Great post. The Garamante civilization held on for a long time given the circumstances described. Does anyone know anything else about them?
posted on 02/12/2006 9:29:03 AM PST
(I'm running out of places to bury the bodies.)
How interesting. Garamante=Black Dutch. Seems like a catch-all phrase.
"At other times and places, they were called Bohemians (as in La Boheme) because they were thought to be from what is now the Czech Republic."
posted on 02/12/2006 10:13:05 AM PST
(If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.)
The Garamante Family is now in Southern Italy? ;^)
posted on 02/12/2006 11:13:19 AM PST
There's not an incredible amount known about them because they didn't leave much of a written record (they did write, borrowing the written language from the Berbers). We know that they were black, that they were slave traders, and that they had some sort of historical association with Egypt since they worshipped Egyptian gods and buried their people in tiny pyramids. They were able to hang on so long as the savannahs turned to desert because they also developed what may have been the worlds most elaborate underground irrigation system at the time. Some of their tunnels were miles long and were brilliantly engineered and sloped just right.
There are many indicators that Islam may have been instrumental in their final demise. They were certainly dhimmi's after the Muslim conquest, and the taxes imposed on them would have been devastating for a society that was already on the verge of collapse. Even their irrigation system wasn't keeping up with their needs and many fields were being abandoned for lack of water. When the Muslims imprisoned their king and subjugated their people, it was simply the last blow for an empire that was once so strong that even the Romans couldn't conquer them (though they did try).
If you can get a copy of American Scientist, it has some great photos of the ruins and diagrams of the irrigation systems they used. Many of the sites are faily untouched because of their remoteness, so archaeologists are really just now getting a good look at what these people were actually like.
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