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Map of the Roman Empire - Sahara Desert
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Ancient Sahara Desert - 3.5 million square miles of the hottest desert in the world, stretching from the Red Sea in Egypt across the continent of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. During Roman times it was occupied by nomads called the Garamantes.
The Sahara (Arabic: الصحراء الكبرى, aṣ-ṣaḥrā´ al-kubra, "The Great Desert") is the world's largest hot desert. At over 9,400,000 square kilometres (3,630,000 sq mi), it covers most of Northern Africa...The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. The Sahara's boundaries are the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea on the north, the Red Sea and Egypt on the east, and the Sudan and the valley of the Niger River on the south. The Sahara is divided into western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Air Mountains (a region of desert mountains and high plateaus), Ténéré desert and the Libyan desert (the most arid region). The highest peak in the Sahara is Emi Koussi (3,415 m/11,204 ft) in the Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad. Wikipedia
The Phoenicians and the Sahara. The people of Phoenicia, who
flourished between 1200-800 BC, created a confederation of kingdoms across the
entire Sahara to Egypt. They generally settled along the Mediterranean coast, as
well as the Sahara, among the people of Ancient Libya, who were the ancestors of
people who speak Berber languages in North Africa and the Sahara today,
including the Tuareg of the central Sahara. The Phoenician alphabet seems to
have been adopted by the ancient Libyans of north Africa, and Tifinagh is still
used today by Berber-speaking Tuareg camel herders of the central Sahara.
Sometime between 633 BC and 530 BC, Hanno the Navigator either established or
reinforced Phoenician colonies in Western Sahara, but all ancient remains have
vanished with virtually no trace.
The Greeks and the Sahara. By 500 BC, Greeks arrived to the desert. Greek traders spread along the eastern coast of the desert, establishing trading colonies along the Red Sea coast. The Carthaginians explored the Atlantic coast of the desert, but the turbulence of the waters and the lack of markets caused a lack of presence further south than modern Morocco. Centralized states thus surrounded the desert on the north and east; it remained outside the control of these states. Raids from the nomadic Berber people of the desert were a constant concern of those living on the edge of the desert.
The Garamantes. An urban civilization, the Garamantes, arose around 500 BC in the heart of the Sahara, in a valley that is now called the Wadi al-Ajal in Fazzan, Libya. The Garamantes achieved this development by digging tunnels far into the mountains flanking the valley to tap fossil water and bring it to their fields. The Garamantes grew populous and strong, conquering their neighbors and capturing many slaves (which were put to work extending the tunnels). The ancient Greeks and the Romans knew of the Garamantes and regarded them as uncivilized nomads. However, they traded with the Garamantes, and a Roman bath has been found in the Garamantes capital of Garama. Archaeologists have found eight major towns and many other important settlements in the Garamantes territory. The Garamantes civilization eventually collapsed after they had depleted available water in the aquifers and could no longer sustain the effort to extend the tunnels further into the mountains. Wikipedia
Maps are essential for any serious study, they help students of Roman history understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in historical sources.
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