Berber peopleBerber people are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. Historically Berbers have been variously known, for instance as Libyans by the ancient Greeks, as Numidians and Mauri by the Romans, and as Moors by medieval and early modern Europeans.
- This Libyan prince, named Sheshonk (whom the Bible called Shishak
when he sacked Jerusalem), became the first pharaoh of the Twenty-second
Dynasty, and he used his son's royal connection to breed a line of
Pharaohs. In all, eight Libyans pharaohs ruled for over 200 years.
- Bob Brier, Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999, p.28
- The best known of them were the Roman author Apuleius, the Roman
emperor Septimius Severus, and St. Augustine whose mother was a Berber.
- Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic Library Publishing, 2005, v.3, p.569
- The Berbers belong to a powerful, formidable, and numerous people; a
true people like so many others, the world has seen - like the Arabs,
the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans.
- Ibn Khaldun, Kitab al-Ibar in The Berbers, Michael Brett, Elizabeth Fentress, Blackwell Publishing, 1997 p.1
- Nearly all the Latin Fathers are Africans - Tertullian of Carthage,
the Numid Arnobius of Sicca and his pupil Lactantius, Saint Cyprian of
Carthage, the African Marius Victorinus, the Berber Saint Augustine, in
short, all this glorious vanguard of Latin patristic culture. What
splendid gifts these were from Africa to the Church of Rome while the
latter had only the works of Saint Ambrose and of Saint Jerome to put in
the Balance !
- Etienne Gilson, The Philosopher and Theology (1960), Random House New York, 1962, pp.195-196
- The qualities of the heart of the Berber race, their human spirit,
their gentleness, explain the heroic and moving pages of African
- Ernest Renan, « La société berbère » (1873), in Mélanges d'histoire et de voyages (1878), Calmann Lévy, 1890, p. 321
- Of all the fathers of the church, St. Augustine was the most admired
and the most influential during the Middle Ages... Augustine was an
outsider - a native North African whose family was not Roman but
Berber... He was a genius - an intellectual giant.
- Norman Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, Harper, 1993, p.74
- The whole of North Africa was a glory of Christendom with St. Augustine, himself a Berber, its chief ornament.
- [About Augustine of Hippo] A Berber, born in 354 at Thagaste (now
Souk-Ahras) in Africa... The exceptional brilliance of his works (The City of God, The Confessions),
his contradictory nature, his desire to bring together faith and
intelligence, classical and Christian civilization, the old wine and the
new - these deliberate efforts made him in some ways a rationalist. For
him, faith came first: but he nevertheless declared 'Credo ut
intelligam' — 'I believe in order to understand.' He also said 'Si
fallor, sum' - 'If I am mistaken, I exist' - and 'Si dubitat, vivit' -
'If he doubts, he is alive'... Posterity undoubtedly concentrated its
attention on St Augustine as a theologian, and on what he wrote about
predestination. But Augustinianism gave Western Christianity some of its
colour and its ability to adapt and debate - if only by insisting on
the vital need to embrace the faith in full awareness, after deep
personnal reflection, and with the will to act accordingly.
- Fernand Braudel, in A history of civilizations (1963), Penguin Books, 1995, p. 335
- Augustine, the North African of Berber descent, is today the
spiritual father of multitudes who are remote indeed from him racially,
politically, and culturally.
- John H. Leith, in From Generation to Generation: The Renewal of the Church According to Its Own Theology and Practice, Westminster John Knox Press, 1990, p.24
- There would be no end to quotations that bring out the unequalled influence of Augustine’s thought and work on the Latin West. « No work by a Christian author in the Latin tongue was to stir such great admiration and inquietude and enjoy such glory » (Dominique de Courcelles, Augustin ou le génie de l’Europe). To the point that the author of this passage, while aware that he is speaking, as he says, « of a Christian Berber », nevertheless gives his book the title Augustine or the genius of Europe. And the genius was a Numidian of the Roman Empire. What a decanting of wisdom from the south to the north of the Mediterranean!
- [Quintus Lollius Urbicus] went on to be governor of Britain, in
which capacity he conducted the advance into Scotland which led to the
establishment of a new frontier along the line from the Forth to the
Clyde, the so-called Antonie Wall, and ended his public carrer as
prefect of the city of Rome. [...] It needs hardly to be pointed out
that at no other period of history could the second or third son of a
Berber landowner from y very small town in the interior enjoy a carrer
which took him to Asia, Judaea, the Danube, the lowe Rhine and Britain,
culminating in a position of great power and honour in the capital of
the Empire to which all these regions belonged.
- Colin Wells, The Roman Empire, Harvard University Press, 1995, p. 225-226
- The willing acceptance of Roman citizenship by members of the ruling
class in African cities produced such Roman Africans as the comic poet
Terence, the rhetorician Fronto of Cirta, the jurist Salvius Julianus of
Hadrumetum, the novelis Apuleius of Madauros, the emperor Septimius
Severus of Lepcis Magna, the Christians Tertullian and Cyprian of
Carthage, and Arnobius of Sicca and his pupil Lactantius; the angelic
doctor Augustine of Thagaste, the epigrammatist Luxorius of Vandal
Carthage, and perhaps the biographer Suetonius, and the poet Dracontius.
- Paul MacKendrick, The North African Stones Speak (1969), UNC Press, 2000, p.326
- Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient
civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of
Mohammedan civilization. The wonderful culture of the Moors in Spain,
which was fundamentally nearer to us and appealed more to our senses and
tastes than that of Rome and Greece, was trampled down (—I do not say
by what sort of feet—) Why? Because it had to thank noble and manly
instincts for its origin—because it said yes to life, even to the rare
and refined luxuriousness of Moorish life! ... The crusaders later made
war on something before which it would have been more fitting for them
to have grovelled in the dust -- a civilization beside which even that
of our nineteenth century seems very poor and very "senile".
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1888), Nuvision Publications, 2007, p.55
- The noble Moor of Spain is anything but a pure Arab of the desert,
he is half a Berber (from the Aryan family) and his veins are so full of
Gothic blood that even at the present day noble inhabitants of Morocco
can trace their descent back to Teutonic ancestors.
- Houston Stewart Chamberlain, The Foundations of the 19th Century (1899), Adamant Media Corporation, 2005, p.398
- 'Moorish' Spain does at least have the merit of reminding us that
the bulk of the invaders and settlers were Moors, i.e. Berbers from
- Richard A. Fletcher, Moorish Spain, California Press, 1993, p.10
- Who were these conquerors, who had so quickly and so completely
overturned the strongest western European monarchy of their day ? It is
customary to refer to these stirrings events as 'Arab' or the 'Islamic'
invasion and conquest of spain. But only in a very limited sense was it
either Arab or Islamic : it was mainly Berber. The Berbers were, as they
still are, the indigenous inhabitants of northwest Africa, the Maghrib.
- Richard A. Fletcher, Moorish Spain, California Press, 1993, p.19
- The Andalusians themselves were of varied origins. The numerically tiny Arab elite had intermarried with other people, including local Iberians, ever since they arrived. Berbers were still the most numerous of the conquerors, while the Jewish community was also large and influential. The descendants of African and European slaves were fully integrated; but the most numerous Muslim community stemmed from local Iberians. By the 11th century these had fused together to form y new Andalusian people.
- For a century, the Arabs tribes gave Islam the first of these
victories. Then the rough mountain peoples of North Africa, the Berbers,
helped it to conquer Spain and organize Fatimid Egypt.
- Fernand Braudel, A History of Civilizations , Penguin, 1995, p.54
- In one sense the word 'Moor' means the Mohammedan Berbers and Arabs
of north-western Africa, with some Syrians, who conquered most of Spain
in the eighth century and dominated the country for hundreds of years,
leaving behind some magnificent examples of their architecture as a
lasting memorial of their presence. These so-called 'Moors' were far in
advance of any of the peoples of northern Europe at that time, not only
in architecture but also in literature, science, technology, industry,
and agriculture; and their civilization had a permanent influence on
Spain. They were Europids, unhybridized with members of any other race.
The Berbers were (and are) Mediterranids, probably with some admixture
from the Cromagnid subrace of ancient times. The Arabs were Orientalids,
the Syrians probably of mixed Orientalid and Armenoid stock.
- John Baker, Race, Oxford University Press, 1974, p.226
- These Moors cultivated the sciences with success, and taught Spain and Italy for five centuries.
- Voltaire, A Philosophical Dictionary, J. and H. L. Hunt, 1843, p.172
- It was, however, from Spain, and not from Arabia, that a knowledge
of eastern mathematics first came into western Europe. The Moors had
established their rules in Spain in 747, and by the tenth or eleven
century had attained a high degree of civilisation.
- W. W. Rouse Ball, A Short Account of the History of Mathematics (1888), Courier Dover, 1960, p.164
- Our obligations to the Spanish Moors in the arts of life are even more marked than in the higher branches of sciences.
- John William Draper, A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, Harper & brothers, 1863, p.356
- I want to see the gardens and palace of the Alcazar where the
Moorish Kings used to live. It is as perfect an architecture as the
Egyptian, Greek or Gothic and just as beautiful, maybe more beautiful
and it is well built for it looks as new as if it had just been done. We
have to thanks these Moors for our greatest sciences, they did the big
work for us, they started them, Algebra, Chemistry, Astronomy. They are
- Thomas Eakins, in Vistas de España, Mary Elizabeth Boone, Yale University Press, 2007, p.77
- Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, various types of medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. Medieval Islam was a religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians the right to practise their inherited beliefs, and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West. The surprise (...) is the extent to which Islam has been a part of Europe for so long, first in Spain, then in the Balkans, and the extent to which it has contributed so much towards the civilisation which we all too often think of, wrongly, as entirely Western. Islam is part of our past and our present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart.
- Africa north of the Sahara, from a zoological point of view, is now,
and has been since early Tertiary times, a part of Europe. This is true
both of animals and of the races of man.The Berbers of north Africa
to-day are racially identical with the Spaniards and south Italians.
- Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, Scribner's sons, 1916, p.137
- In north Africa there are large areas with a predominantly
Mediterranean population : the whole of the northern edge from Egypt to
Morocco, and beyond Morocco a tract along the coast southwards and
reaching over to the north-west African islands. The Spaniards have
always been astonished at the likeness of their Berber foes in Morocco
with themselves. In all these regions of north-west Africa, however,
there are found also Oriental, Negro, and (especially, it would seem, in
Algeria and Morocco) Hither Asiatic strains. Among the Berbers,
particularly the Kabyles in the Riff and in the Aures range, a Nordic
strain shows itself clearly, and in the Canary Islands there seems to be
a strain of the Cro-magnon race.
- Hans F.K. Günther, The racial elements of european history, E. P. Dutton, 1927
- The Berbers, among whom even today one finds light skins and blue
eyes, do not go back to the Vandal invasions of the fifth century A.D.,
but to the prehistoric Atlantic Nordic human wave. The Kabyle huntsmen,
for example, are to no small degree still wholly Nordic (thus the blond
Berbers in the region of Constantine form 10 % of the population; at
Djebel Sheshor they are even more numerous).
- Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), Hrp, 2004, p.6
- Part of my time had been passed of what is called "La Grande
Kabylie", that portion of the province of Algiers which is inhabited by
he Kabyles, the most direct descendants of the Ancient Libyans. They are
strange people these Kabyles, both in customs and physical aspects.
Native of Africa time out of mind, many of them present the purest type
of the blonde races, blue or gray eyes, tawny beard, fair complexion,
curly light or reddish hair, muscular in build and often tall in
stature. When I came to look at the many evidently portraits busts on
the tombs of the ancient Etruscans, there was something in the features,
in the shape of head and face, which reminded me of these Kabyles.
- Daniel Garrison Brinton, The Ethnologic affinities of the Ancient Etruscans, Proceedings, American Philosophical Society, vol. 26, 1889, p.504
- Of the Berbers there is much good to be said. Whether in the
olive-clad mountains of Kabylia or the terraced valleys of their
Aurasian fastnesses, they are white men, and in general act like white
men. Among them the virtues of honesty, hospitality, and good-nature are
conspicuous. It is not their misfortune alone that the lowlands know
them no more ; not their misfortune only that Mohammedanism has debarred
them from entering as they would otherwise have entered on the path of
European progress and liberality : it is the misfortune of the whole
civilised world. Descendants of a mighty race whose culture once spread
from the Atlantic to the Red Sea and the Hauran, from Crete to Timbuctoo
and the Soudan, there are still to be found among them the vestiges of
the arts and sciences, of the spirit of conquest, of the capacity for
self-government which, if developed, would make them again a great
- Melville William Hilton-Simpson, Among the Hill Folk of Algeria (1921), Read Books, 2007, p.4
- [About the Chawias in the Aures]. A very large proportion of fair
(sometimes golden) hair, blue eyes, and complexions, especially in the
case of young children, who lack the tan produced by years of exposure
to the fierce heat of the summer sun, often paler than our own, were the
physical characteristics which at once arrested our attention, while
their strange Berber tongue, akin to that spoken by the Kabyles in the
North, bore no resemblance to the Arabic of the nomads and of the oasis
of the Sahara.
- Melville William Hilton-Simpson, Among the Hill Folk of Algeria (1921), Read Books, 2007, p.40
- Berbers are undoubtedly the descendants of the races known to the
Greeks and Romans under the generic name of Libyans. The Kabyles of the
hills between Algiers and Bougie, and the Shawia of the Aures Mountains
are very similar to one another and may be taken as typical Berbers.
They are distinctly white-skinned, even when sunburned. Usually they
have black hair and brown or hazel eyes, some have yellow hair and blue
eyes. In the royal necropolis of Thebes of about 1300 B.C., certain
Libyans are depicted as having a white skin, blue eyes and fair beards.
Blonds are represented on Egyptian monuments from 1700 B.C. and were
noted by the Greeks in the fourth century B.C. In the east the blonds
have quite died out, but there are patches of this race in the west of
North Africa. This fair race still remain an unsolved problem. Some
students bring them from Spain, other authors from Italy, others again
from the east. Perhaps they were a sporadic invasions and formed an
aristocratic class. One suggestion is that they were Proto-Nordics who
formed a part of the various groups of Asiatics who raided Egypt about
1300 B.C. and moved westwards.
- Alfred Cort Haddon, The Races of Man and Their Distribution (1924), University Press, 1924, p.36
- Like all other Berbers, the Riffians include standard Mediterraneans
in their tribal populations. Among these Mediterraneans the incidence
of elements of blond hair and blue eyes is a bit higher than the usual
twenty-five percent. I attribute the slight excess to several factors :
isolation in a cloudy and cool mountain habitat and mixture with an
older strain. Concentrated in the more isolated tribes in the central
Rif, the older strain is characterized by individuals of stocky build,
with large heads, broad faces, low orbits, large teeth, and broad noses.
While variable in pigmentation, these individuals, who look like
Irishmen, run to red hair, green eyes, and freckles. They cannot be
explained by any historical invasion of North Africa, real or fancied;
the bones of their preagricultural ancestors have been excavated from
North African soil in sufficient quantity to confim the local antiquity
of the genes which produces them. A broad head, a wide face, a snub
nose, freckles, and other individual traits derived from this racial
combination may be seen in other Riffians and in other Berber
populations. Green eyes, for example, are common among the Middle Atlas
Beraber (as anyone who was with the Goums in the last war may remember).
Fair hair has been recorded from the Kabyles in Algeria, but actual
statistical work shows them to be almost entirely Mediterranean with
only a slight excess of blondism.
- Carleton S. Coon, Caravan - The Story of Middle East: The Story of Middle East (1951), Read Books, 2007, p.163
- The third discrete racial element in Africa is the Caucasoid, which,
as indicated earlier, first entered the continent in massive invasions
about 15,000 years ago, certainly from Western Asia and possibly also
from Europe. The descendants of those invaders who are still fully or
essentially Caucasoid are the Berbers.
- Carleton S. Coon, The Living Races of Man, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1965, p.115
- After having achieved this immense work, an important scientific
conclusion remains to be drawn: the anthropological study and the
microscopic analysis of hair, carried out by four laboratories:
Judiciary Medecine (Professor Ceccaldi), Société L'Oréal, Atomic Energy
Commission, and Institut Textile de France showed that Ramses II was a
'leucoderm', that is a fair-skinned man, near to the Prehistoric and
Antiquity Mediterraneans, or briefly, of the Berbers of Africa.
- Christiane Desroches Noblecourt, Colette Roubet, Lionel Balout, La Momie de Ramsès II: Contribution Scientifique à l'Égyptologie, Paris, Rech. sur les Civilisations, 1985, p. 383
- Again, there is the problem of distinguishing between the hypothesis
that Berbers originate from and admixture of North Africans with
Europeans (and also with people from the Middle East), and a second one
that Berbers are direct descendants of the North Africans, a fraction of
whom settled Europe. The two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive and
might both be true
- Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Genes, Peoples and Languages, Penguin, 2001, p.88
- The Berber populations nearer the Mediterranean coast were probably
Caucasoids. There is little doubt that they came from the Middle East,
and they have occupied the region since the Neolithic or even earlier.
Experienced sailors like other Neolithic peoples, they colonized the
Canary Islands. When the Spaniards conquered these islands in the
fifteenth century, they found a distinct population with some
blond-haired and blue-eyed people -traits that are still evident among
some Berbers in Morocco. They spoke Guanche, an Afroasiatic Berber
language. By the time the Spanish arrived, they had lost the ability to
- Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Genes, Peoples and Languages, Penguin, 2001, p.122
- The genetic proximity observed between the Berbers and southern
Europeans reveals that these groups shared a common ancestor. Two
hypotheses are discussed: one would date these common origins in the
Upper Paleolithic with the expansion of anatomically modern humans, from
the Near East to both shores of the Mediterranean Sea; the other
supports the Near Eastern origin, but would rather date it from the
Neolithic, around 10,000 years ago (Ammerman & Cavalli-Sforza 1973;
Barbujani et al. 1994; Myles et al. 2005; Rando et al. 1998). Common
polymorphisms (i.e. those defining H and V lineages) between Berbers and
south Europeans also could have been introduced or supported by genetic
flows through the Straits of Gibraltar. For example, genetic exchanges
could have taken place during prehistory, while European populations
retreated from ice sheets and expanded from refuge, around 15,000 years
ago (as evidenced by the H and U5b mitochondrial lineages).
Alternatively, these exchanges could have occurred during history, with
the invasion and the occupation during nearly seven centuries (from the
8th to the 15th century) of the Iberian Peninsula by Almoravide then
Almohade Muslim Berber troops
- The Complex and Diversified Mitochondrial Gene Pool of Berber Populations , Coudray et al. 2008
- We analyzed Y chromosome haplotypes, which provide the necessary phylogeographic resolution, in 1140 males from the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands. Admixture analysis based on binary and Y-STR haplotypes indicates a high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%) (...) with wide geographical variation, ranging from zero in Gascony to 21.7% in Northwest Castile. (...) Some mtDNA studies find evidence of the characteristic North African haplogroup U6 within the Iberian Peninsula. Although the overall absolute frequency of U6 is low (2.4%), this signals a possible current North African ancestry proportion of 8%–9%, because U6 is not a common lineage in North Africa itself. (...) This might suggest that initial admixture involved movement of approximately equal numbers of males and females. (...) Immigration events from the Middle East and North Africa over the last two millennia, followed by introgression driven by religious conversion and intermarriage, seem likely to have contributed a substantial proportion of the patrilineal ancestry of modern populations of Spain, Portugal, and the Balearic Islands.
- The genetic contribution of Greek chromosomes to the Sicilian gene pool is estimated to be about 37% whereas the contribution of North African populations is estimated to be around 6%. (...) The co-occurrence of the Berber E3b1b-M81 (2.12%) and of the Mid-Eastern J1-M267 (3.81%) Hgs together with the presence of E3b1a1-V12, E3b1a3-V22, E3b1a4-V65 (5.5%) support the hypothesis of intrusion of North African genes. (...) These Hgs are common in northern Africa and are observed only in Mediterranean Europe and together the presence of the E3b1b-M81 highlights the genetic relationships between northern Africa and Sicily. (...) Hg E3b1b-M81 network cluster confirms the genetic affinity between Sicily and North Africa.
- The presence of chromosomes of North African origin (E3b1b-M81;
Cruciani et al., 2004) [in Rio de Janeiro] can also be explained by a
Portuguese-mediated influx, since this haplogroup reaches a frequency of
5.6% in Portugal (Beleza et al., 2006), quite similar to the frequency
found in Rio de Janeiro (5.4%) among European contributors.
- Y-chromosome genetic variation in Rio de Janeiro population, Silva et al. 2006
- The Fuhrer 'would not have been happy' to learn he was more Berber tribesman than Aryan superman.
- Haaretz Service, DNA tests reveal Hitler's Jewish and African roots in Haaretz, August 24, 2010