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Old April 13th, 2012, 06:29 PM   #1

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The Importance of Africa in the Graerco--Roman World!


I know already that Ancient Egypt served as the host of the Major capital or as it were Manhattan of Hellenism during the Ptolemaic era---Alexandria. I also know that Ancient Egypt was the bread basket of both Greece and Rome. The fate of Roman emperors actually depended on Grain Shipments from Egypt. Egypt may have also been one of the richest if not the richest commercial centres of Ancient Rome.

Click the image to open in full size.

Alexander the great as Pharaoh. It is believed that after the Kemetic conquest, he ruled the world effectively as a pharaoh, as he went through all the elaborate ceremonies to be crowned as pharaoh.

However, when it comes to the other parts of North Africa I remain confused. I am still yet to fully understand the relationship between Rome and its Northern African provinces, such as Numidia. There were African Roman Emperors i know; I want to know the importance of these North African emperors in Roman history. Did Augustus adopt a north African Prince as a son?

And i read somewhere that war elephants used by the Greeks and Romans were derived from Sudanic Meroe. And also in Meroe we know that the local culture was heavily influenced by Hellenism. And did a one-eyed Meroite Queen defeat Augustus?

And what about Axum? I understand that Axum reached the heights of its Glory through taking advantage of Greek Trade and adopted coinage from Greece. I also read in Munro-Hay the fusion of Axumite gods with the Greek God of War --Ares. And ofcourse there is Homer who mentions Ethiopia(Sudan) as a place dear to the hearts of Greek Gods.

But I am especially interested in learning more about the North African provinces besides Kemet--the land of the Moors. I would appreciate the education. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by mansamusa; April 13th, 2012 at 06:40 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 06:42 PM   #2

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Egypt was actually a poor province if compared to the core regions of the Empire, according to the archaeological remains and literary evidence preserved in the papyrus. Wages were lower and houses were smaller than in Greece and Italy. However, the rest of the empire also wasn't as developed as Greece and Italy, so Egypt may have been typical for a province of median level of development.

I guess that North Africa was richer. Houses escavated in Africa compare well with Italian houses:


Overall, the African provinces of the Roman Empire had a large proportion of the population of the Empire (about 20%) and two of the largest cities, Carthage and Alexandria. They were a very important part of the Empire and were actually much more important the the Northern European parts.

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Old April 13th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #3

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The African emperor you are thinking of is Septimius Severus, who ruled in the late 2nd/early 3rd century AD, so no, he wasn't adopted by Augustus. He wasn't African ethnically speaking, however. On one side he had Italian ancestry, on the other he had Punic ancestry.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 07:02 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Egypt was actually a poor province if compared to the core regions of the Empire, according to the archaeological remains and literary evidence preserved in the papyrus. Wages were lower and houses were smaller than in Greece and Italy. However, the rest of the empire also wasn't as developed as Greece and Italy, so Egypt may have been typical for a province of median level of development.

I guess that North Africa was richer. Houses escavated in Africa compare well with Italian houses:

Houses of the Roman elite: Africa (5/6) - YouTube

Overall, the African provinces of the Roman Empire had a large proportion of the population of the Empire (about 20%) and two of the largest cities, Carthage and Alexandria. They were a very important part of the Empire and were actually much more important the the Northern European parts.
Ancient Egypt you could say was a major if not the major source of the wealth which enabled Romans to build such large houses in Italy. The Greeks and Romans were brutally efficient in gleaning Egptian wealth. Its no wonder if Houses in Egypt were smaller. The wealth of the land served foreign masters, obviously.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 07:33 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by pixi666 View Post
The African emperor you are thinking of is Septimius Severus, who ruled in the late 2nd/early 3rd century AD, so no, he wasn't adopted by Augustus. He wasn't African ethnically speaking, however. On one side he had Italian ancestry, on the other he had Punic ancestry.
Thanks. But am sure I read somewhere about Augustus adopting a North African Prince; I may be mistaken. But to me when it comes to the ethnicity of Carthage, how sure are we about these questions? We know that Carthage was a Phoenecian transplant on African Soil; but the little research i have read point out that a signifigant portion of Carthiginians may have been ethnically African.

There is study about the Punic island of Ibiza; off the coast of Iberia where according to the writers:

Quote:

it is also
worth noting that the name ‘Ibiza’ derives from a Phoenician-Punic word linked to god Bes
(Solá, 1956; Tarradell and Font, 1975: 232-233). This god has been represented in many

of Ibiza’s Punic artefacts such as coins (see Planas
et al., 1989). This deity, originally from
the Egyptian pantheon, seems to have its roots in Equatorial Africa.

THE PRESENCE OF AFRICAN INDIVIDUALS
IN PUNIC POPULATIONS FROM THE ISLAND
OF IBIZA (SPAIN): CONTRIBUTIONS FROM

PHYSICALANTHROPOLOGY
Nicholas Márquez-Grant

Ths study reveals that biologically the majority of individulas in certain grave sites were of African origin. And i find it difficult to imagine that a snall colinial Punic population would completely or significantly replace the local African population:

Quote:

This means that the skulls represented
in the above table, the most complete ones in each sample, comprise 60% {for blacks}and
56.2% {for whites}of each population respectively.

It may have been simply a case of the Africans adopting the punic culture. Like it was the case with Arabian influence in North Africa. There is this Carthiginian Coinage feturing a black elephant rider:

Click the image to open in full size.

This could have been quite representative of the face of Carthage.

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Old April 13th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mansamusa View Post
Thanks. But am sure I read somewhere about Augustus adopting a North African Prince; I may be mistaken.
I don't think Augustus ever did adopt a North African prince. If he did, I've never come across that particular tidbit, and I can't find anything on the internet about it.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #7

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Originally Posted by pixi666 View Post
I don't think Augustus ever did adopt a North African prince. If he did, I've never come across that particular tidbit, and I can't find anything on the internet about it.
I may have been mistaken then.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:08 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mansamusa View Post
There is study about the Punic island of Ibiza; off the coast of Iberia where according to the writers:


THE PRESENCE OF AFRICAN INDIVIDUALS
IN PUNIC POPULATIONS FROM THE ISLAND
OF IBIZA (SPAIN): CONTRIBUTIONS FROM
PHYSICALANTHROPOLOGY
Nicholas Márquez-Grant

Ths study reveals that biologically the majority of individulas in certain grave sites were of African origin. And i find it difficult to imagine that a snall colinial Punic population would completely or significantly replace the local African population:
Here is the full paragraph from the study you quoted, along with a link to the full study to those who might be interested in reading it.
http://www.raco.cat/index.php/mayurq.../122749/169902

Quote:
A variety of results is present above in terms of probability, typicality and group categories. Those skulls providing a high probability (>80%) and high typicality (>80%) can be identified through the American reference sample as individuals of Caucasian or sub-Saharan ancestry. This is only provided by skull PORT-V identified as ‘White female’. However, skulls VR47/U30, PCHN-H10, PORT-III, PORT-IV, CNE-5 and perhaps PCHNH7 portray convincing results, all having fairly high probabilities and typicalities. Three of these skulls were classified as ‘Black’, likely proving the presence of individuals in the Ibizan populations with sub-Saharan ancestry. Moreover, although the sample is small, it seems that both urban and rural contexts include individuals of sub-Saharan African ancestry. Both male and female skulls were classified in this group. A further discovery appears to be a clear difference between the PORT site and the CNE site in terms of results. The anthropological report for the former cemetery indicated a minimum number of 15 individuals (González-Martín and Lalueza, 1992), and the latter a minimum number of 16 adult individuals (González-Martín and Lalueza, 2001). This means that the skulls represented in the above table, the most complete ones in each sample, comprise 60% and 56.2% of each population respectively. This is insufficient to allow any final interpretation, but it may reveal a more homogenous population in the northern site (PORT) than the other site (CNE). In the PORT sample only one individual (1/9 = 11.1%) is classified as having sub-Saharan ancestry, while in the latter there are more individuals classified in this category (6/9 = 66.6%).
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:30 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaddam IV View Post
Here is the full paragraph from the study you quoted, along with a link to the full study to those who might be interested in reading it.
http://www.raco.cat/index.php/mayurq.../122749/169902

Thanks for the elaboration Shadam. I must admit l havent fully digested the report. I just went mostly by what I read from Jehosophats. You remeber the last debate about the skin complexion of the Moorsm which I believe you participated in. Am gonna do now what I should have done forn the start. quote Jehosophats:

Quote:
And this reminds me of passages I've read on the remains of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians:

The Phoenicians had nothing in common with the official Jewish type: brachycephal, aquiline or Hittite nose, and so on [...] skulls presumably Phoenician, have been found west of Syracuse [...] but these skulls are dolichocephalic and proganthous, with Negroid affinities"

"Other bones discovered in Punic Carthage, and housed in the Lavigerie Museum, come from personages found in special sarcophagi and probably belonging to the Carthaginian elite. Almost all the skulls are dolichocephalic."

-Eugene Pittard "Les races et L' histoire"



The anthropological examination of skeletons found in tombs in Carthage proves that there is no racial unity [...] The so called Semitic type, characterized by the long, perfectly oval face, the thin aquiline nose and the lengthened cranium, enlarged over the nape of the neck has not been found in Carthage. On the other hand, another cranial form, with a fairly short face, prominent parietal bumps, farther forward and lower down than is usual is common [...] most of the Punic population in Carthage had African and even Negro ancestors"

- Charles Picard "Daily Life in Carthage at the time of Hannibal"



I initially considered these sources somewhat outdated, but a recent study on remains from Ibiza sources Picard. Interestingly, the name Ibiza "seems to have its roots in Equatorial Africa".

The study is interesting because the data they use to compare ancient "Punic" skulls in Ibiza are plotted against American categories. While noting we should consider this with caution, the study proceeds to approximate ancient skulls with categories such as "white male", "black female", "black male", "white female". The results are pretty revealing. The two skulls derived from urban tombs are BF and BM. All the others skulls are derived from rural Ibiza, and the total goes as follows:

WM: 4
WF: 7
BM: 9
BF: 4

Were it not for badly degraded skeletons and so many cremated remains, this would surely give us a fuller picture of the Punic world. While craniometrical studies are very useful, they say nothing at all about things like skin color. Whatever the case, this is an interesting find.
http://www.historum.com/middle-easte...tml#post439627

Thats what I like the most about Historum. The things one can learn.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 09:27 PM   #10

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Mansamusa:


Quote:
This means that the skulls represented


in the above table, the most complete ones in each sample, comprise 60% {for blacks}and


56.2% {for whites}of each population respectively.




I think Shaddam is trying to point out in his post that the two group of skulls are not divided between black and white in this sentence but between two sites, which would be correct. It was reference to figures in a table; where the repective percentages makes reference to the proportion of Skulls from the two sites deemed the "most complete" and amenable for scientific use.

The two sites in question are Cas Hurat, San Antonio Ibiza(PORT); and Ca 'n Eloi Santa Eularia (CNE), if am not still mistaken.

The Jehosaphats quote would be more accurate.

Last edited by mansamusa; April 13th, 2012 at 09:47 PM.
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