The Moors in Italy: The History of the Muslims Who Moved from North Africa to Italy during the Middle Ages

The Moors in Italy: The History of the Muslims Who Moved from North Africa to Italy during the Middle Ages

Narrated by:
Steve Knupp
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Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2023
1 hour 25 minutes
The term Moor is a historical rather than an ethnic name. It is an invention of European Christians for the Islamic inhabitants of Maghreb (North Africa), Andalusia (Spain), Sicily and Malta, and was sometimes use to designate all Muslims. It is derived from Mauri, the Latin name for the Berbers who lived in the Roman province of Mauretania.

The Berbers established several powerful and prosperous states on the south Mediterranean coast. They ruled Numidia – now part of Algeria – until conquered by the Carthaginians. After the fall of Carthage, the Berber kingdom of Mauretania –not to be confused with the country created by the French – dominated northwestern Africa before it was conquered by Rome in the 1st century BCE. Under Roman rule they made great contributions to civilization and were certainly not the wild, untamed tribesmen of popular imagination. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo regius in Numidia, was a Berber and one of the greatest philosophers and theologians not only of his own time but of all time. The list of religious leaders drawn from the Berbers includes Tertullian, Popes Victor I, Miltiades and Gelasius I and the heresiarch Arius. The playwright Terence was a Berber, as were several noted Roman governors and three emperors. 

As the Roman Empire in the West collapsed, the Berbers succumbed to the Vandals, a Germanic tribe from Europe, in the 5th century CE. However, the Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople rather than Rome, underwent something of a renewal, and the whole of the African coast from the Sinai Peninsula to the Straits of Gibraltar returned to Byzantine rule. With that, the Berbers were once again subject to a foreign power, but soon they would exchange their new masters for another, the Arabs, who would bring a new religion, Islam. Through Islam the Berbers would once again come into their own and influence the course of Mediterranean history as their ancient ancestors had done.
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