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 Masinissa

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Messages : 82
Date d'inscription : 17/07/2007

MessageSujet: Masinissa   Dim 2 Sep - 17:25

Masinissa or Massinissa (c. 238 BC - c. 148 BC) was the first King of Numidia, an ancient Amazigh North African nation of ancient Libyan peoples, and is most famous for his role as a Roman ally in the Battle of Zama.

Early life

Masinissa was born in 238 BC in Cirta the Capital of Numidia Actually Known as Constantine, the 2nd son of Gaia, King of the Massyli of eastern Numidia, his early years were spent in Carthage (as a hostage against his father’s loyalty) where he was educated in Latin and Greek, and was regarded as an accomplished as well as a naturally clever man.

Involvement in the Second Punic War

At the start of the Second Punic War, Masinissa fought for Carthage against Syphax, the King of the Masaesyles of western Numidia (present day Morocco), who had allied himself with the Romans. Masinissa, then seventeen years old, led an army of Numidian troops and Carthaginian auxiliaries against Syphax's army and won a decisive victory.

After his victory over Syphax, Masinissa commanded his skilled Numidian cavalry against the Romans in Spain, where he was involved in the Carthaginian victories of Castulo and Ilorca. After Hasdrubal Barca departed for Italy, Masinissa was placed in command of all the Carthaginian cavalry in Spain, where he fought a successful guerrilla campaign against Scipio Africanus throughout 208-207, while Mago and Hasdrubal Gisgo levied and trained new forces. In 206, with fresh reinforcements, Mago and Hadsrubal Gisgo, supported by Masinissa Numidian cavalry, met Scipio at the Battle of Ilipa, where Carthage's power in Spain was finally broken in arguably Scipio Africanus's most brilliant victory.

When Gaia died in 206, his sons Masinissa and Oezalces quarreled about the inheritance, and Syphax was able to conquer considerable parts of the eastern Numidian kingdom. Meanwhile, with the Carthaginians having been driven from Spain, Masinissa concluded that Rome was winning the war against Carthage and therefore decided to defect to Rome. This decision was aided by the move by Scipio Africanus to free Masinissa's nephew, Massiva, whom the Romans had captured when he had disobeyed his uncle and ridden into battle. Having lost the alliance with Masinissa, Hasdrubal started to look for another ally, which he found in Syphax, who married Sophonisba, Hasdrubal's daughter who until the defection had been betrothed to Masinissa.

At the Battle of Bagrades (203), Scipio overcame Hasdrubal and Syphax and while the Roman general concentrated on Carthage, Gaius Laelius and Masinissa followed Syphax to Cirta, where he was captured and handed over to Scipio. After the defeat of Syphax, Masinissa married Syphax's wife Sophonisba, but Scipio, suspicious of her loyalty, demanded that she be taken to Rome and appear in the triumphal parade. To save her from such humiliation, Masinissa sent her poison, with which she killed herself. Masinissa was now accepted as a loyal ally of Rome, and was confirmed by Scipio as the king of the Massyli.

In the battle of Zama (202) (near modern-day Maktar, Tunisia) Masinissa commanded the cavalry (6,000 Numidian and 3,000 Roman) on Scipio's right wing, Scipio having delayed the engagement for long enough to allow for Masinissa to join him. With the battle hanging in the balance, Masinissa's cavalry, having driven the fleeing Carthaginian horsemen away, returned and immediately fell onto the rear of the Carthaginian lines. This decided the battle and at once Hannibal's army began to collapse. For his services he received the kingdom of Syphax, and became king of Numidia.

Later life

With Roman backing he established his own kingdom of Numidia, west of Carthage, with Cirta (present day Constantine) as its capital city. All of this happened in accordance with Roman interest, as they wanted to give Carthage more problems with its neighbours. Masinissa and his sons possessed large estates throughout Numidia, to the extent that Roman authors attributed to him, quite falsely, the sedentarization of the Numidians. Major towns included Capsa, Thugga (mod.Dougga), Bulla Regia and Hippo Regius.

All through his life Masinissa extended his territory, and he was cooperating with Rome when towards the end of his life he provoked Carthage to go to war against him. Based on descriptions from Livy, the Numidians began raiding around seventy towns in the southern and western sections of Carthage's remaining territory. Outraged with their conduct, Carthage went to war against them, in defiance of a Roman treaty forbidding them to make war on anyone, precipitating the 3rd and last Punic War. Ancient accounts suggest Masinissa lived beyond the age of 90 and was apparently still personally leading the armies of his kingdom when he died.

After his death, Numidia was divided into several smaller kingdoms ruled by his sons.

source:
Wikipedia
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Messages : 4
Date d'inscription : 05/08/2007

MessageSujet: Massinissa a brave   Dim 2 Sep - 22:39

Massinissa is a brave king that deserve respect.
Kabylia needs lot of braves like Massinissa.
I do beleive that there're lot.
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Date d'inscription : 17/07/2007

MessageSujet: Massinissa, allié de Rome   Mar 18 Sep - 23:52

Au IIIe siècle avant J.-C., pendant qu'une fédération maure se constituait dans le nord du Maroc actuel, deux royaumes numides apparurent, celui des Masaesyles à l'ouest, entre la Mulucha (Moulouya) et Cirta (Constantine), celui des Massyles, aux confins des territoires carthaginois. Syphax, roi des Masaesyles, apparut comme un puissant personnage ; il domina toute l'Algérie actuelle et choisit pour capitale Cirta, que son site naturel rendait presque inexpugnable. En 203, cependant, cette puissance s'effondrait.

Le royaume massyle était beaucoup plus petit que son rival. Syphax en entreprit la conquête et réduisit à une vie de proscrit Massinissa, fils du roi défunt Gaïa. Massinissa était d'une trempe et d'une habileté exceptionnelles. En pleine guerre entre Rome et Carthage, il s'allia à Scipion. Il bénéficia de la victoire romaine. Son entrée par surprise à Cirta, en 203, mit fin au royaume masaesyle. Il fut bientôt le maître de tous les pays situés entre la Mulucha et le territoire laissé à Carthage au nord-est de l'actuelle Tunisie.

Massinissa régna plus d'un demi-siècle et son œuvre fut considérable. Avant tout, il s'efforça de sédentariser ses sujets nomades et de les convertir à l'agriculture. « Il mit en valeur de très vastes espaces », dit l'historien Polybe. Son but était d'accroître les ressources du pays et ainsi de pouvoir prélever des impôts qui fourniraient les ressources financières indispensables à l'État qu'il voulait créer. D'autre part, les nomades étaient de perpétuels rebelles ; des sédentaires seraient beaucoup plus disposés à accepter un pouvoir politique central. Les nouveaux cultivateurs furent groupés dans des bourgs fortifiés ; ainsi se développa une véritable urbanisation. Les villes reçurent des constitutions inspirées de celles des cités puniques de la côte : elles furent administrées par des suffètes. Cirta devint une capitale où s'élevèrent des monuments.

Massinissa, dit Tite-Live, proclamait que l'Afrique devait appartenir aux Africains, et non aux étrangers, qu'ils fussent romains ou phéniciens. La civilisation qui se développa dans son État devait cependant beaucoup à Carthage. Les inscriptions montrent un emploi simultané de la langue punique et de la langue libyque. Sur le plan religieux, l'influence carthaginoise fut profonde. Massinissa demeura cependant fidèle à l'alliance romaine, ce qui lui permit d'accroître ses possessions vers l'est. En 162, il occupa la région des emporia des Syrtes (la Tripolitaine). En 153, il annexa une importante partie du territoire carthaginois. Carthage dut alors se défendre et son réarmement fut le prétexte que saisit Rome pour déclencher la troisième guerre punique (149-146) qui s'acheva par la destruction totale de la capitale punique. Peut-être les Romains avaient-ils voulu surtout prévenir une annexion du territoire carthaginois par les Numides, ce qui aurait reconstitué un empire africain puissant et dangereux.

Claude LEPELLEY
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