The Pan- African beliefs of the Ancient Carthaginians
It is commonly believed by modern western scholars that the Carthaginians are a Semetic/Asiatic people. However this is false because the Phoenicians were actually Hamites(Africans) and the majority of Carthaginian citizens were of African descent. The Carthaginians were in reality Pan- Africans in their thought and actions. For many years the Carthaginians barred any Eurasian from landing and settling on the continent of Africa. The majority of their army were Africans from different ethnic groups and the Carthaginians also brought great riches back to all Africa. I want to start this topic because I feel this needs to be discussed, for us to understand Hannibal and African history as a whole. For what happened during the Punic wars affected the history of all Africa.
During the battle of Zama, Hannibal told his African troops that the battle would decide the fate of all Africa.
“Hannibal said that the battle would decide the fate of Carthage and all Africa; if vanquished, they(Africans) would be enslaved forthwith, if victorious, they would forever rule over all the vanquished.” 42 Appian Punic wars
Sophonisba a Carthaginian noble woman who was a stout pan-African, refused to be a slave/concubine to a non-African. When her husband King syphax (African) was defeated by the Romans, she turned to Massinissa (a African king who helped the Romans) to take her as a concubine.
She told him "Were I nothing more than the wife of syphax, yet would I rather make trial of the honor of a Numidian, someone of the African race, the same race as me, than of a foreigner and an alien. You know what a Carthaginian, what the daughter of Hasdrubal, has to fear from a roman.’’30:12 TITI LIVI AB VRBE CONDITA LIBER
hanc ueniam supplici des ut ipse quodcumque fert animus de captiua tua statuas neque me in cuiusquam Romani superbum et crudele arbitrium uenire sinas. si nihil aliud, quam syphacis uxor, fuissem, tamennumidae, atque in eadem mecum Africa geniti, quam alienigenae et externi, fidem experiri mallem. quid Carthaginiensi ab Romano, quid filiae Hasdrubalis timendum sit vides.
Hamilcar Barca the father of Hannibal brought back to Africa from Spain great riches that enriched the continent.
 |At Hamilcar posteaquam mare transiit in Hispaniamque venit, magnas res secunda gessit fortuna; maximas bellicosissimasque gentes subegit; equis, armis, viris, pecunia totam locupletavit Africam.|
"After Hamilcar had crossed the sea, and arrived in Spain, he exhibited great exploits in that country, where he was attended by the favors of fortunes in all he did. He reduced several powerful and warlike nations to submission, and enriched all Africa with horses, arms and money.”
St. Augustine who was a Carthaginian African reminded his fellow African, the pride and importance of African languages and names.
|Neque enim usque adeo te ipsum oblivisci potuisses, ut homo Afer scribens Afris, cum simus utrique in Africa constituti, Punica nomina exagitanda existimares.| “for surely, considering you are an African, and that we are both settled in Africa, you could not have so forgotten yourself when writing to Africans as to think that the Punic (African) names were a fit theme for censure” Augustine Letter XVII.
Augustine highlights that by Punic he means African languages in general
|et punicam, id est, afram.| "and Punic, that is, African" In epistolam ioannis ad parthos tractatus decem 2:3 (on acts 2:4) by st augustine
Africans in America during the time of slavery were inspired by Hannibal and the Punic wars, they used it as inspiration for slave revolts.
“Captain alexander, an English tourist, arriving in new Orleans at the beginning of September, found the whole city in tumult. Handbills had been insued, appealing to the slaves to rise against their masters, saying that all men were born equal, declaring that Hannibal was a black man, and that they also might have great leaders among them. Twelve hundred stand of weapons were said to have been found in a black man’s house; five hundred citizens were under arms, and four companions of regulars were ordered to the city, whose barracks alexander himself visited.” Nat turner’s insurrection, August 1861, Atlantic Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, Art and Politics, Volume 8 pg 182
Those who are confused on what the Romans and Carthaginians mean by African. here is a quote from Roman poet Virgil who describes an African woman
Publius Vergilius Maro (70 bce to 18 bce) has described a “African” woman named Scybal "Of African race, her whole figure bears proof of her country. Her hair tightly-curled (kinky), her lips thick, her color, very dark, broad chest and breasts low hanging, and with belly somewhat pinched; thin legs, large feet and broad. Her tough skinned heels were seemed with many cracks."[31.35] virgil moretum |Interea clamat scybale :Haec erat unica custos, afra genus, tota patriam testante figura, torta comam, labroque tumens et fusca colore, pectore lata, jacens mammis, compressior alvo, cruribus exilis, spatiosa prodiga planta; continuis rimis calcanea scissa rigebant.|
Scybal is a Carthaginian name because Carthaginian names end in bal, bale, bel
Hannibal thought he would be buried in Africa but was actually buried in Turkey
"He himself(Hannibal) died by drinking poison near Bithynia in a place called Libyssa by name, though he expected to die in his own Libyan(African) land. For an oracle had once been written out for Hannibal to the following effect: "A Libyssan clod shall hide the form of Hannibal." later the Roman Emperor Severus, being of Libyan(African) birth, placed in a tomb of white marble this man, the General Hannibal." Tzetzes, Chil. 1, 798-805.
Note: The ancient Greeks used to call the Whole continent of Africa "Libya"
During the battles in Italy, Hannibal favored his African troops over his European troops by using them as reserves, putting them in the best armor and giving them the best of the spoils.
"His object being to employ the Africans as a reserve force, with the Spaniards and Celts bearing the brunt of the fighting.The Africans were armed in the Roman fashion, Hannibal having equipped them with the choicest of the arms captured in the previous battles." 113-114 Polybius Histories Book 3
Stephane Gsell concludes the following:" anthropological analyses of the skeletons found in Carthage prove that there is no racial or ethnic unity… the Semitic type (White Berber) characterized by a round face, a thin aquiline nose has not been found in Carthage. On the other hand, the dolichocephalic type with a short face, a body more stretched out that the legs is a common feature to the skeletons found in Lebanon and in Tyra (match with the Phoenicians who also were Negroid)… the majority of the Carthaginian population was Negroid…"
The Ancient Greeks of Sicily used to laugh at the jet black skin of the Africans in the Carthaginian army.
XVIII. Gelo, syracusanorum tyrannus, belo adversus poenos suscepto, quum multos cepisset, infirmissimum quemque praecipue ex auxiliaribus, qui nigerrimi erant, nudatum in conspectus fuorum produxit, ut persuaderet contemnendos.| ''Gelo, tyrant of syracuse, in the war against the poeni(Carthaginians), having taken many prisoners, selected the weakest amongst the auxiliaries, who were all very black, and made them appear naked in presence of his soldiers to excite their contempt'' Strategematicon by Sextus Julius Frontinus pg 123 book 1 :18
this comes from the ancient Greeks belief that extreme black skin is cowardly
Example (Aristotle calls the Ethiopians and Egyptians cowards because of this)
“Those who are too black are cowards, like for instance, the Egyptians
and Ethiopians. But those who are excessively white are also cowards as we can see from the example of women, the complexion of
courage is between the two.” (Aristotle, _Physiognomy_, 6)
Hannibal was called a Afer by roman poet Horace which is the Latin equivalent to "black person" just as Virgil has described
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 bce to 8 bce) has referred to Hannibal as an “Afer”|qui primus alma risit adorea, dirus per urbes afer ut italas, ceu flamma per taedas, vel eurus per siculas equitavit undas.| 40-45 carmen iv drusi laudes ‘’since the dire Afer (African) sped his way through the Italian cities, as the flame does through the pines, or the south-east wind over Sicilian waters.’’ Carmen iv 40-45 horatii flacci carminum liber iv quartus (the Afer is Hannibal)
“Black: a Negro, Aethiops, Afer” A New and Copious Lexicon of the Latin Language
edited by Frederick Percival Leverett
Hannibal and Hamilcar were members of the Ancient African tribe called Barcaei
The Barcaei were according to Vibius Sequester a Moorish tribe that used to inhabit north Africa in ancient times. “Barcaei mauri libyae” "Barcaen Moors Libyans" Vibius Sequester De fluminibus, fontibus, lacubus, nemoribus, paludibus ... By Vibius Sequester pg 34
(maurus means black as many roman writers has confirmed) Mauros niger : Graeci enim nigrum μαῦρον “Moor is black, for the greeks call black mauron.” Xii 1:55 Etymologies of isidore of seville
Silius italicus calls Hannibal the young Barcaei “Tentoria prima Barcaei petit iuvenis” punica x 354 silius italicus (Hannibal)
(this is the true origin of the surname Barca)
Thank you for your posts! Always best to seek and present the primary texts. One of the most common falsehoods repeated is Africa is named after a roman general.
jerejef/medaase for your feed back
Scipio was named after Africa not the other way around
- “hic erit iuvenis, penes quem perfecti huiusce belli laus est, Africanus ob egregiam victoriam de hannibale poenisque apellatus- this was to be the young man who obtained the glory of completing the war, and was called Africanus because of his outstanding victory over Hannibal and the Carthaginians.”21.46.8 livy
- Immediately the whole province of Africa was aroused; the people there pulled down maximus’ emblems of honor and decorated their cities with paintings and statues Gordian; they added “africanus” to his imperial titles, giving him their name, for the Libyans are called Africans in Latin. Chp V 8 History of the Roman Empire: From the Death of Marcus Aurelius by Herodian
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