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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Historical Dictionary of the Berbers. The Kurds, by Michael M. The Inuit, by Pamela R. The Druzes, by Conveftir Swayd, Southeast Asian Massif, by Jean Michaud, The Berbers Imazighenby Hsain Ilahiane, No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, convvertir, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Historical dictionaries of peoples and cultures ; no. Manufactured in the United States of America. My identity, my culture, is not an administrative file that the authority legitimizes and draws up, opens, and closes at its convenience and with which I must comply.

Culture is the daily construction of a free society. Maps Appendix C: That much is known, but not much more, not even roughly how many of them there are, while their origins are still shrouded in mystery.

This is not fichler, after surviving Punic, Ro- man, Byzantine, Vandal, Arab, Ottoman, French, Italian, and Spanish invasions and settlement and not really being tolerated by the govern- ments of the modern states. They contributed heavily to the spread of Islam and are Muslims, but that, as well as pressures from a long suc- cession of wn, has dampened their identity and constricted those using the language.

Yet the Imazighen or free men are still there and still cling to the hopes of greater acceptance vichier representation. This makes the Etnos Dictionary of the Berbers Imazighen like some others in this series more significant than ordinary reference works because it has to provide information about another people whose past is less well known and whose future is less certain.

This is done in several ways, not least of which is ficjier chronology that reaches all the way back and comes up to the present. The introduction places the Imazighen in context, showing just what they are up against.

And the dictionary, the foundation of the book, provides an impressive collec- tion of entries on important persons, places, events, institutions, and as- pects of culture, society, economy, and politics, past and present.

Historical Dictionary of the | Kamel Khalil –

Given the difficulty in finding out about the Berbers, the bibliography is a pre- cious tool and leads to further sources of information. This volume was written by one of the few specialists and himself an Amazigh from Morocco, Hsain Ilahiane. Ilahiane has written many scholarly articles on the Berbers, Arabs, and Haratine and is the author of the book Ethnicities, Community Making, and Agrarian Change: The Political Ecology of a Moroccan Oasis.

This historical dictionary takes him much further in many direc- tions, expanding his own horizons and also contributing to expanding those of interested readers. I would also like to thank Abdellah Ham- moudi and Nabil Chbouki for their interest in my work and encourage- ment and Jessaca Fox for tracking references.

I would also like to acknowledge the interlibrary desk at Iowa State University whose work has made my task so much easier. I owe special thanks to both the se- ries editor and the press for accommodating my delays as the tenure process shifted my attention.

Most important, I acknowledge my wife, Ann, and my other family in Berber country for having patience with my endeavors. For Arabic and Berber, the consonant kh is pronounced as in Bach and gh as the French r.


Place-names and common proper names with English and French spellings appear as they do in English and French and are not transliterated.

Capsian civilization; emergence of proto- Mediterranean peoples, ancestors of the Berbers. Neolithic period in the Maghreb and the Sahara. Egyptian archeological records refer to a battle be- tween the army of the Pharaohs and Libyans called tehenu. Phoenicians acquire trading posts in Spain and es- tablish ports of call in Sicily, North Africa, and elsewhere in the western Mediterranean.

Sheshonq I, a Libyan, founds the 22nd Egyptian dynasty. Formation of Berber Kingdoms: Mauritania in the west, Massaessyles in the center, and Massyles in the east. Carthage expands into its African hinterlands. Syphax is king of the Massaessyles of Numidia. Defeat of Syphax; Massinissa encroaches on Cirta and makes it his headquarters.

Massinissa, king of the Massyles kingdom. Numidic-Phoenician war; defeat of Carthage in Zema.

Hierbas unites Numidia and is ruined by Rome. Death of King Bocchus of Mauritania. Augustus gives Ifchier to Juba II as a client kingdom. Malian inde- pendence, 22 September. Mauritanian indepen- dence, 28 November. Berbers are the ancient inhabitants of North Africa, but rarely have they formed an actual kingdom or separate nation-state.

They have, however, formed dispersed communities that concertir under a series of foreign invaders: In their encounter with the Arabs, the Ottomans, and the European colo- nial powers, they often faced adversity and still do so because of post- colonial government policies aimed at stamping out Berber identity, language, and culture.

Today, celebrating Berber contributions before and after the Arab conquest is still not entirely politically correct in North Africa. There are many reasons for this sentiment. First, there is the Islamist plan to maintain the professed unity of Islam through its sacred language, Ara- bic.

Second, the French use of the Berbers to support their racist poli- cies was rejected by the nationalist and Islamist movements. Third, most of the political parties on the left and the right have always been hostile to the emphasizing of ethnic and converir diversity.

Conse- quently, the renaissance of Berber culture and history are stifled by the leftovers of the French colonial Berber question, the postindependence ideologies of Arabism, and the current Islamist discourses on the lin- guistic and cultural merits of Berberness. With the arrival of the Arab Muslims in the seventh century, the word barbari took an Arabized form, al barabir or barabira. Tamazgha is the land where Imazighen have lived since time immemorial and captures the state of being free from domination of others.

In the words of anthropologist Edward H. Spicerthey are an enduring people, and their endur- ing qualities depend on continuous possession of a homeland sustained by such constructs as ethnicity, language, and culture. The origin of the Imazighen as well as their racial classification and language relationship with any other Mediterranean or African race, present or ancient, has long been a subject of intense debate among scholars.

Just as the definition of race remains at best a contentious cul- tural construct, the notion that Ethnnos must represent descendants of some purely homogeneous cultural group originating in a particular area or site is still fonvertir matter of conjecture. Throughout time and even over the past two millennia, North Africa has absorbed a large number of successive migration flows.

There is no hard evidence to indicate that things were different in the so-called obscure centuries of North African historiography and archaeology. The Mekta Afalou type, associated with Capsian culture of around B. This claim, however, has been challenged, and an indigenous development from the Neanderthals has been suggested.

Today, many scholars believe that the peopling of North Africa was infused with migrations from the east and south and across the straits from western Europe.

Additionally, the linguistic evidence is etynos. Berber has been, for the most part of its history, a spoken rather than a written language, although there is archaeological evidence of rock art and inscriptions in deciphered Berber script, the Tifinagh still used by the Tuareg in the central Sahara.


Thousands of undeciphered Libyan in- scriptions have been published claiming that the earliest Libyco-Berber inscriptions date back to the third millennium Kn. Berber has affinities to Semitic languages such convettir Arabic and Hebrew, but the connection to ancient Middle Eastern rthnos such as Ancient Egyptian or Akka- dian writing systems remains to be fully investigated.

Sthnos study by David Hart on the glottochronology of three main dialects of the Berber language in Morocco, Tamazight Tashalhiyt, Tamazight, and Dhamazightprovides a rough date for the separation of these three dialects. He suggests that Dhamazight of the Rif sepa- rated from Tamazight about 1, years ago, while Tamazight diverged from Tashalhiyt about 2, years ago.

His analysis also suggests 2, years of divergence between Tamazight and Tashalhiyt. Although there is a strong oral tradition, the lack of a universal al- phabet and a common literature has made it difficult to substantiate lin- guistic evidence.

The first known Berber writers belong to the Roman and Byzantine cultural times and wrote in Latin or Greek. Today, much of the intellectual production of Berbers is in Arabic, French, and Span- ish.

Knowledge Base

The scarce literature in Berber language is of recent date: Richer is the flow of oral literature, transmitted mainly by women, and of popular poetry, some of which has been collected and documented by a number of writers and anthropologists.

Over the centuries, there have been ethnocultural symbioses with the conquerors Phoenician, Roman, Vandal, Byzantine, Ottoman, Arab, French, and Spanish. King Massinissa of the Massyles established the first Berber state, Numidia. After his death, Numidia became a Roman client state. During Roman times, the Berbers were pushed into the hinterlands. Consequently, they mounted numerous re- bellions such as that of Tacfarinas A.

The appearance and spread of Christianity produced dissention given the rise of Donatism. At the same time, insurrec- tions led by Firmus — and Gildon contributed to the weakening of the Romans, which hastened their fall to the Vandals. The Vandals were not as successful as the Romans in controlling Berber country.

The Byzantines also admired the military qualities of the Berbers, but, similar to the Vandals, they found it very hard to extend their control over the entire Berber country. Al-Botr moved from the steppes and the highlands between the Nile and southern Tunisia into the Jabal Nafusa in Libya and into Algeria, where they settled in the areas of Tahart and Tlemcen, while others continued into Morocco, spread along the Mulwiyya and Sabu rivers and on the fringe of the Sahara.

Some of the Baranis moved from the Aures and Kabylia regions into the area of Oran and further on to central Morocco and parts of the Rif. Furthermore, Ibn Khaldun distin- guished three major groups among the Berbers—Masmuda, Sanhaja, and Zanata—and ascribed to each a separate genealogy leading to a common ancestor.

Although this dichotomy of Berber history—al-Baranis and al-Botr—is linked to his rural—urban dichotomy, it is less valuable and has probably caused much confusion in Berber scholarship. From a modern anthropological perspective, not only is this folk history discredited, but so also is the notion that ethnic groups in a region such as the Maghrib can be neatly classified as either seden- tary or nomadic.

Human adaptation in the Maghrib is far too complex and messy for such a simple and static dichotomy to explain. The attitude of the Berbers toward the Arab advance in the seventh century was expressed in two major ways.

Berber warriors fought on the side of the Arabs on their march through North Africa against the Byzantine forces.