Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tamazightinou: Tamazight (Berber) Mythology

Tamazightinou: Tamazight (Berber) Mythology: Sources of Berber Mythology List of Berber Goddesses & Gods Tannit Amazons Antaeus Gurzil Libya Belus Poseidon Awessu Mytholog...

Tamazight (Berber) Mythology

Sources of Documented Berber Mythology:

A considerable amount of the traditional lore of the matriarchal Berbers is still based on the worship of the Ancestors and the Dead. Most of the Berbers' ancestral doctrines also form an integral part of the jinn lore. Westermarck had pointed out that many of the Berber religious and mythological principles were practiced mostly by Berber women under the disguise of Tomb Worship, where women regularly visit the tombs and perform various rituals in association with the ancient ancestors and the dead, such as receiving sacred prophecy through dreams obtained by sleeping in tombs of holy ancestors. This current practice, according to Herodotus, goes back to the ancient Libyan Nasamon Berbers, and it may even go back much farther in time since sacred traditions are indeed carried forward from previous generations. The ancient Libyan Nasamons took oath at the graves of persons who were reputed for justice and transparency. In addition to tomb-worship, complete traditions from the Berbers' previous mythology remain alive in various traditions and festivals. Saharan prehistoric art, Berber jewellery, Berber folklore and music have all preserved other fragmented elements of Berber belief and mythology. In addition to that, we also have Egyptian and Greek mythologies as a documented source, in which various references to Libyan mythology were preserved for generations to come, such as the worship of Amon, Ament, Antaeus, Bast, Nit, Poseidon and Shu.

List of Berber Mythological Goddesses & Gods:

The Berber Pantheon:
  1. Afri, Afrika: a Berber goddess of fortune and fertility
  2. Ammon: Life-God
  3. Ancestors: a relationship similar to that existing between the totem and the worshipper
  4. Antaeus
  5. Anzar: Rain-God
  6. Ashaman: God: among the ancient Berber Canary Islanders
  7. Atlas: Libyan Mountain-God
  8. Auliswa: worshipped at Pomaria (Tlemcen)
  9. Awessu: Sea-God (?)
  10. Bacax: (cf. Bacchus: Grape-God): dedications found in a grotto of Taia near Calama (Guelma)
  11. Draco
  12. Froarangan: Canarian God of men
  13. Genius of Africa (genius Africae): a female spirit
  14. Guraya: name of a saint in Kabylie
  15. Gurzil: Libyan Sun-God, also god of war, in Syrtes (Sirte)
  16. Idir: name of a divinity; also found in Baliddir
  17. Ifru
  18. Iguc: god of the rain, among the Berghwata of Morocco (cf. Yakush)
  19. Illu: Tuareg god
  20. lesdan
  21. Jnoun: the Jinn
  22. Libya: Goddess of Libya
  23. Lilleus
  24. Lilu: synonymous with rain water
  25. Makurgun
  26. Maqurtam
  27. Masiden
  28. Mastinam: Libyan god associated with Jupiter
  29. Masiddica
  30. Mathamos
  31. [Medusa]: Gorgon Sisters: Serpent-goddess
  32. Mona
  33. Moreyba: Canary Berber goddess of Women
  34. Nabel
  35. Nanna Tala: Nafousah Mountain (Libya) Spring-Goddess
  36. [Poseidon]: Libyan Sea-god
  37. Shaheded: a Libyan goddess
  38. Sinifere: a war god among the Luguata, identified with Mars
  39. Suggan (Seggen)
  40. Tannit: the Libyan Goddess of Weaving, worshipped by the Phoenicians as Tanit
  41. Tiliwa (Tiliva)
  42. Warsutima
  43. Wihinam
  44. Yakush: God
  45. Yam
  46. Yunan
  47. Yur


There is no doubt that the Athena of Herodotus, whom the Amazon worshipped around Lake Tritonis, was none other than the Libyan Goddess Tannit, as shown by the two spears she carries in various depictions, and sometimes by the weaving shuttle.

Libyan Tannit stone
The Libyan Goddess Tannit (Neith)
at Assaraya Alhamra Museum, Tripoli, Libya.

The Arabic text, displayed under the stone, describes the above symbol of Tannit:
Description of the Goddess Tannit in Arabic from the National  Museum in Tripoli's translation of the Arabic text at the Museum: "The Goddess Tannit. Tannit is regarded as one of the most famous and important Punic goddesses in Tripolitania. She is the wife of the Punic god Bal Hamon. She was the goddess of sowing, harvest and fertility, and a sky goddess essentially associated with the moon. Her symbol, known as the symbol of Tannit, is a triangle representing the human body, surmounted by a circle representing the head, and separated by a horizontal line which represents the hands. The worship of the goddess Tannit emerged after the 5th century BC. She appears to be of Libyan origin. This piece is from the 2nd century BC. " [End of translation.]
headless Goddess Athena
Neith (Athena), Tolmeita Musium, Cyrenaica, Libya.
A commanding statue of the Goddess Athena, the Libyan Goddess Neith, the Egyptian Nit.

The Libyan Amazons:

libyan amazons
According to several historical records, the Libyan birthplace of the Goddess Neith was also the traditional homeland of the warrior women known as the Libyan Amazons, in the western parts of Libya, particularly around the legendary Lake Tritonis (southern Tunisia today). The etymology of the name "Amazon" is still undecided, with European enthusiasts deriving the name from Greek Muse, and Berberists linking it with Amazigh and Tamezyant.
The purely matriarchal world of the Amazons was ruled by women warrior-priestesses, in which they followed a manner of life unlike those that which prevailed among other races at the time or those that followed. There were a number of fake tales about removing one of their breasts in order to be able to shoot better (using the arrow & bow) and about abandoning their sons, without presenting any evidence; leading to careful mythographers to suggest that these were no more than mere patriarchal allegations to discredit matriarchy; and hence the whole existence of the Amazons itself was dismissed as "myth".
The Libyan Gorgon Medusa, who often led the Libyans of Lake Tritonis in battle, against her enemies, was said to have once been a beautiful maiden until Poseidon lay with her and incurred the enmity of the goddess Athena, who turned Medusa's lovely hair into serpents and made her face so hideous that a glimpse of it would instantly turn man into stone. Jealous Athena helped brave Perseus, who was coming from Argos with an army, to behead Medusa; and the drops of blood that fell from Medusa's severed head onto the Libyan sand were transformed into snakes.
marble relief of Libyan Amazons
A sarcophagus fragment showing the Libyan Amazons in action.
It was found in Wadi (Valley) Khamish, west of Tolmeita, Cyrenaica, Libya. From the 2nd century AD.

Libyan Antaeus:

libyan antaeus
In Greek mythology, Antaeus was said to be a Libyan giant, son of Poseidon and mother-earth Gaia, and the husband of Tinga, a name often linked with Tangier in Morocco. According to Oric Bates, the above painting was not then recognised as a representation of Libyan Antaeus, who was depicted with typical Berber characters, such as the aquiline nose, dark long hair (projecting over the brow), strongly marked supra-orbital ridges, and the pointed beard. The savage-like teeth were meant to stress the nature of Antaeus, in contrast to the usual soft profile given to Greek characters. The above reproduction (drawn by Oric Bates) does not show the hair detail of Heracles, which he says is darker than the hair of Antaeus. The story goes that during the fight between Antaeus and Heracles, Antaeus draws his energy from the earth on which he stands, and so to defeat him Heracles lifted Antaeus from the ground and held him high above it as to deprive him of recharging his strength, until Antaeus lost all his energy and thus the flame of his life was starved of its motherly source.


Libyan god of the Laguatans on the Syrtes (Sirte), one of the nomadic tribes of Tripolitania. He was said to be the son of the Berber Siwan God Ammon. The Laguatans personified Gurzil in a magical bull (taurus), which they let loose in battle, and thus he was associated with "War". This same god is taken by Dihya (the Berber Kahina of the Auras Mountains) in her battles against the Arabs of the 7th Century.


The Goddess "Libya" had three sons by the Libyan Sea-God Poseidon: Belus, Agenor and Lelex. King Belus ruled at Chemmis or Chamesis of Leo Africanus, Agenor migrated to Cana'an (the Middle East), and Lelex became king of Megara. The myth relates an interesting "deception tale" in which Danaus was sent to rule Libya where he had fifty daughters, and Aegyptus, who had fifty sons, ruled over Egypt.


King Belus, who ruled at Chemmis, was the son of the Goddess Libya by Poseidon, and the twin brother of Agenor and Lelex. His wife Anchinoe, daughter of the Nile-god, Nilus, bore him the twins Aegyptus and Danaus and a third son Cepheus, and one daughter: Lamia, the Libyan Snake-goddess. See Robert Graves (The Greek Myths: I, 200 - 202.


libyan poseidon
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Greeks obtained their knowledge of the Sea-God Poseidon from the Libyans (meaning the Berbers), whose cult was in high repute among the coastwise Libyans, and was especially worshipped about Lake Tritonis; while Plato says Poseidon was the chief God of Atlantis; arguably located near the Atlas Mountain in North Africa. Poseidon's son Triton was also worshipped around the Lake, and, according to Ibid, his female counterpart "Tritonis" bore the Goddess "Athena". Poseidon's wife, Libya, was made the daughter of Zeus's son Epaphus, the divine bull, the Libyan Gurzil.


Awessu was originally a sea ceremony held in the town of Zuwarah, in west Libya, during the period between the end of July and the beginning of August - a name which some linguists mistakenly see as the source of the name Awessu itself. The name could have been a name of a sea deity of some sort, since the associated rite is clearly a religious ceremony to attract the good and banish the bad. The Berbers of Zuwarah take into the sea before sunrise, during the hot summer mornings, purify themselves and their animals too, their wool garments and blankets, obtain the blessing of the sea, and release some of the accumulated sins into the salt. Then they leave the sea and feast by the beach for the remaining of the day. The rite was practiced until the 1980s, after which it began to slowly disappear after the Libyan government and government scholars declared it a pagan festival during which people take to the sea beneath the full moon (of Berber St. Augustine - one of the founding theologians of Christian thought). The festival nowadays is no more than a commercial festivity and musical propaganda, as was the fate of so many feats the Berbers created at the dawn of time. By all means the festival of Awessu is still alive today, not in Libya, but in nearby Tunisia where the inhabitants of Sousa (cf. Awessu) take to the sacred sea only once a year: in the Awessu day, the only magical day of the whole year where the sea takes the shape of a black mirror reflecting the dazzling stars of the Sky.

Libyan Mythology Books & Resources:

  • Herodotus,Histories.
  • Il Berbero Nefusi di Fassato, by Francesco Beguinot, Roma: a collection of Libyan Berber myths and tales in Berber, with Italian translation.
  • Kitab as-Siar, by ash-Shamakhi, Cairo.
  • Essai sur la religion des Libyens, by L. Bertholon (in Revue Tunisienne), 1909.
  • Triton und Euphemos, by Vater, St. Petersburg, 1849.
  • L’Afrique Chretienne, by H. Leclercq, 1904: vol. I (paganism).
  • Poesies Populaires de la Kabylie du Jurjura: Texte Kabyle et Traduction, by Louis Adolphe Hanoteau, 1867.
  • Les Religions de l’Afrique Antique, by Gilbert Charles-Picard, 1954.
  • Spirit Possession And Personhood Among The Kel Ewey Tuareg, by Susan J. Rasmussen.
  • Folklore Twareg, by F. Nicolas, (Bull. Inst. Fr. d'Afrique Noire, t. 6, p. 463, 1944).
  • Poesies Touaregues, by Charles Eugene de Foucauld, ed. Andre basset, 1925.
  • Hoggar: Chants, Fables, Legends, by Angele Maraval Berthoin, 1954.
  • Ritual And Belief In Morocco, by Westermarck.
  • Moorish Literature, the Colonial Press, introduction by Rene Basset: Berber ballads, Poems and Popular Tales.
  • The Folklore of Morocco, by Francoise Legey, translated from French by Lucy Hotz.
  • An Anthology of Tashelhiyt Berber Folktales, by Harry Stroomer, 2001.
  • Amthal wa-Hikayat Amazighiyah Muarrabah, by Muhammad Mistawi, 1985.
  • Chants Berberes de Kabylie, by Jean Amrouche, 1947.
  • The Unwritten Song, by Willard R. Trask, vol. 1:
  • Merrakech, by Edmond Doutte, 1905.
  • Magie et religion dans l’Afrique du Nord, by E. Doutte, 1909.
  • Antiguedades de las Islas Afortunadas, by Viana, 1883.
  • The History of the Canary Islands, by Glas, 1764.
  • The Guanches of Tenerife, by Alonso de Espinosa.
  • L’Ennair chez les Beni Snous, by Destaing, Algiers, 1905.
  • Les fetes saisonnieres chez les Beni Snous, Algiers, 1907.
  • Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. ii, 1909: a study of Berber religion and mythology, by R. Basset.
  • Loqman Berbere, by R. Basset, Paris, 1890.
  • Les Sanctuaires du Djebel Nefousa, by R. Basset, Paris, 1897.
  • Recherches sur la religion des Berbers, by R. Basset,1910.
  • The Eastern Libyans, by Oric Bates, 1914.
  • A Desert God, by Oric Bates, (in CSJ, vol. iv. No. 51).
  • Siwan Superstitions, by Oric Bates, (in CSJ, vol. v. No. 55). [CSJ: Cairo Scientific Journal.
  • The Golden Bough, by J.G. Frazer: an enjoyable 12 volumes to read.
  • Folk and fairy-tales, by P.C. Asbjornsen, trans. By H. L. Braekstad, New York, 1883.
  • Die Religion der afrikanischen Naturvolker, by W. Schneider,1891.
                    Berber Nesmenser, Zuwarah, Libya.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tamazightinou: Histoire des BERBERES "تاريخ الامازيغ

Tamazightinou: Histoire des BERBERES "تاريخ الامازيغ

Tamazightinou: Les berberes imazighnes

Tamazightinou: Les berberes imazighnes

Histoire des BERBERES "تاريخ الامازيغ

Les berberes imazighnes

أفضل و أروع فيلم وثائقي كامل عن اسطورة الريف

المغرب هو أقوى و أعلى قلعة إسلامية . لقد دحرنا الصليبيين البرتغال في معركة وادي المخازن ولم ينجو منهم أحد و كذلك الإسبان في معركة الزلاقة و في معركة أنوال تمت إبادتهم دون أن ننسى معركة قبائل أيت باعمران في الجنوب ضد أكبر حامية عسكرية إسبانية لمن يجهل بطولات أبناء المغرب عربا و أمازيغا وتضحياتهم و إعتمادهم على أنفسهم .
 Est qu il ya des batailles ou on entends des arabes ont contrbue?
 Abdelkarim ALkhatabi est une legende Du rif et du Maroc sans oublier autre legendes Marocaines  d origine amazigh en particulier et marocaines en general. Akssil, contre les oumayades, Traik ben zyad, youssef ben tachefine, ebn toumert, mouha ouhmou zyani, 3assou Oubsslam, kabail autre alhanssali...

Amoudou - Ifran HD

Amoudou - Ifran HD

Ifran anti atlass, Imazighn and culture

les juifs et musulmans Marocains

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



By Michael Klossner
Content © 2004 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2004 held by Whoosh!
4859 words

[01] In LEGACY (117/605), Melissa Good used the title (not the name) of a real North African woman war leader as the name of her fictional woman leader, played by Alison Bruce. Good's Kahina led a coalition of tribes against the Romans in (apparently) the 1st Century C.E. In history, the Kahina, who may have been Jewish, led a coalition of Berber tribes against the Arabs in the late 7th Century.

The Kahina in History

[02] The Berbers were the ancient indigenous people of North Africa west of Egypt. They were of many tribes, but they managed to maintain their culture, their Hamitic languages, and considerable military power during successive invasions of their land. North Africa was conquered by the Phoenicians (who became the Carthaginians), then the Romans, the Vandals (one of the Germanic tribes that destroyed the Roman Empire), the Byzantines, and finally the Arabs. Other foreigners, notably Greeks and Jews, also lived in ancient North Africa.
[03] In the 7th century, the Berbers lived in uneasy peace with the Byzantines, who ruled the coastal cities of North Africa, after defeating the Vandals a century before. The ancient city of Carthage was the Byzantine capital in Africa. Some Berbers were Christians (with a notable tendency towards heresy), some were Jewish, and some adhered to their ancient polytheist religion. Before the end of the century the Byzantines were driven from Africa and the Berbers faced a new religion and a new invader.
[04] At the time of the death of the Prophet Mohammed in 632, Muslims ruled only in Arabia. Only ten years later Arab Muslims had achieved one of the most spectacular conquests in history. They conquered Syria (635-636), Palestine (638-640), and Egypt (639-642) from the Byzantines and first Iraq (635-637) and then Persia itself (637-642) from the Persians. Wherever they went, most of the people soon became Muslims and (except in Persia) Arabic-speakers. The Arab Conquest changed the Middle East permanently.
[05] In the 680s the Arabs swept across North Africa from Egypt to the Atlantic. The Byzantines clung to their coastal cities. The Muslim leader Oqba ibn Nafi reached the Atlantic in Morocco and, according to legend, rode into the sea and slashed at the water with his sword in frustration that there were no more lands to conquer.
[06] On his return march in 683, Oqba was defeated and slain by the Berbers. The Arab Conquest paused for a decade but in 698 the Muslims finally took Carthage, evicting the Byzantine Christians completely from Africa. Now the conquerors faced their last and most stubborn enemy.
[07] The Kahina's name is given variously as Dahiyah, Dahia, or Dhabba (Women in World History, v.8, p. 414.) The title Kahina meant Prophetess. The Encyclopedia Judaica (v. 10, p. 686) says that the term is derived from the Arabic "Kahin" ("soothsayer") and dismisses as error the idea that "Kahina" was derived from the Jewish term "Cohen".
[08] The Encyclopedia Judaica notes that Arabic authors, notably the major 14th century historian Ibn-Khaldun, say that the Kahina and her tribe, the Jerawa of the Aures Mountains in eastern Algeria and Tunisia, were Jewish. Charles-André Julien, in his History of North Africa, notes that another writer gave the Kahina "the picturesque appellation of the 'Berber Deborah'" (after Deborah, the judge of ancient Israel). Julien believes that the Kahina's resistance to the Arabs was "nurtured, as it seems, by Berber patriotism and Jewish faith." On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Judaicaconcludes "her opposition to the Muslim Arabs was not religiously inspired; some authorities deny she was Jewish. The history of Kahina remains controversial."
[09] What is known is that soon after the Arab general Hassan ibn al Numan took Carthage from the Byzantines, the Kahina's forces defeated him. Then, as during World War II, a single defeat in North Africa might lead to a retreat of hundreds of miles. Hassan retreated, probably all the way back to Egypt. The Kahina took Carthage and ruled most of Berber North Africa.
[10] According to Ibn-Khaldun, as she waited for the inevitable renewed Arab assault, the Kahina carried out a brutal and disastrous policy. She declared that the Arabs wished to conquer North Africa only because of its wealth. She ordered Berbers who were still nomadic to destroy the cities, orchards, and herds of sedentary Berbers, to make North Africa a desert.
[11] If the Kahina actually made this amazing decision, she was tragically mistaken. The Arabs were determined to take North Africa regardless of its wealth or poverty, because there were people to be converted to Islam, and because North Africa was a gateway to Spain and Europe. Unsurprisingly, according to Ibn-Khaldun, this savage policy of city burning cost the Kahina the support of city-dwelling Berbers.
[12] In 702, Hassan again invaded the Berber lands and quickly defeated the Kahina. Julien writes, "on the eve of the final battle, the Kahina ordered her sons to go over to the enemy." Her sons had to convert to Islam to seal their defection to the Arabs. Julien believes that for the Kahina, the survival of her family and its supremacy over her tribe were ultimately more important than any questions of nationalism or religion.
[13] Accounts differ as to whether the Kahina died in battle or was captured and executed.

Those outfits; those eyebrows! Kahina...Kahlo...could there be a connection?

Kahina in art

The Kahina According to Ibn-Khaldun

[14] Wali al-Din Abd-Ar-Rahman Ibn-Khaldun (1332-1406) was the greatest Arab historian of the Middle Ages. His reputation is very high among modern historians. Arnold Toynbee described Ibn-Khaldun's theories as "a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time and place" (quoted in the Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Ibn-Khaldun).
[15] Greatly simplified, Ibn-Khaldun believed that conflict between nomadic and settled peoples, and between rural and urban peoples, was the most important factor in history. This theory seemed to account for many events in the ancient history of the Middle East, as well as the fall of the Roman Empire to the German barbarians and the Arab conquest of the Byzantines and Persians. It is still a good theoretical model for some modern conflicts. Many of the wars of modern Latin America and Africa have been primarily conflicts between hayseeds and city people. So were the wars of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
[16] Obviously the tale of the Kahina's destruction of the North African cities and her subsequent loss of the support of city-dwellers fits well into Ibn-Khaldun's worldview. Since the earlier sources on which Ibn-Khaldun relied have been lost, we must wonder whether Ibn-Khaldun exaggerated the story of the Kahina's city-burning to illustrate his theory. On the other hand, the story may be true and may have helped to suggest his groundbreaking theory to Ibn-Khaldun.
[17] The major work of Ibn-Khaldun was his Kitab al-Ibar wa-Diwan al-Mubtada Wa-l-Khabar. This multi-volume book has apparently not been translated in its entirety but William MacGuckin, Baron de Slane, translated the section on North Africa into French in 1847-1851, as Histoire des Berberes et des Dynasties Musulmanes de l'Afrique Septentrionale. This French version is apparently not widely available in the U.S. I was unable to get a copy through interlibrary loan. [If anyone has access to a copy of Slane's translation and can find the material on the Kahina in it, I will be happy to pay for copying, mailing or fax costs to receive the relevant pages.]
[18] Ibn-Khaldun's masterpiece, The Muqaddimah, is the book-length introduction to the Kitab, which sets forth his influential theoretical work. There are several references to the nature of Berber resistance in the translation by Franz Rosenthal. Ibn-Khaldun notes that the Berbers were given to rebellion and heresy under the Muslims, just as they had been under the Christians.
They continued to rebel and apostatized time after time. The Muslims massacred many of them. After the Muslim religion had been established among them, they went on revolting and seceding, and they adopted dissident [Kharajite] opinions many times. Ibn Abi Zayd said that the Berbers in the Maghrib [North Africa] revolted twelve times and that Islam become firmly established among them only during the governorship of Musa ben Nusayr and thereafter. That is what is meant by the statement reported on the authority of 'Umar, that "Ifriqiyah [Africa] divides the hearts of its inhabitants." The statement refers to the great number of tribes and groups there, which causes them to be disobedient and unmanageable.
The Berber tribes in the West are innumerable. All of them are Bedouins [i.e., nomads] and members of groups and families. Whenever one tribe is destroyed, another takes its place and is as refractory and rebellious as the former one had been. Therefore, it has taken the Arabs a long time to establish their dynasty in the land of Ifriqiyah. (Rosenthal translation, p. 333)

The Kahina According to Edward Gibbon

[19] In his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wrote an account of the Kahina, undoubtedly based on Ibn-Khaldun. Gibbon's Kahina story is in the fifty-first chapter of the Decline and Fall, in a single long paragraph. Gibbon's prose is intoxicating and since it is long out of copyright, I copy the whole section here, breaking Gibbon's long paragraph into several paragraphs. The story begins after the Arab defeat of the Byzantines and conquest of Carthage.
The Greeks [i.e., the Byzantines] were expelled, but the Arabians were not yet the masters of the country. In the interior provinces the Moors or Berbers, so feeble under the first Caesars [the Romans], so formidable to the Byzantine princes, maintained a disorderly resistance to the religion and power of the successors of Mohammad. Under the standard of their queen Cahina the independent tribes acquired some degree of union and discipline; and as the Moors respected in their females the character of a prophetess, they attacked the invaders with an enthusiasm similar to their own.
The veteran bands of Hassan were inadequate to the defense of Africa; the conquests of an age were lost in a single day; and the Arabian chief, overwhelmed by the torrent, retired to the confines of Egypt, and expected, five years, the promised succours of the caliph.
After the retreat of the Saracens, the victorious prophetess assembled the Moorish chiefs, and recommended a measure of strange and savage policy. "Our cities," she said, "and the gold and silver which they contain, perpetually attract the arms of the Arabs. These vile metals are not the objects of our ambition; we content ourselves with the simple productions of the earth. Let us destroy these cities; let us bury in their ruins those pernicious treasures; and when the avarice of our foes shall be destitute of temptation, perhaps they will cease to disturb the tranquility of a warlike people."

I'm not really a kahina--I only play one on TV

Kahina in Xena: Warrior Princess

The proposal was accepted with unanimous applause. From Tangier to Tripoli the buildings, or at least the fortifications, were demolished, the fruit trees were cut down, the means of subsistence were extirpated, a fertile and populous garden was changed into a desert, and the historians of a more recent age could discern the frequent traces of the prosperity and devastation of their ancestors.
Such is the tale of the modern Arabians. Yet I strongly suspect that their ignorance of antiquity, the love of the marvelous, and the fashion of extolling the philosophy of barbarians, has induced them to describe, as one voluntary act, the calamities of three hundred years since the first fury of the Donatists [North African Christian heretics who defied the Roman Catholic Church] and Vandals.
In the progress of the revolt Cahina had most probably contributed her share of destruction; and the alarm of universal ruin might terrify and alienate the cities that had reluctantly yielded to her unworthy yoke. They no longer hoped, perhaps they no longer wished, the return of their Byzantine sovereigns: their present servitude was not alleviated by the benefits of order and justice; and the most zealous Catholics must prefer the imperfect truths of the Koran to the blind and rude idolatry of the Moors. The general of the Saracens was again received as the saviour of the province; the friends of civil society conspired against the savages of the land and the royal prophetess was slain in the first battle, which overturned the baseless fabric of her superstition and empire.
The same spirit revived under the successor of Hassan; it was finally quelled by the activity of Musa and his two sons; but the number of the rebels may be presumed from that of three hundred thousand captives; sixty thousand of whom, the caliph's fifth, were sold for the profit of the public treasury. Thirty thousand of the barbarian youth were enlisted in the troops; and the pious labours of Musa, to inculcate the knowledge and practice of the Koran, accustomed the Africans to obey the apostle of God and the commander of the faithful.
In their climate and government, their diet and habitation, the wandering Moors resembled the Bedoweens of the desert. With the religion they were proud to accept the language, name, and origin of Arabs: the blood of the strangers and natives was insensibly mingled; and from the Euphrates to the Atlantic the same nation might seem to be diffused over the sandy plains of Asia and Africa. Yet I will not deny that fifty thousand tents of pure Arabians might be transported over the Nile, and scattered through the Libyan desert; and I am not ignorant that five of the Moorish tribes still retain their barbarous idiom, with the appellation and character of White Africans. (Gibbon, v. 2, p. 279-280)

The Kahina According to Washington Irving

[20] Washington Irving is best known to modern readers as the author of the simple American rustic tales Rip van Winkle and The Headless Horseman, but he lived for many years in Europe and wrote many sophisticated historical works. He was especially fascinated by the Spanish and their traditional enemies the Moslems. His story of the Kahina is in the 54th chapter of his book Mahomet and His Successors(1850). His prose is almost as seductive as Gibbon's and is also out of copyright.
The imperial [Byzantine] forces were now expelled from the coasts of Northern Africa, but the Moslems had not yet achieved the conquest of the country. A formidable enemy remained in the person of a native and heroic queen, who was revered by her subjects as a saint or prophetess. Her real name was Dhabba, but she is generally known in history by the surname, given to her by the Moslems, of Cahina or the Sorceress. She has occasionally been confounded with her son Aben, or rather Ibn Cahina, of whom mention has been made in a previous chapter.
Under the sacred standard of this prophet queen were combined the Moors of Mauritania and the Berbers of the mountains, and of the plains bordering the interior deserts. Roving and independent tribes, which had formerly warred with each other, now yielded implicit obedience to one common leader, whom they regarded with religious reverence. The character of marabout or saint has ever had vast influence over the tribes of Africa. Under this heroic woman the combined host had been reduced to some degree of discipline, and inspired with patriotic ardor, were now prepared to make a more effective struggle for their native land than they had yet done under their generals.

After shooting on Xena finished, Mel Gibson came in to film his Aramaic epic. You can spot him at far right.

More Kahina in Xena: Warrior Princess

After repeated battles, the emir Hossan was compelled to retire with his veteran but diminished army to the frontiers of Egypt. The patriot queen was not satisfied with this partial success. Calling a council of war of the leaders and principal warriors of the different hordes: "This retreat of the enemy," said she, "is but temporary; they will return in greater force. What is it that attracts to our land these Arab spoilers? The wealth of our cities; the treasures of silver and gold digged from the bowels of the earth; the fruits of our gardens and orchards; the produce of our fields. Let us demolish our cities; return these accursed treasures to the earth; fell our fruit-trees; lay waste our fields, and spread a barrier of desolation between us and the country of these robbers!"
The words of the royal prophetess were received with fanatic enthusiasm by her barbarian troops; the greater part of whom, collected from the mountains and from distant parts, had little share in the property to be sacrificed. Walled towns were forthwith dismantled; majestic edifices tumbled into ruins; groves of fruit-trees were hewn down, and the whole country from Tangiers to Tripoli was converted from a populous and fertile region into a howling and barren waste. A short time was sufficient to effect a desolation, which centuries have not sufficed to remedy.
This sacrificial measure of Queen Cahina, however patriotic its intention, was fatal in the end to herself. The inhabitants of the cities and the plains, who had beheld their property laid waste by the infuriated zeal of their defenders, hailed the return of the Moslem invaders as though they had been the saviours of the land.
The Moslems, as Cahina predicted, returned with augmented forces: but when she took the field to oppose them, the ranks of her army were thinned; the enthusiasm which had formerly animated them was at an end: they were routed, after a sanguinary battle, and the heroine fell into the hands of the enemy. Those who captured her spared her life, because she was a woman and a queen. When brought into the presence of Hossan she maintained her haughty and fierce demeanor. He proposed the usual conditions, of conversion or tribute. She refused both with scorn, and fell a victim of her patriotism and religious constancy, being beheaded in the presence of the emir.
[Irving goes on to recount how Hassan (or "Hossan") was ruined by the jealousy of the Caliph's brother, who was emir of Egypt.] It is added that, not content with depriving Hossan of his command, he despoiled him of all his property, and carried his persecutions so far, that the conqueror of Carthage, the slayer of the patriot queen, within a brief time after her death, and almost amid the very scenes of his triumph, died of a broken heart. His cruel treatment of the heroic Cahina reconciles us to the injustice wreaked upon him. (Irving, p. 489-492).

[21] Note that Gibbon and Irving differ on some points, even though they no doubt rely on the same basic sources. Gibbon says Hassan's conquests were "lost in a single day"; Irving says they were lost "after repeated battles". Gibbon questions the story of the Kahina's destroying North Africa's cities; Irving accepts it. Gibbon says, "the royal prophetess was slain in the first battle" while Irving claims she was captured and executed.
[22] The two authorities also disagree in their appraisal of the Kahina. Gibbon refers to "her unworthy rule" and "the baseless fabric of her superstition and empire" while Irving admires "this heroic woman" and "her patriotism and religious constancy."

The Kahina According to Manly Wade Wellman

[23] Manly Wade Wellman (1903-1986) was a major fantasy fiction writer, best known for his short stories set in the American rural South. In 1986, the year of his death, he completed the novel Cahena: a Dream of the Past. The hero is a fictitious character, Wulf, a Saxon soldier in Byzantine service who escapes from Carthage when it falls to the Arabs and takes refuge with the Berbers. He becomes the military adviser and lover of the Kahina (whom Wellman calls the "Daia the Cahena").
[24] Wellman's work is a good, old-fashioned historical adventure novel with touches of the supernatural. Readers interested in the late ancient and early medieval period should enjoy it. His depiction of Wulf and the Berber warriors as tough, grim, smart, highly competent fighters is very convincing. His Kahina is more sketchily drawn but is still a powerful, confident, sensuous woman.
[25] Wellman does not present the Kahina as Jewish. He shows her practicing magic with an eclectic collection of magical objects, including figures of Berber animal gods, the Christian cross, and a Jewish candlestick (p. 78). He has her rule tolerantly over pagans, Christians, Jews, and even some Muslims. Wellman's Berber Jews have no rabbis and know very little about Judaism, including very few prayers.
[26] Wellman's Kahina has genuine supernatural powers of precognition and healing, powers derived from the Berber gods. Unfortunately, Wulf kills a mysterious, apparently dangerous female spirit, the Lamia. Her death leads to the disappearance of most of the Berber gods and of the Kahina's powers, followed by the victory of the Arabs and of monotheism. The supernatural elements in Wellman's novel sometimes mix uneasily with the realistic political and military story.
[27] Wellman includes the story of the Kahina ordering the destruction of North Africa's cities. He shows rough nomads gleefully destroying the homes of people they consider soft and luxury loving. Wellman blames this decision on a false defector, Khalid, an aristocratic Arab who was captured, declared allegiance to the Kahina, supplanted Wulf as her lover and adviser, persuaded her to burn the cities, then fled back to the Muslims.

After the Kahina

Amazing, what Play-Doh and a little bronzing gel can do...

Xena and her new best friend, Kahina

[28] After the defeat of the Kahina and the Berbers, the ancient polytheistic religions of North Africa disappeared. Most Berbers became Muslims (with a persistent taste for heresy). Many Berbers became Arabic-speakers; some retained their own languages. Berbers were prominent among the Muslim conquerors of Spain. Christianity almost disappeared in North Africa west of Egypt. The Jews were more stubborn and persisted in a few areas, especially in the Atlas Mountains.
[29] The Jewish presence in North Africa was revived by a tragedy in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries. After the completion of the Christian Reconquest of Spain in 1492, the Inquisition gave the Muslims and Jews of Spain the alternatives of conversion to Catholicism or expulsion. Large numbers of Spanish Jews, as well as most Spanish Muslims, immigrated to Africa.
[30] Another dramatic foreign event ended the long Jewish presence in North Africa. The establishment of Israel in 1948 caused a rise in active anti-Semitism in North Africa. This, combined with the retreat of European colonialism and the independence of Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and finally Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s, led to a mass emigration of Jews. For the first time in about 2000 years, North Africa had almost no Jews.
[31] Today even ruins associated with Jews can be a magnet for violence in North Africa. On April 11, 2002 a truck bomb loaded with fuel exploded outside an ancient, abandoned synagogue on the tourist island of Djerba off the coast of Tunisia. Besides the suicide bomber, twenty people were killed, most of them German tourists. German investigators said the attack was the work of al-Qaida. This was apparently the only successful al-Qaida operation outside Afghanistan and Pakistan in the first year after the attacks in the U.S. in September 2001.
[32] The Berbers are still a major presence in North Africa and are still often at odds with their rulers. An Associated Press article published June 1, 2002 ("Algerian prime minister's party wins election majority") reported that Berbers are about one-third of Algeria's population and that about sixty people had been killed in riots between Berbers and police in the Kabyle region in 2001 and early 2002.
[33] Most North African Jews went to Israel, where they are a significant part of the population and the armed forces. Memories are long in the Middle East. Perhaps some Israelis from North Africa consider Israel's victories a long-delayed revenge for the Arab conquest of the Berbers and the death of the Kahina.

Tamazightinou: Tamazightinou: Berber Personalities & North Africa...

Tamazightinou: Tamazightinou: Berber Personalities & North Africa...: Tamazightinou: Berber Personalities & North African Explorers: : As Phys Carpenter had pointed out, “To say that enormous areas of the Sahar...

Tamazightinou: List of Berber Personalities In History

Tamazightinou: List of Berber Personalities In History: List of Berber Personalities In History Ancient Berber Kings, Queens & Personalities Shoshenq I: (Shishenq I): ...

List of Berber Personalities In History

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List of Berber Personalities In History

Ancient Berber Kings, Queens & Personalities

  • Shoshenq I: (Shishenq I): Berber Pharaoh, founder of the Egyptian 22nd dynasty (945-924 BC); (946-925); (943-922)?
  • Wayheset: Libyan king.
  • Osorkon I: Berber King, probably son of Shoshenq from Karima (Egyptian 22nd dynasty: 924-889 BC).
  • Queen Makere: wife of King Osorkon I.
  • Shoshenq II: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty: 890-889 BC).
  • Takeloth I: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty: 889-874 BC).
  • Osorkon II: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty: 874-850 BC).
  • Horseise: Hight Preist of Amon: son of Sheshonk II.
  • Takeloth II: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty: 850-825 BC).
  • Amazigh chief Larbas: negotiated a deal to marry Princess Dido in 814 BC (Tarshish: Carthage)?
  • Pediese: Great Chief of the Meshwesh.
  • Hetihenker: Great Chief of the Meshwesh.
  • Shoshenq Ill: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty 825-773 BC).
  • Pimay ('The Cat'): son of Shoshenq III: (Egyptian 22nd dynasty 773-767 BC).
  • Bakennefi: brother of Pimay: Prince of Heliopolis.
  • Shoshenq IV: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty 767-730 BC).
  • Osorkon IV: Berber King (Egyptian 22nd dynasty: 730-715).
  • Pedubast: Berber King (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Input II: Berber King (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Sheshong VI: Berber King (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Osorkon III: Berber King (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Takeloth III: Berber King (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Rudamon: Berber King: (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Tefnakht: Berber King, founder of the Egyptian 24th dynasty (unified the Delta).
  • Bocchoris: Berber King (Egyptian 23rd dynasty).
  • Masinissa: King of Numidia.
  • Jugurtha: King of Numidia.
  • Juba II: King of Numidia.
  • Macrinus: Roman emperor.
  • Clodius Albinus: ruler of Britannia.
  • Lusius Quietus: ruler of Judaea.
  • Quintus Lollius Urbicus: ruler of Britannia (138 – 144 AD).
  • Septimius Severus: Libyan Roman emperor (193 – 211 AD).
  • Tacfarinas: (Leader of the wars against the Romans in the Aures Mountains).
  • Firmus: (fought the Romans: 372 – 375).
  • Gildo: (fought the Romans in 398).
  • Publius Terentius Afer (Terence: writer, Latin).
  • Lucius Apuleius: author of The Golden Ass (The Transformations of Lucius Apuleius of Madaura).
  • Priscian: (Latin grammarian).
  • Marcus Cornelius Fronto: (Roman grammarian).
  • Saint Augustine of Hippo: Christian philosopher).
  • Saint Monica of Hippo: (Saint Augustine's mother).
  • Arius: (proposed the doctrine of Arianism).
  • Donatus Magnus: (head of Donatist school).
  • Gelasius I: (Pope: 492-496).
  • Victor I: (Pope: 186-201).
  • Miltiades: (Pope: 311-314).
  • Abd ar-Rahman I: (731-788).
  • Al-Mansur: (712-775).
  • Tariq ibn Ziyad (Zeyyad): (leader of the army that invaded Spain in 711).
  • Adrian of Canterbury: Abbot of St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury.
  • Dihya: Kahina: Dinamigan: Berber Queen, Priestess and General. According to the Arab generals themselves, whenever a Berber tribe is defeated another emerges from the mirage like the jinn of the desert. Among the fiercest Berber leaders who resisted the new arrivals was the Berber queen and prophetess Kahina, who, according to the Arab generals whom she was at war with, defeated them like no other general had done before her.
  • Aksil: Kusayla: King or Tribal leader.
  • Salih ibn Tarif of the Berghouata: translated the Koran to Berber.
  • Abbas Ibn Firnas: inventor and aviator; first attempt at controlled flight?
  • Ibn Tumart: founder of the Almohad dynasty.
  • Yusuf ibn Tashfin: Almoravid dynasty.
  • Al Idrisi: scientist and geographer.
  • Ibn Battuta: traveller.
  • Ibn Khaldoun: histography.
  • Leo Africanus: geographer and historian.
  • Abu Yaqub Yusuf I.
  • Abu Yaqub Yusuf II.
  • Ziri ibn Manad: founder of Zirid dynasty.
  • Muhammad Awzal.
  • Muhammad al-Jazuli: Sufi.
  • Imam al-Busiri: poet.
  • Abu Ali al-Hassan al-Yusi.

  • Commanding bronze statue of the Berber Roman emperor Septimius Severus

    Modern Berber Personalities:

    • Solaiman al-Barouni: Berber from Yefren, Nafousa Mountain, Libya: creator of the first republic in the Arab World: the Tripoli Republic.
    • Jean Amrouche, (1906–1962) writer and Taos Amrouche's brother.
    • Taos Amrouche: powerful Algerian writer and singer (1913-1976).
    • Said Sifaw al-Mah'rouq: Libyan Berber scholar, poet, writer, activist, and linguist, from Jado, Nafousa Mountain.
    • Mohammed Bessaoud: Algerian spiritual father of Berberism.
    • Hocine Aït Ahmed: Algerian revolutionary fighter and secularist politician.
    • Saïd Sadi: Algerian politician.
    • Ali Yahya Mua'amar: Libyan Abadi Scholar.
    • Mouloud Feraoun: Algerian writer assassinated by the OAS.
    • Mouloud Mammeri: Algerian writer, anthropologist and linguist.
    • Salem Chaker: Algerian Berberist, writer, linguist, cultural and political activist.
    • Sidi Said: leader of the Algerian syndicat of workers: UGTA.
    • Khalida Toumi: Algerian feminist and secularist.
    • Ahmed Ouyahia: Prime Minister of Algeria.
    • Belaïd Abrika: one of the spokesmen of the Arouch.
    • Nordine Ait Hamouda: secularist politician and son of Colonel Amirouche.
    • Driss Jettou: Prime Minister of Morocco.
    • Lalla Fatma n Soumer: female worrior (Amazon) who led western Kabylie in battle against French troops.
    • Kateb Yacine: writer founder of the berberiste mouvement.
    • Mohamed Chafik: Moroccan writer; IRCAM.
    • Tahar Djaout: writer and journalist assassinated by the GIA in 1993.
    • Si Mohand: Kabyle poet.
    • Fidel Castro (Cuba: his mother was a Berber from the Canary Islands).
    • Morocco's King Mohammed VI (the monarchy's mother was a Berber).
    • Zinedine ZidBerber Nesmenser; Zuwarah, Libya.
      All Rights Reserved © 2011.
      ZinedineZidane: Kabyle footballer.

    Berber Nesmenser; Zuwarah, Libya.
    All Rights Reserved © 2011.
    Updated: 12 February 2012.

    Updated: 06 May 2012.

    Tamazightinou: Berber Personalities & North African Explorers:

    Tamazightinou: Berber Personalities & North African Explorers:: As Phys Carpenter had pointed out, “To say that enormous areas of the Sahara remained unexplored until the nineteenth century merely mean...

    Berber Personalities & North African Explorers:

    As Phys Carpenter had pointed out, “To say that enormous areas of the Sahara remained unexplored until the nineteenth century merely means that these regions had not until then been visited and examined by any European traveller.”
    The five Berber Libyan Nasamonians of ancient Eastern Libya were perhaps the first ever to venture into the Sahara desert – at least the first to leave a record of their heroic efforts. During the conversation between some Libyans (from Cyrene) and the Ammonian king Etearchus regarding the (then) riddle of the source of the river Nile, the latter, according to Herodotus, said that, “he had once had a visit from certain Nasamonians, a people who live in Syrtis and the country a little to the eastward. Being asked if there was anything more they could tell him about the uninhabited parts of Libya, these men declared that a group of wild young fellows, sons of chieftains in their country, had on coming to manhood planned amongst themselves all sorts of extravagant adventures, one of which was to draw lots for five of their number to explore the Libyan desert and try to penetrate further than had ever been done before.”(ii, [29-32], trans. A. de Sélincourt )
    The North African navigator Hanno (ca 500 – 450 BC) was also among the first to explore the west African coast; and, about 2000 years ago, Berber Mauritania’s king Juba’s expedition went as far west as the Canary Islands. [It might be of interest to note here that Pausanias (Description of Greece, v. 1, xvii, 2) informs us that there were statues of the Libyan Juba in the gymnasium of Ptolemy, near the market-place of Athena.] Whether Hanno was a Berber or a Phoenician it is difficult to say, given the fact that the Berber libraries were burnt, but we know that he was North African – as some people still consider the Berber Apuleius (the author of The Golden Ass) a Roman, just because he wrote in Latin better than any other Roman writer. According to Phys Carpenter,“In Arrian’s account of India, the so-called Indica, often printed as a supplement to his Anabasis of Alexander, the concluding chapter makes the following reference to Hanno: But Hanno the Libyan, starting out from Carthage, travelled beyond the Columns of Heracles out into the ocean, keeping Africa on his left”.
    The North African al-Idrisi (12th century) had discovered that the river Nile flowed from the equatorial lakes of Africa long before the European rediscovered it and named its source Lake Victoria. Between 1325 and 1354 the Berber Moroccan Ibn Batuta explored the western portions of the Sahara, then along the northern coast of the continent he reached east Africa, before he continued his quest into Arabia. His claim of reaching the Far East was disputed, just as those of other ancient and medieval travellers, as he could had had the tendency to exaggerate, for one reason or another. Not to mention that the proper geography of Africa became known to Europeans only after the Berber Leo Africanus published his Description de l’Afrique in 1550 – on which Marmol based his book Afrique (1573).
    More interesting, but as yet undocumented academically, Berber and Berber-related-Iberian inscriptions were found in Iowa, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and St. John’s, as well as in Polynesia. A collection of these inscriptions were published by Barry Fell in his Saga America and America BC, and in The Epigraphic Society Occasional Publications (volumes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 18, 19, 20; 1975 –1991). He also published papers comparing North African languages to American Zuni. But although Fell’s research shows that the Africans and Iberians were in America long before Columbus, scholars made no attempt to follow his results, which they said are ‘debatable’.
    Another Berber explorer rarely mentioned in history books is the Moroccan Estevan (Estevanico) De Dorantes. He was from the Berber village of Azemmour (‘olive’),who was a member of the Narvaez expedition that sailed from Spain in 1527. They were stranded on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico at Texas and consequently captured by the native American. He was reported to have died when he was attacked by the Berber-like Zuni tribes between 1539 and 1540. Apparently he continued practicing his native Berber religious rituals and he became highly respected by the Zuni people and even worshipped as a god, meaning demi-god.
    The Moorish (Berber) astrolabe (1067) was used for geographical orientation before the Chinese invented the magnetic needle in 1119, and long before the invention of the octant and then the sextant in the 18th century. A’ebdla’ziz Ben A'ebdella’s book ‘Alu’loum Alkawniyyah Wattajribiyyah Fi Almaghrib (p. 125) lists a number of astrolabes invented by North African scientists including Abu Ar-Rabia’ al-Laji al-Fasi (from Fas, in Morocco) and Ya’qoub Ben Mousa al-Fasi. The same author, in citing the French historian Ronan, informs us (p. 34) that Columbus himself confessed that he did not feel that there was a dry continent beyond the Atlantic until he read the Kulliyyat book (written by the North African scientist Ibn Rushd).
    In fact America may have been discovered several times, and nor once, before Columbus by Berber and Celtic navigators. According to Anthony Burgess: "Any boy named Maurice . . . ought to be proud at apparently having named a continent. Dr Basil Cottle, the onomastic expert, considers that 'America' derives from the Welsh 'Ap Meuric', son of Maurice. A certain Richard Amerik, senior collector of customs for Bristol, was probably the 'heaviest investor' in John Cabot's second westward voyage in 1498. The nominative claim of Amerigo Vespucci as regards America Dr Cottle considers 'frivolous'" (A Mouthful of Air, p. 328, 329).
    But according to a recent discovery by Kirsten Seaver (Maps, Myths and Men) (endorsed by Peter Barber of the British Library, London, UK) the Vinland map, which rewrote the history of America and was thought to have been drawn in 1440 (or fifty years before C. Columbus’s trip to America), is a 1930 forgery by the Austrian Father Joseph Fischer as a protest about Nazi Norse mythology. The map appears to confirm the arrival of Norsemen in America five centuries before Columbus paved the way for the destruction of Aztec and other Native cultures and sacred temples, which Father Fischer hoped to cure the Nazi’s disease with. “Bjarni Herjolfsson is believed,” reports Nicholas Hellen, “to have sailed there in 985 and Leif Eriksson in 1002. Historians now accept that the Norse explorers were indeed first – but the map which appeared to prove it was an inspired fraud.”(Sunday Times, London, 04/08/2002).
    The Berber Andalusian, inventor-engineer Abbas Bin Firnas (عباس بن فرناس, 810–887 AD) was born in Izn-Rand Onda (Ronda, Spain) in 810 AD. At the age 70 he had entered the pages of history as the first man to fly. Inspired by birds, he invented artificial wings, covered them and himself with feathers, took to a hill in Cordoba, Spain, and launched himself into the air. He was said to have flown for a considerable time, before he crash-landed, badly hurting his back; apparently because he had failed to include a tail in his device. His story was told by the Moroccan historian Ahmed Mohammed Maqqari (d.1632), based on a 9th century account of the poet Mu'min Ibn Said, who said that Ibn Firnas flew faster than the phoenix and that he dressed his body in the feathers of a vulture. [Lynn Townsend White, Jr., Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition, Technology and Culture 2 (2), 1961, p. 97–111.]
     Berber Nesmenser; Zuwarah, Libya.
    All Rights Reserved © 2011.
    Updated: 12 February 2012.

    Updated: 06 May 2012.

    The Berbers

    The Berbers and the Bushmen are among the oldest people on earth.
    the Berbner Z

    Berber Versus Mazigh

    Definition of Berber & Etymology of Imazighen:

    The perplexed term 'Berber' is shrouded with mystery, just as the Berbers themselves. Regardless of whether some people like or dislike the use of the term 'Berber', the name had entered the international vocabulary, and therefore it will be used here when writing in English. The matriarchal name 'Tamazight', albeit more popular in its recent masculine and patriarchal form Amazigh, is gradually becoming known to the outside world. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with using the term Berber, just because it was mistakenly associated with Greek barbarous and the negative connotation it conveys; as it existed long before the Greeks and the Romans, and was also used by the Ancient Egyptians and the Berbers long before them. The etymology of the name 'Berber' was altogether misunderstood, and it never meant 'barbaric' or 'savage', simply because the Romans used it to describe the Ancient Egyptians whom we all know were far more advanced and civilised than both the Romans and the Greeks.
    The etymology of 'Imazighen', namely 'The Free People', also has no etymological basis nor historical foundation, and it was merely a superstitious conjuncture that somehow gained widespread popularity amongst both Berberists and European scholars, probably after it was introduced to them by Berber Leo Africanus without questioning its authority or explaining how it came to have this bizarre etymology. Which part in the term 'Imazighen' that says 'free' and which part that means 'people' remain to be explained. The only etymology that can be concluded, so far, is "nobel", as in Tuareg Tamaheqt majegh ('nobel'). Nobel, they are, no doubt; but free is far from true! Freedom starts in the mind, then manifests in the real world.
    Imazighen is the plural form of the masculine singular Amazigh or Mazigh, while 'Timazighin' is the plural form of the feminine singular Tamazight. This means that the recent use of the term "Amazigh" to describe a group of people, as in "the Amazigh of Libya" or "the Amazigh of Algeria", is inaccurate because the term is singular; and therefore the correct form to use is the plural "Imazighen", as in "the Imazighen of Libya" -- in the same way one cannot say: "the Berber of Libya" because the correct form to use is "the Berbers of Libya". However, there are instances where one can use the singular form to describe a group, like "the Berber people"; but "the Berber of North Africa" (or "the Amazigh of North Africa") is also incorrect.
    And so the term Berber was used by foreigners, or aliens some would say, while the Berbers call themselves Imazighen or Imushagh; as they came to call Berber language by the name of "Tamazight", (also 'Tamaheqt' or 'Tamasheght', depending on language and dialect). The popular and masculine form used almost world-wide, namely "Amazigh Language", does not exist, violates the sacred "Tamazight", and is heading towards threatening the very base on which it was founded -- the matriarchal nature of the whole Berber culture & society.Tamazight by itself means exactly that: 'Berber language'; full stop.
    'Tamazgha', meaning the 'land of the Imazighen', namely North Africa, was also invented by activists to describe what the Berbers have always prescribed as 'Tamort', or 'Thamorth', ('land, village, town, country, earth'). Terms like 'Amazighity', which mixes the English suffix -ty with the Berber noun Amazigh- in a rare percussion, and 'Imazighenautes' ('the Berber geeks of the Internet') give the amusing impression that "things are getting complicated". For some unknown reason, there seems to be an attempt, not quite sure by whom, to abandon the original matriarchal form of the appellation "Tamazight" and ultimately all its associated forms.
    Some might say this is not bad and should not pose a threat, but one can only agree that modernisation, in the context that was applied to justify elimination of identities rather than illuminate, is part of biological evolution overall and is not man's invention. TEK ('Traditional Environmental Knowledge') is already taking care of modernising all aspects of human existence in one complete system we know as evolution. This extensive TEK system of indigenous People's heritage and accumulative wisdom, which modern scientists now seek for new insights, insures culture's continuation and inspires new inventions of material types, smart tools and even new human societies altogether; encompassing all aspects of human's existence. Yet despotic systems, in contrast, emphasise only one single aspect on the expense of all other aspects including the desecration of nature, polluting the environment, and feeding the earth with toxic waste. This reckless and temporary expression will not succeed in evolutionary terms because it violates long range perspective with which nature sees its future offspring thriving as ever!
    Given the fact that Berber mentality, their cheerful attitude to life, their customary egalitarian justice and tribal council of the elders (both female and male transparent members of the society who could lead by example), and all the good and unique elements that distinguish Tamazight society from most of the warring ideals of the neighbouring and far distant countries may well become affected, and may even become infected with the new cultureless direction towards which the Berber society may one day find itself led to -- something the Imazighen of today should be concerned with right now rather than shortsightedly endure later. If the Berbers loose their own cultural unique identity, as a Berber, one may no longer wish to remain a Berber, since there will be no one in essence.
    To take away from indigenous people the values at the heart of their existence, rather than preserve their priceless world heritage, goes against all human ideals reverberating across the moral world. The Tuareg of the Sahara have also come under the patriarchal hammer in the last decade or so, where they were forced to perform some patriarchal con-sessions, and even were pressurised to abandon a number of Tamazight matriarchal institutions including the "sacred matrilineal naming system".
    "If the only tool we have is a hammer, I guess all problems must look like a nail."

    Berber Nesmenser; Zuwarah, Libya.
    All Rights Reserved © 2011.
    Updated: 12 February 2012.

    Updated: 06 May 2012.

    Tamazightinou: History & Archaeological Evidence:Imazighn

    Tamazightinou: History & Archaeological Evidence:Imazighn:  Despite the fact that numerous studies began Berber history from the recent Capsian culture (9000-6000 BC.), there are several studies ...

    History & Archaeological Evidence:Imazighn

     Despite the fact that numerous studies began Berber history from the recent Capsian culture (9000-6000 BC.), there are several studies and fossils (from Casablanca, Cyrenaica, Rabat and Ternifine) documenting the existence of the Berbers in North Africa for at least one million years, when the first wave of early modern humans began to leave Africa, presumably arriving from East Africa to explore the world (cf. Gabriel Camps 1974). Moreover, the Lower Pleistocene sites of Ain Hanech (Algeria) and Casablanca (Morocco) have provided some of the earliest evidence for human behaviour, which, arriving at a time when most archaeologists believed no human artifacts older than the Pleistocene can be found, can only confirm that tool-making humans had lived in North Africa in the Pliocene. Rüdiger and Gabriele Lutz (1955) recall the cultures of Fezzan to have evolved over the past hundreds of thousands of years and vanished under adverse conditions. “Stone tools of bygone eras are lying about in millions, from the relics of early and late Acheulian (up to 500.000 years), Levalloisian (100.000 years) and Mousterian (50.000 years) to Aterian (40.000-20.000 years).”
    More recently, there sprung, flourished, and vanished several other cultures across North Africa, many of which are still awaiting study: Libyan Pre-Aurignacian culture (85,000 BC); the Libyan Dabba culture (40,000 BC); the Iberomaurusian culture (22,000 BC; common to both Iberians and Berbers); the Eastern Oranian culture (15,000-9,000 BC); and the Mesolithic (Epipaleolithic) culture of Murzuk in southern Libya (10.000-6.000 BC). The Garamantian civilisation was also one of the later cultures involved in the Sahara's cultural proliferation of civilisations. Libya's prehistoric art heritage and other obscured venues provide a rich research environment for future Berber students and Berberists to explore, once freedom sinks in.
    The Haua Fteah Cave in Cyrenaica, Libya, was documented by McBurney and others to preserve a continuous history in Libya from 100,000 BC to the present - one continuous line of living entities in one single cave - the largest cave in the Mediterranean basin and one of the largest in the (visible) world. Does anyone, at all, realise what this means? Did any one, at all, take any notice of this? Libya's previous rulers showed no serious interest in its deepest history, but let us hope the new ones can see the light that made them who they are -- that made them see in bitch-black darkness. Like the martyr Sifaw had said: it will be "papered" one day.
      Berber Nesmenser; Zuwarah, Libya.
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    Updated: 12 February 2012.

    Updated: 06 May 2012.