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In Antiquity, Mauretania was originally an independent Berber kingdom on the Mediterraneanmarker coast of north Africa (named after the Mauri tribe, after whom the Moors were named), corresponding to western Algeriamarker, northern Moroccomarker and Spanishmarker Plazas de soberanía. The Mauri people were indicated with the Greek word mauros, black. Some of the earliest recorded history relates to Phoenicianmarker and Carthaginianmarker settlement such as Lixusmarker, Volubilismarker, Mogadormarker and Chellahmarker. The kingdom of Mauretania was not situated on the Atlantic coast south of Western Sahara, where modern Mauritaniamarker lies.

Roman Mauretania

After the defeat of Carthagemarker by the Roman Empire, Mauretania became a Roman client kingdom. The Romans placed Juba II of Numidia as their client-king. When Juba died in 23 AD, his Roman-educated son Ptolemy of Mauretania succeeded him on the throne. Caligula killed Ptolemy of Mauretania in 40. Claudius annexed Mauretania directly as a Roman province in 44, under an imperial (not senatorial) governor.

Not depriving the Mauri of their line of kings would have contributed to preserving loyalty and order, it appears: "The Mauri, indeed, manifestly worship kings, and do not conceal their name by any disguise," Cyprian observed in 247, likely quoting a geographer rather than personal observation, in his brief euhemerist exercise in deflating the gods entitled On the Vanity of Idols.In the first century, Emperor Claudius divided the Roman province of Mauretania into Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana along the line of the Mulucha (Muluya) River, about 60 km west of modern Oranmarker: Mauretania gave to the empire one emperor, the equestrian Macrinus, who seized power after the assassination of Caracalla in 217 but was himself defeated and executed by Elagabalus the next year.

Since emperor Diocletian's Tetrarchy reform (293), the country was further divided in three provinces, as the small, easternmost region Sitifensis was split off from Mauretania Caesariensis.

The Notitia Dignitatum (circa 400) mentions them still, two being under the authority of the Vicarius of the diocese of Africa:
  • a Dux et praeses provinciae Mauritaniae et Caesariensis, i.e., a Roman governor of the rank of Vir spectabilis, who also holds the high military command of 'duke', as the superior of eight border garrison commanders, each styled Praepositus limitis, named (genitive forms) Columnatensis, Vidensis, Praepositus limitis inferioris (i.e., lower border), Fortensis, Muticitani, Audiensis, Caputcellensis and Augustensis.
  • an (ordinary, civilian) Praeses in the province of Mauretania Sitifensis.

And, under the authority of the Vicarius of the diocese of Hispaniae:
  • a Comes rei militaris of (Mauretania -, but not mentioning that part of the name) Tingitana, also ranking as vir spectabilis, in charge of the following border garrison (Limitanei) commanders: Praefectus alae Herculeae at Tamuco, Tribunus cohortis secundae Hispanorum at Duga, Tribunus cohortis primae Herculeae at Aulucos, Tribunus cohortis primae Ityraeorum at Castrabarensis, another Tribunus cohortis at Salamarker, Tribunus cohortis Pacatianensis at Pacatiana, Tribunus cohortis tertiae Asturum at Tabernasmarker and Tribunus cohortis Friglensis at (and apparently also from, a rarity) Friglas; and to whom three extraordinary cavalry units are assigned: Equites scutarii seniores, Equites sagittarii seniores and Equites Cordueni,
  • a Praeses (civilian governor) of the same province of Jay/Junky

See also

Line notes

  1. Thomas F. Glick, Islamic And Christian Spain in the Early Middle Ages
  2. C. Michael Hogan, Chellah, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
  3. Cyprian (circa 255 AD) De idolorum vanitate


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