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North Africa and Europe in the Early Middle Ages

  • W. H. C. Frend

Recent discussions about Mediterranean trade in the early Middle Ages have tended to be based on two main assumptions. First, trade has been regarded as trade between ports in the eastern and western parts of the Mediterranean. Secondly, as a result of this view, the attention of historians has concentrated on the advance of the Arab fleets in the seventh and eighth centuries, which disrupted regular commerce and temporarily diminished the importance of the trading cities of Italy and Provence.

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page 61 note 1 Of the abundant literature, see Pirenne, H., ‘Mahomet et Charlemagne’, Revue Beige de Philologie et d'Histoire, i (1922), 7786, and ‘Un Contraste économique: Mérovingiens et Carolingiens’, ibid., i (1923), 223–35; also Pirenne's, final statement in Mahomet and Charlemagne (Engl. tr., London, 1939). Discussed by Sabbe, E., ‘L'Importation des tissus orientaux en Europe occidentale au Haut Moyen Age’, Rev. Beige, xiv (1935), 811–48; Lambrechts, P., ‘Les Thèses de Henri Pirenne sur la fin du monde antique et les débuts du moyen âge’, Byzantion, xiv (1939), 513–36; Lopez, R. S., ‘Mahomet and Charlemagne’, Speculum, xviii (1943), 1438, and D. C. Dennett, ‘Pirenne and Muhammed’, ibid., xxiii (1948), 165–90: in addition the able reviews published in the journal of Roman Studies (= JRS), by Baynes, N. H., xix (1929), 224–35, and A. Momigliano, xxxiv (1944), 157–8.

page 62 note 1 For camels, Gregory, of Tours, , Historia Francorum, vii. 35 (ed. Arndt, in Mon. Germ. Hist., Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum, i. 315), and Julian, of Toledo, , Historia Wambae, 30 (ed. Levison, in M.G.H., Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum, v. 525). In general, Haywood, R. M., Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, North Africa (Baltimore, 1938), and Cagnat, R., ‘L'Annone d'Afrique’, Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, xl (1916), 247–77.

page 62 note 2 Marcellinus, Ammianus, Rerum Gestarum, xxi. 7.2: ‘Africa … ad omnes casus principibus opportuna’; Cagnat, R., op. cit., pp. 250–1.

page 62 note 3 al Hakam, Ibn Abd, Futûh Ifrîqiya wa'l Andalus (ed. and tr. Algiers, A. Gateau., 1942), pp. 44–5.

page 62 note 4 Cited from Pirenne, , Mahomet and Charlemagne, p. 181.

page 62 note 5 Dennett, D. C., art. cit., p. 168. On the desultory character of Arab naval operations in the western Mediterranean, ibid., pp. 170–1.

page 62 note 6 Ibid., p. 174. See also Lopez, R. S. in Cambridge Economic History of Europe, ii. 275–7.

page 63 note 1 The Arabian Nights (ed. Lane, . London, 1889), ii. 85. Cf. Ganshof, F. L., ‘Notes sur les ports de Provence du VIIIe au Xe siècle’, Revue Historique (1938), 2837.

page 64 note 1 Khaldoun, Ibn, Les Prolegomènes historiques (tr. de Slane, . Paris, 18631868), i. 310.

page 64 note 2 al Hakam, Ibn Abd, op. cit., p. 57.

page 64 note 3 The dating of this phase of the history of North Africa is obscure. There seem to have been some organized Byzantine forces in the field as late as 683, when Sekerdid the Roum is mentioned as the ally of the Berber leader Koçeila in battles against the Arabs (Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, ed. de Slane, (Algiers, 18521856), i. 211, 288). On the other hand, the important fortresses placed near the south Tunisian shorts, such as Tozeur (Thusuros) and Nefta (Nepte), seem to have been abandoned about 667 (Poinssot, L., Bull, archéologique du Comité des Travaux historiques (= B.A.C.), 1940, Séance de 27 mai, pp. v–ix).

page 65 note 1 al Hakam, Ibn Abd, op. cit., p. 31. Cf. Oates, D., ‘The Tripolitanian Gebel: settlement of the Roman period around Gasr ed-Dauun’, Papers of the British School at Rome, xxi (1953), 113. The Hawarra were still in the area of Leptis in the eleventh century. See El-Edrisi, , Description de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne (ed. , R. Dozy and de Goeje, , Leyden, 1866), p. 154.

page 65 note 2 See Gsell, S., L'Histoire ancienne de l'Afrique du Nord, i (Paris, 1913), pp. 5399, and Sherwin-White, A. N., ‘Geographical Factors in Roman Algeria’, JRS, xxxiv (1944), 110.

page 66 note 1 CIL, viii. 23956, 1. 14 (Snobbeur, Henchir).

page 66 note 2 Best studied in Frank's, Tenney two articles in the American Journal of Philology (= AJP). xlvii (1926), ‘The Inscriptions of the Imperial Domains of Africa’, pp. 5573, and ‘A Commentary on the Inscription from Henchir Mettich’, pp. 153–70. See also Carcopino, J., ‘L'Inscription d'Ain el Djemala’, Melanges d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'Ecole française de Rome (= Mélanges), xxvi (1906), 365 ff.

page 66 note 3 Beautifully illustrated in Baradez', J.Fossatum Africae (Paris, 1949).

page 66 note 4 Birley, Eric, ‘The Governors of Numidia’, JRS, xl (1950), 68.

page 67 note 1 Goodchild, R. G. and Perkins, J. B. Ward, ‘The Limes of Tripolitanus in the light of recent discoveries’, JRS, xxxix (1949), 8195, at p. 93.

page 67 note 2 Guey, J., ‘Note sur le “limes” romain de Numidie et le Sahara au IVe siècle’, Mélanges, lvii (1939), 178248, pp. 221 ff.

page 67 note 3 Carcopino, J., ‘Les Castella de la plaine de Sétif’, Revue Africaine, lxii (1918), 122.

page 67 note 4 Ed. G. Lumbroso (Rome, 1903), p. 81; ‘Paene ipsa (Africa) omnibus gentium usum olei praestat.’

page 67 note 5 Augustine, , De Ordine, i. 3.6 (Migne, Pat. Lat., xxxii. 981). See Albertini, E., Mélanges Paul Thomas (Bruges, 1930), pp. 15.

page 67 note 6 Codex Theodosianus, xiv. 15.3 (Ad Senatum, 15 April 397); Symmachus, , Ep. ix. 55 and x. 55. See also the present writer's The Donatist Church (Oxford, 1952), pp. 47 ff.

page 67 note 7 Calza, G., ‘Il Piazzale delle Corporazione e la funzione commerciale di Ostia’, Bull. della Commissions archeologica communale di Roma, xliii (1916), 187. On the dating, Walbank, F. in Cambridge Econ. Hist., ii. 47. A mosaic in the museum at Tébessa shows a galley laden with amphorae under sail, with an inscription Fortuna Redux.

page 67 note 8 CIL, vi. 1625, 1626. Cf. ii. 1180. Dating probably end second century.

page 67 note 9 Cagnat, , op. cit., p. 257. Also Camps-Fabrer, H., L'Olivier et l'huile dans l'Afrique romaine (Algiers, 1953), pp. 70 ff.

page 68 note 1 Goodchild, R. G., ‘Roman Sites on the Tarhuna Plateau of Tripolitania’, Papers of the British School at Rome, xix. 4177. For the Theveste area, Guenin, Commandant, ‘Inventaire archéologique du Cercle de Tébessa’, Nouvelles archives des Missions scientifiques, xvii (1909), 75234.

page 68 note 2 Illustrated by Brogan, O., Illustrated London News, 22 and 29 01 1955.

page 68 note 3 See Christofle, M., Essai de restitution d'un moulin à huile de l'époque romaine à Madaure (Algiers, 1930).

page 68 note 4 Hautecoeur, L., ‘Les mines d'Henchir-es-Srira’, Mélanges, xxix (1909), 383 ff. The African abroad was proud of his title ‘civis Afer negotians’ (CIL, iii. 5230).

page 68 note 5 Synesius, , Ep. 52.

page 68 note 6 Baynes, N. H. in JRS, xix (1929), 234; also Bury, J. B., The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians (London, 1928), pp. 123–4.

page 68 note 7 Salvian, , De Dei Gubernatione, vi. 12, 68; ‘Postremo, ne qua pars mundi exitialibus malis esset immunis, (populi Wandalorum) navigare per fluctus bella coeperunt; quae vastatis urbibus mari clausis et eversis Sicilia et Sardinia, id est fiscalibus horreis, atque abcisis velut vitalibus venis Africam ipsam, id est quasi animam captivavere reipublicae.’

page 69 note 1 Procopius, , De bello Vandalico, iii. 22. 15.

page 69 note 2 Vitensis, Victor, Historia persecutionis, i. 4. Roman state organizations such as the navicularii evidently went out of business in this period. See Courtois, C., ‘De Rome a l'Islam’, Revue Africaine, lxxxvi (1942), 27.

page 69 note 3 Tablettes Albertini, ed. Courtois, C., Leschi, L., Perrat, C., and Saumagne, C., published on behalf of the Government General of Algeria by Arts et Métiers, 1952. Albertini's, E. article in the Journal de Savants 01 1930, on the preliminary results of the discovery is still valuable.

page 69 note 4 Tablettes Albertini, p. 84. In all the transactions the vendor is described as selling his rights to the purchaser in the formula ‘ut [is] earn rem habeat, teneat, possideat, utatur, fruatur, ipse heredesve eius in perpetuum’. Cf. Frank, Tenney, AJP, xlvii (1926), 166.

page 70 note 1 Tablettes Albertini, pp. 201 ff.

page 70 note 2 Ibid., pp. 192–3.

page 70 note 3 Ibid., p. 175.

page 70 note 4 Cassiodorus does not say that the oil came from Africa, but he uses the term orcae in which the African oil was shipped. I am accepting Pirenne's view (op. cit., p. 93) that the merchant John who was supplying the bishop of Salona originally got his cargo from Africa (Cassiodorus, , Variae, iii. 7; ed. Mommsen, in M.G.H., Auct. Antiq., xii. 83).

page 70 note 5 Procopius, , De bello Vandalico, iii. 20. 5 and 16.

page 70 note 6 Cassiodorus, , Variae, iii. 53.

page 70 note 7 Vitensis, Victor, Historia persecutionis, iii. 29.

page 70 note 8 Leschi, L., Tipasa (Algiers, 1948), pp. 48 ff.

page 71 note 1 A study on the early history of the Louata is badly needed. They appear to have spread across the Gulf of Sirte from Cyrenaica during the fifth century until they reached the area of Leptis Magna c. 500. References to them have been collected by Bates, O., The Eastern Libyans (London, 1914), pp. 6970.

page 71 note 2 Suggested in a well-documented article by Gsell, S., ‘La Tripolitaine et le Sahara au IIIe siècle de notre ère’, Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, xliii (1933). See also the valuable discussion of the evidence by Leschi, L., Rome et les Nomades du Sahara central (Algiers, 1942), and Gautier's, E. F. forceful pages in Le Passé de l'Afrique du Nord (Paris, 1937), pp. 210–14.

page 71 note 3 Caesar, , for instance, in Bellum Africum, 68.4, reports the capture of twenty-two camels which belonged to King Juba.

page 71 note 4 Ammianus Marcellinus, xxviii. 6. Cf. Oates, , art. cit. (above, p. 65, n. 1), p. 112.

page 71 note 5 Goodchild, , art. cit. (above, p. 68, n. 1), p. 65. On Christianity in Vandal and Byzantine Tripolitania, Perkins, J. B. Ward and Goodchild, R. G., ‘The Christian Antiquities in Tripolitania’, Archaeologia, xcv (1953), 57 ff.

page 71 note 6 Late, perhaps even seventh-century Berber ruins have been located along the Oued Itel some thirty-five miles south of the limes at Gemellae, in country which is to-day desert (Blanchet, P., B.A.C., 1899, pp. 137–40). See also Baradez, J., op. cit., pp. 141–2.

page 72 note 1 Procopius, , De bello Vandalico, iii. 8. See also Gautier, E. F., Genséric (Paris, 1951), pp. 288–94. For the Louata's use of similar tactics against the Byzantines, , Corippus, , Iohannidos, ii. 93; iv. 598; v. 430; vi. 194; viii. 40.

page 72 note 2 Procopius, , De bello Vandalico, iii. 9, 3. Cf. Ferrandus, , Vita Sancti Fulgentii (ed. Lapeyre, R. P.), p. 30.

page 72 note 3 Corippus, , Iohannidos, iv. 22, 18.

page 72 note 4 Ibid., iv. 21, 19.

page 72 note 5 Ibid., iv. 24, 7.

page 72 note 6 Procopius, , De bello Vandalico, iv. 23, 27, 28, 52.

page 73 note 1 Corippus, , Iohannidos, ii. 146–8. Cf. Goodchild, R. G., The Limes Tripolitanus (II), JRS, xl (1950), 38.

page 73 note 2 Poinssot, L. and Lantier, R., B.A.C., 1925, pp. lxxvlxxxiv.

page 73 note 3 Albertini, E., ‘Ostrakon byzantine de Négrine’, Cinquantenaire de la Faculté des Lettres à Alger (Algiers, 1932).

page 73 note 4 En-Noweri, (ed. de Slane, , Appendix i to Khaldoun's, IbnHistoire des Berbères, p. 341). See also Marçais, G., La Berbérie musulmane et l'Orient au moyen age (Paris, 1946), p. 23.

page 74 note 1 al Hakam, Ibn Abd, op. cit., pp. 44–5.

page 74 note 2 Poinssot, and Lantier, , art. cit., p. lxxxiii.

page 74 note 3 Gregory, of Tours, , Historia Francorum, iv. 43. Also v. 5.

page 74 note 4 Information from C. A. Raleigh Radford, F.S.A., who conducted the excavations.

page 74 note 5 References to these hoards are given by Poinssot, and Lantier, , art. cit., p. lxxxiii, n. 1.

page 74 note 6 Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, iii. 179.

page 74 note 7 Ibid., i. 214. Cf. En-Noweri (ed. de Slane, p. 341).

page 75 note 1 See E. F. Gautier's excellent analysis of the campaigns fought between the Arab, and Berber, armies in the last half of the seventh century, Le Passé de l'Afrique du Nord, pp. 247–54.

page 75 note 2 Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, i. 237.

page 75 note 3 Berthier, A., Les Vestiges du christianisme antique dans la Numidie centrale (Algiers, 1942), p. 172 (decay of churches in Numidia).

page 76 note 1 Berthier, A., Tiddis, antique Castellum Tidditanorum (Algiers, 1952), pp. 50–2.

page 76 note 2 Goodchild, , The Limes Tripolitanus (II), p. 37.

page 76 note 3 Analysed by Marçais, G. in ‘La Berbérie au IXe siècle d'après el Ya'koubi’, Revue Africaine, lxxxv (1941), 42 ff.

page 76 note 4 Khaldoun, Ibn, op. cit., i. 233–4.

page 76 note 5 Lopez, in Cambridge Econ. History, ii. 276.

page 76 note 6 Cited from Pirenne, , Mahomet and Charlemagne, pp. 8990.

page 76 note 7 El-Idrisi, , Description d'Afrique et de l'Espagne, p. 149.

page 76 note 8 Al-Muqaddasi (writing c. 980), Description de l'Occident musulman au IX–X siècle (ed. and tr. Pellat, G.. Algiers, 1950).

page 77 note 1 El-Idrisi, , op. cit., p. 141. The merchants seem to have penetrated lands occupied by negroes and obtained gold from them.

page 77 note 2 van Berchem, M., ‘Uncovering a lost city of the Sahara’, Illustrated London News, 31 01 1953.

page 77 note 3 Seston, W., ‘Sur les derniers temps du Christianisme en Afrique’, Mélanges, liii (1936), 101–24; Marçais, , La Berbérie musulmane, pp. 32 ff.

page 77 note 4 Monceaux, P., Timgad chrétien (Paris, 1911), p. 22.

page 77 note 5 al Hakam, Ibn Abd, op. cit., p. 77; also Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, i. 215.

page 77 note 6 Procopius, , De bello Vandalico, iii. 8. 18.

page 77 note 7 Corippus, , Iohannidos, vii. 307–15; cf. ii. 109.

page 78 note 1 al Hakam, Ibn Abd, op. cit., p. 31. See also Marçais, , La Berbérie musulmane, pp. 35 ff. Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, i. 214, states that the Kahena's followers (i.e. nomadic Berbers) embraced Islam after the battle of Bir el Kahena in 698.

page 78 note 2 Khaldoun, Ibn, op. cit., i. 212.

page 78 note 3 Seston, , op. cit., pp. 121 ff. As late as 1140 the Aghlabids were using Christians or converts to Islam in the army and administration.

page 78 note 4 Tchalenko, G., ‘La Syrie du Nord: Etude économique’, Actes du VIe Congrès international des études byzantines (Paris, 1950), ii. 389–97.

page 79 note 1 Sites such as Gasr ed-Dauun in Tripolitania where smaller buildings have been built in the ruins of large olive farms have been surveyed but not yet excavated.

page 79 note 2 Khaldoun, Ibn, Prolegomènes (ed. de Slane, , i. 309). See also Schumpeter, J., ‘Les Conquêtes musulmans et l'Impérialisme arabe’, Revue Africaine, xciv (1950), 283–97.

page 79 note 3 The Hafsids also used the Louata as collectors of tribute from other Berber tribes (Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, i. 233).

page 79 note 4 See Gautier, , Le Passé de l'Afrique du Nord, pp. 281 ff.

page 80 note 1 Lopez, in Camb. Econ. Hist. ii. 261.

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