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The Sahara

  • E. W. Bovill
Extract

The history of North Africa is dominated by the Sahara, which has always been a vital factor in the lives of the peoples of Barbary and the Western Sudan. The cultural and economic development of both has been profoundly affected by intercourse between the two. Yet they are separated by a desert which forms one of the world's greatest barriers to human intercourse.

A slight increase in the aridity of the Sahara would so extend the waterless stages that the caravan routes would become impassable to camels and therefme to men—leaving, of course, mechanical transport out of consideration. A correspondingly slight increase in rainfall would quickly multiply the waterholes and desert pastures and render man independent of the now necessary camel. The question of climatic change in historic times is therefore a matter of importance to the student of the history of northern Africa.

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1 Gautier, E.F. Sahara Algerien(Paris 1908), p. 60 et seq. Lauzanne. Bulletin du Comité de I’Afrique Française, 1921, p. 246.

2 A striking example in the Bardo (Musée Alaoui) at Tunis illustrates Orpheus charming the animals, amongst which is a remarkable picture of the Bubal hartebeest

3 Stéphane, Gsell, Histoire Ancienne de I’Afrique du Nord (Paris, 1921), vol. 1.

4 The Romans appreciated the value of good water and if local supplies were not of the desired purity they did not hesitate to look far afield for their needs.

5 Gautier, E.F., Les Sécles obscurs du Maghreb (Paris, 1927), pp. 1416.

6 Ibid. op. cit., p. 16.

7 Jugurtha, 79 4.

8 Bell. Afric. LI, 5. LXIX, 5. LXXIX, I .

9 Procopius, . Bell. Vand. 1, 15, 34. De Aedificiis

10 Jugurtha, . 17, 5.

11 Hist. Augusti, Hadrian, 22, 14.

12 The Greeks had learnt the use of elephants during the campaigns of Alexander, first at Arbela and afterwards in the Indus valley where elephants were opposed to them. They subsequently organized elephant hunts in Africa.

13 Res gestae Divi Augusti, 4, 39.

14 Natural History, V, I. VIII, 10.

15 Gsell, . op. cit. vol. 1, p. 99

16 Annales de Gbogruphie (1917) 26, 231, 377 et sep. West Africa I April 1922. The Gambia, Annual Report, 1920.

17 Gautier, E.F., Sahara Algérien (Paris, 1908). Edwardes, H.S.W. Geographical Journal (1919), 53, 206. Col. Mangeot, L’Afrique franpise, (1922), p. 527.

18 Edwardes, H.S.W. loc. cit. Nigeria, Annual Report, 1921. Bovill, E.W. Journal of the African Society (1921), 20, 181–5, 259 et seq. SirHector, Duff, Growing in Nigeria, (London, 1921), pp. 4 8. , Geogruphical Journal, (1920), 24, 245. Hans, Vischer, Geogruphical Journal (1909), 33, 259.

19 Nigeria, Governor’s Annual Address, (Lagos, 1924). p. 121

20 Gautier, E.F. Sahara algérien (Paris, 1908). Chudeau, R. Sahara soudunais (Paris, 1909). pp. 244–55. Annales de Géographie (1916), 26, 455.

21 Henri, Hubert, Annales de Géographie (1917). 26, 384.

22 Conrad, Kilian, Au Hoggur (Paris, 1925), pp. 106, 139-43, 158, 165, 178. Harding King, W.J. Geogruphical Journal (1919), 53, 49. Gautier, E.F., Le Sahara (Paris, 1928), pp. 61–7.

23 Rodd, F.R., People of the Veil (London, 1926), p. 361.

24 Herodotus, , 11, 32.

25 Ibid. IV, 181, 185.

26 Gsell, , op. cit. vol. 1, p. 57.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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