rebellion of Abu Yazid, under Ziri ibn Manad.
Ziri was installed as the governor of central Maghreb and founded the gubernatorial residence of Ashir south-east of Algiers, with Fatimid support. When the Fatimids moved their capital to Egypt in 972, Ziri's son Buluggin ibn Ziri was appointed viceroy of Ifriqiya; the removal of the fleet to Egypt made the retention of Kalbid Sicily impossible, while Algeria broke away under the governorship of Hammad ibn Buluggin, Buluggin's son. The relationship with their Fatimid overlords varied - in 1016 thousands of Shiites lost their lives in rebellions in Ifriqiya, the Fatimids encouraged the defection of Tripolitania from the Zirids, but the relationship remained close. In 1049 the Zirids broke away by adopting Sunni Islam and recognizing the Abbasids of Baghdad as rightful Caliphs, a move, popular with the urban Arabs of Kairouan; the Zirid period of Tunisia is considered a high point in its history, with agriculture, industry and learning, both religious and secular, all flourishing in their capital, Kairouan.
Management of the area by Zirid rulers was neglectful as the agricultural economy declined, prompting an increase in banditry among the rural population. When the Zirids renounced Shia Islam and recognized the Abbasid Caliphate in 1048, the Fatimids sent the Arab tribes of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym to Ifriqiya; the Zirids were defeated, the land laid waste by the Bedouin conquerors. The resulting anarchy devastated the flourishing agriculture, the coastal towns assumed a new importance as conduits for maritime trade and bases for piracy against Christian shipping, as well as being the last holdout of the Zirids. After the loss of Kairouan the rule of the Zirids was limited to a coastal strip with Mahdia as the capital, while several Bedouin Emirates formed inland. Between 1146 and 1148 the Normans of Sicily conquered all the coastal towns, in 1152 the last Zirids in Algeria were superseded by the Almohad Caliphate; the Zirid period is a time of great economic prosperity. The departure of the Fatimids to Cairo, far from ending this prosperity, saw its amplification under the Zirid and Hammadid rulers.
Referring to the government of the Zirid Emir al-Mu'izz, the historian Ibn Khaldun describes: "It never seen by the Berbers of that country a kingdom more vast and more flourishing than his own." The northern regions produced wheat in large quantities, while the region of Sfax was a major hub of olive production and the cultivation of the date is an important part of the local economy in Biskra. Other crops such as sugar cane, cotton, sorghum and chickpea are grown; the breeding of horses and sheep was flourishing and fishing was active, providing plentiful food. The Mediterranean is an important part of the economy though it was, for a time, abandoned after the departure of the Fatimids when the priority of the Zirid Emirs turned to territorial and internal conflicts, their maritime policy enabled them to establish trade links, in particular for the importation of timber necessary for their fleet, enabled them to begin an alliance and close ties with the Kalbid Emirs of Sicily. They did, face blockade attempts by the Venetians and Normans who sought to reduce their wood supply and thus their dominance in the region.
The Arab chronicler Ibn Hawqal visited and described the city of Algiers under the Zirid er
The Hammadid dynasty was a Sanhaja Berber dynasty that ruled an area corresponding to north-eastern modern Algeria between 1008 and 1152. Its realm was conquered by the Almohad Caliphate. Soon after coming to power, they rejected the Ismaili doctrine of the Fatimid Caliphate, returned to Maliki Sunnism, acknowledging the Abbasid Caliphate as a rightful caliphate; the Hammadid dynasty's first capital was at Qalaat Beni Hammad. It was founded in 1007, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; when the area was sacked by the Banu Hilal tribe, the Hammadids moved their capital to Béjaïa in 1090. In 1014, Hammad ibn Buluggin, a Berber, placed as governor of the central Maghreb, declared himself independent from the Zirid dynasty; the kingdom at the time ruled most of the region from Modern north Algeria to Tunisia. Hammad obtained recognition from the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad; the Zirids sent an army, but two years a peace was signed, although the Zirid recognized the Hammadid legitimacy only in 1018. Hammad founded a new capital in Qalaat Beni Hammad.
With the Banu Hilal menace rising, they moved it to Béjaïa, which became one of the most prosperous cities in the medieval Mediterranean. Hammad ibn Buluggin, 1014–1028 Qaid ibn Hammad, 1028–1045 Muhsin ibn Qaid, 1045–1046 Buluggin ibn Muhammad, 1046–1062 An-Nasir ibn Alnas, 1062–1088 Al-Mansur ibn Nasir, 1088–1104 Badis ibn Mansur, 1104 Abd al-Aziz ibn Mansur, 1104–1121 Yahya ibn Abd al-Aziz, 1121–1152 List of Sunni Muslim dynasties
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle
Carthage was a Phoenician state that included, during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, its wider sphere of influence known as the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of Northwest Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia and the islands of the western Mediterranean Sea. Phoenicians founded Carthage in 814 BC. A dependency of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Carthage gained independence around 650 BC and established its political hegemony over other Phoenician settlements throughout the western Mediterranean, this lasting until the end of the 3rd century BC. At the height of the city's prominence, it served as a major hub of trade, with trading stations extending throughout the region. For much of its history, Carthage was on hostile terms with the Greeks in Sicily and with the Roman Republic; the city had to deal with hostile Berbers, the indigenous inhabitants of the area where Carthage was built. In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War, Roman forces destroyed Carthage redesigned and occupied the site of the city.
Nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies subsequently fell into Roman hands. According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Dido, founded Carthage circa 814 BC. Queen Elissa was an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, came to be called the "shining city", ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean Sea and leading the Phoenician world. Elissa's brother, Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered the high priest. Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the "new city" of Carthage and subsequently its dominions. Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but the following can be deduced from various sources. According to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Belus II of Tyre; when he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her brother and her. She married her uncle Acerbas known as Sychaeus, the High Priest of Melqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king.
This led to increased rivalry between the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acerbas. Pygmalion assassinated Acerbas in the temple and kept the misdeed concealed from his sister for a long time, deceiving her with lies about her husband's death. At the same time, the people of Tyre called for a single sovereign. In the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Elissa, is first introduced as a esteemed character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule, her subjects present her with a festival of praise. Her character is perceived by Virgil as more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who had escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the messenger god, sent by Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, but to sail to Italy to found Rome. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas tells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword.
As she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas' people and her own: "rise up from my bones, avenging spirit" she says, an invocation of Hannibal. Aeneas goes on to found the Roman Kingdom; the details of Virgil's story do not, form part of the original legend and are significant as an indication of Rome's attitude towards the city she had founded, exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "Carthago delenda est", "Carthage must be destroyed". The Phoenicians established numerous colonial cities along the coasts of the Mediterranean to provide safe harbors for their merchant fleets, to maintain a Phoenician monopoly on an area's natural resources, to conduct trade free of outside interference, they were motivated to found these cities by a desire to satisfy the demand for trade goods or to escape the necessity of paying tribute to the succession of empires that ruled Tyre and Byblos, by fear of complete Greek colonization of that part of the Mediterranean suitable for commerce.
The Phoenicians lacked the population or necessity to establish large self-sustaining cities abroad, most of their colonial cities had fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, but Carthage and a few others developed larger populations. Although Strabo's claim that the Tyrians founded three hundred colonies along the west African coast is exaggerated, colonies were established in Tunisia, Algeria, to a much lesser extent, on the arid coast of Libya; the Phoenicians were active in Cyprus, Corsica, the Balearic Islands and Sicily, as well as on the European mainland at present-day Genoa in Italy and Marseille in present-day France. The settlements at Crete and Sicily were in perpetual conflict with the Greeks, but the Phoenicians managed to control all of Sicily for a limited time; the entire area came under the leadership and protection of Carthage, which in turn dispatched its own colonists to found new cities or to reinforce those that declined with the loss of primacy of Tyre and Sidon. The first colonies were settled on the two paths to Iberia's mineral wealth — along the Northwest African coast and on Sicily and the Ba
The Ifranids called Banu Ifran, Ifran, or the children of the Ifran, were a Zenata Berber tribe prominent in the history of pre-Islamic and early Islamic North Africa. In the 8th century, they established a kingdom in Central Maghreb, Algeria with Tlemcen as its capital; the Banu Ifran resisted or revolted against foreign occupiers—Romans and Byzantines—of their territory in Africa. In the seventh century, they sided with Kahina in her resistance against the Muslim Umayyad invaders. In the eighth century they mobilized around the dogma of sufri, revolting against the Arab Umayyads and Abbasids. In the 10th century they founded a dynasty opposed to the Fatimids, the Zirids, the Umayyads, the Hammadids and the Maghraoua; the Banu Ifran were defeated by the Almoravids and the invading Arabs to the end of the 11th century. The Ifranid dynasty was recognized as the only dynasty that has defended the indigenous people of the Maghreb, by the Romans referred to as the Africani. In 11th century Iberia, the Ifrenid founded a Taifa of Ronda since 1039 at Ronda in Andalusia and governed from Cordoba for several centuries.
The Banu Ifran were one of the four major tribes of the Zenata or Gaetulia confederation, were known as expert cavalrymen. According to Ibn Khaldoun, "Ifrinides" or "Ait Ifren" were resisting Romans and Byzantines who sought to occupy North Africa before the arrival of the Muslim armies. According to Corippus in his Iohannis, during the reign of Justinian I between 547 and 550, the Banu Ifran challenged the Byzantine armies under John Troglita to war, their chief Abu Qurra rebuilt the city of Tlemcen in Algeria in 765. They opposed the Egyptian Fatimid Caliphate, aligning themselves with the Maghrawa tribe and the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, although they themselves became Kharijites. Led by Abu Yazid, they surged east and attacked Kairouan in 945. Another leader, Ya'la ibn Muhammad captured Oran and constructed a new capital, near Mascara. Under the leadership of their able general Jawhar, who killed Ya'la in battle in 954, the Fatimids struck back and destroyed Ifgan, for some time afterward the Banu Ifran reverted to being scattered nomads in perpetual competition with their Sanhaja neighbours.
Some settled in regions such as Málaga. Others, led by Hammama, managed to gain control of the Moroccan province of Tadla. Led by Abu al-Kamāl, they established a new capital at Salé on the Atlantic coast, though this brought them into conflict with the Barghawata tribes on the seaboard. During the 11th century, the Banu Ifran contested with the Maghrawa tribe for the control of Morocco after the fall of the Idrisid dynasty. Ya'la's son Yaddū took Fes by surprise in January 993 and held it for some months until the Maghrawa ruler Ziri ibn Atiyya returned from Spain and reconquered the region. In May or June 1033, Fes was recaptured by Ya'la's grandson Tamīm. Fanatically devoted to religion, he began a persecution of the Jews, is said to have killed 6000 of their men while confiscating their wealth and women, but Ibn Khaldoun says only persecution without killing. Sometime in the period 1038-1040 the Maghrawa tribe retook Fes, forcing Tamīm to flee to Salé. Soon after that time, the Almoravids began their rise to power and conquered both the Banu Ifran and their brother-rivals the Maghrawa.
The name of the Berber dynasty "Ifran" is the plural form of the Berber language word "ifri" or "afri" which means "cave / tunnel". Other possibilities are that their name is derived from one of the major gods of the pagan Berbers, Ifru or Ifrou, or that the name is derived from the region of Yifran in present-day north-west Libya where they may have originated; the name of the Ifran tribe has many alternative spellings, such as Ifuraces or Afar in Latin, or Ifrinidi, Fren, Yefren, Yafren, or Yafran, but all of the names mean "The Sons of Ifri". The Arabic prefix banu- was added by the Muslim writers and is equal to the Berber prefix "ayt" which means: "the sons of" or "those of". Among the Ifran, animism was the principal spiritual philosophy. Ifri was the name of a Berber deity, their name may have an origin in their beliefs. Ifru rites symbolized in caves were held to gain protection for merchants and traders; the myth of this protection is befittingly depicted on Roman coins. Ifru was regarded as cave goddess and protector of the home.
Ifru or Ifran was regarded as a Berber version of Vesta. Dehia referred to as The Kahina was the Dejrawa Berber queen and leader of the non-Muslim response to the advancing Arab armies; some historians claim Kahina was Christian, or a follower of the Judaic faith, though few of the Ifran were Christians after more than half a millennium of Christianity among the urban populations and the more sedentary tribes. Ibn Khaldun states that Ifran were Berbers, says nothing of their religion before the advent of Islam; the Banu Ifran were opposed to the Sunnis of the Arab armies. They converted, but summoned under the Kharidjite movement within Islam. Ibn Khaldun claimed that the "Zenata people say they are Muslims but they still oppose the Arab army.". After 711, the Berbers were systematically converted to Islam and many became devout members of the faith; the Banu Ifran were influential in Spain in the 11th century AD. The Ifran house of Corra ruled the Andalusian city Ronda in Spain. Yeddas was the military leader of the Berber troops who were at war against the Christian king and El Mehdi.
Abu Nour or Nour of the house of Corra became lord of Ronda and Seville in Andalusia from 1023 to 1039 and from 1039 to 1054. The son of Nour bin Badis Hallal ruled Ronda
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