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The Roman empire in the time of Hadrian (ruled 117-38 AD), showing, in northwestern Africa, the imperial province of Mauretania Tingitana (Morocco)

Mauretania Tingitana was a Roman province located in northwestern Africa, coinciding roughly with the northern part of modern Morocco and Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla. The province extended from the northern peninsula, opposite Gibraltar, to Chellah (or Sala) and Volubilis to the south,[1] and as far east as the Oued Laou river. Its capital city was the city of Tingis, modern Tangier, after which it was named. Other major cities of the province were Iulia Valentia Banasa and Lixus.

Contents

History

After the death of Ptolemy of Mauretania, the last king of Mauretania in AD 40, Roman emperor Claudius changed the kingdom Mauretania into two Roman provinces: Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana. The Mulucha (Moulouya River), about 60 km west of modern Oran, Algeria became the border separating them. [2]

During the reign of Juba II Emperor Augustus, had already founded three colonias in Mauretania close to the Atlantic coast: Iulia Constantia Zilil, Iulia Valentia Banasa and Iulia Campestris Babba. This western part of Mauretania was to become the province called Mauretania Tingitana shortly afterwards. The region remained a part of the Roman Empire until 429 as the Vandals overran the area and Roman administrative presence came to an end.

The principal exports from Mauretania Tingitana were purple dyes and valuable woods; Tingitana also supplied Rome with agricultural goods and animals, such as lions and leopards. The native Mauri were highly regarded and recruited by the Romans as soldiers, especially as light cavalry. Clementius Valerius Marcellinus is recorded as governor (praeses) between 24 October 277 and 13 April 280.

According to tradition, the martyrdom of St Marcellus took place on 28 July 298 at Tingis (Tangier). During the Tetrarchy (Emperor Diocletian's reform of Roman governmental structures in 296), Mauretania Tingitana became part of the Diocese of Hispaniae, 'the Spains', and, by extension, part of the Praetorian Prefecture of the Gauls. (Mauretania Caesariensis was in the Diocese of Africa. Lucilius Constantius is recorded as governor (praeses) in the late fourth century.

The Notitia Dignitatum shows also, in its military organisation, a Comes Tingitaniae with a field army composed of two legions, three vexillations, and two auxilia palatina. Flavius Memorius held this office (comes) at some point during the middle of the fourth century. However, it is implicit in the source material that there was a single military command for both of the Mauretanian provinces, with a Dux Mauretaniae (a lower rank) controlling seven cohorts and one ala.

The Germanic Vandals established themselves in the province of Baetica in 422 under their king, Gunderic, and, from there, they carried out raids on Mauretania Tingitana. In 427, the Comes Africae, Bonifacius, rejected an order of recall from the Emperor Valentinian III, and he defeated an army sent against him. He was less fortunate when a second force was sent in 428. In that year, Gunderic was succeeded by Gaiseric, and Bonifacius invited Gaiseric into Africa, providing a fleet to enable the passage of the Vandals to Tingis. Bonifacius intended to confine the Vandals to Mauretania, but, once they had crossed the straits, they rejected any control and marched on Carthage, inflicting grievous suffering.

In 533, the great Byzantine general, Belisarius, reconquered the former Diocese of Africa from the Vandals on behalf of the Emperor Justinian I. All the territory west of Caesarea had already been lost by the Vandals to the Mauri, but a re-established Dux Mauretaniae kept a military unit at Septem (modern Ceuta). This was the last Byzantine outpost in Mauretania Tingitana; the rest of what had been the Roman province was united with the Byzantine part of Andalusia, under the name, Prefecture of Africa.

Most of the North African coast was later organised as the civilian Exarchate of Carthage, a special status in view of the outpost defense needs.

When the Umayyad Caliphs conquered all of Northern Africa, replacing Christianity and Paganism with Islam, both Mauretanias were reunited as the province of al-Maghrib (Arabic for 'the West', and still the official name of the Sherifian kingdom of Morocco. This province also included over half of modern Algeria).

Roman archaeological sites include Volubilis, the site of an administrative center and the palace of Gordius, Sala Colonia and Iulia Constantia Zilil.

See also

External links

Sources

  1. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Chellah, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
  2. ^ Richard J.A. Talberts, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World - p. 457

Further reading

  • J.B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire (online)
  • A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, Blackwell, Oxford 1964. ISBN 0-631-15076-5
  • Pauly-Wissowa (in German).
  • Westermann, Großer Atlass zur Weltgeschichte (German).
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