Numidia


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Numidia

(no͞omĭd`ēə), ancient country of NW Africa, very roughly the modern AlgeriaAlgeria
, Arab. Al Djazair, Fr. Algérie, officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, republic (2005 est. pop. 32,532,000), 919,590 sq mi (2,381,741 sq km), NW Africa, bordering on Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Morocco in the west, on the
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. It was part of the Carthaginian empire until MasinissaMasinissa
or Massinissa
, c.238–148 B.C., king of Numidia. He succeeded (c.207 B.C.) his father as king of E Numidia. Brought up in Carthage, he fought in a Carthaginian campaign in Spain in the Second Punic War (see Punic Wars) but eventually went over (c.
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, ruler of E Numidia, allied himself (c.206 B.C.) with Rome in the Punic WarsPunic Wars,
three distinct conflicts between Carthage and Rome. When they began, Rome had nearly completed the conquest of Italy, while Carthage controlled NW Africa and the islands and the commerce of the W Mediterranean.
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. After the Roman victory over Carthage led to peace in 201 B.C., Masinissa was awarded rule of all Numidia. This began Numidia's most flourishing period, culturally and politically. Numidia's encroachments on reviving Carthage furnished Rome with a pretext for the Third Punic War (149–146 B.C.). Masinissa's successor was Micipsa (148–118 B.C.), one of whose heirs, JugurthaJugurtha
, c.156–104 B.C., king of Numidia, a grandson of Masinissa. On the death of Micipsa (118 B.C.), the royal power devolved upon his two sons and upon his adopted son Jugurtha. The latter ousted the other two heirs and united Numidia under his rule.
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, brought on a fatal war with Rome. Later, in the Roman civil war, King Juba IJuba I
, c.85 B.C.–46 B.C., king of Numidia in N Africa. He joined Pompey's party and in 49 B.C. routed Caesar's legate, Curio. He fought on the side of Metellus Scipio and took his life after Caesar's victory at Thapsus. Despite his defeat, his son, Juba II, d. c.A.
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 sided with Pompey, and Numidia lost (46 B.C.) all independence with Julius Caesar's victory. Juba II was favored by the Romans as a subject prince, and the region subsequently flourished for several centuries. Numidia was invaded by the Vandals in the 5th cent. A.D. and by the Arabs in the 8th cent. The main urban centers of ancient Numidia were Cirta (now ConstantineConstantine
, ancient Cirta, city (1998 pop. 462,187), capital of Constantine dept., NE Algeria, on the gorge of the Rhumel River. A major inland city, it is the railhead of a prosperous and diverse agricultural area.
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) and Hippo Regius (now AnnabaAnnaba
, formerly Bône
(bōn), city (1998 pop. 348,554), capital of Annaba prov., extreme NE Algeria, a port on the Mediterranean Sea. One of the country's leading ports, the city is also an important administrative, commercial, and industrial center.
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).

Numidia

 

in antiquity, a region of northern Africa occupying what is now the eastern part of modern Algeria. At the end of the first millennium B.C., the nomadic Numidian Massyli and Masaeslyi tribes made a gradual transition to land cultivation and settled stock raising. This transition was accompanied by the rise of cities, such as Cirta (the main city), Thugga, Theveste, and Sicca Veneria, and the development of the cities into poleis.

Numidia was conquered by Carthage in the third century B.C. The Numidians repeatedly rose up against Carthaginian domination. During the Second Punic War (218–201 B.C.), Masinissa, king of the eastern portion of Numidia, aided the Romans; in return for his aid, the Romans helped him to become ruler of all Numidia in 201 B.C. Under Masinissa (ruled 201–149 B.C.), the Numidian kingdom was greatly strengthened: its size increased, cities grew, and commercial ties were increased with the entire Mediterranean region.

Between 111 and 105 B.C., the Numidian king Jugurtha waged a war with Rome. He suffered defeat, was taken prisoner, and was executed. In 46 B.C., Numidia became the Roman province of Africa Nova. It was conquered by the Vandals in 429–30 A.D. and by the Byzantines in 533. The region was seized by the Arabs in the seventh century.

REFERENCES

Lentsman, Ia. A. “Dar Masinissy.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1948, no. 4.
Mashkin, N. A. “Iz istorii afrikanskikh gorodov II—III vv.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1951, no. 2.
Diligenskii, G. G. Severnaia Afrika v IV-V vv. Moscow, 1961.
Gsell. St. Histoire ancienne de l’Afrique du Nord, vols. 1–8. Paris, 1913–28.

Numidia

an ancient country of N Africa, corresponding roughly to present-day Algeria: flourished until its invasion by Vandals in 429; chief towns were Cirta and Hippo Regius
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