The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







For the ships of this name, see RMS Mauretania.

Mauretania was a Berber kingdom on the Mediterranean coast of north Africa (named after the Mauri tribe, after whom the Moors were named), corresponding to western Algeria and northern Morocco. With the rise of the Roman Empire it became a Roman client kingdom. The Romans placed Juba II of Numidia there as client-king; when Juba died in AD 23, his Roman-educated son Ptolemy of Mauretania succeeded him on the throne, but Caligula killed him in AD 40, and annexed Mauretania directly as a Roman province, divided into Mauretania Tingitana named after its capital Tingis (now Tangier) corresponding to Morocco, and Mauretania Caesarensis , comprising western and central Algeria as far as Kabylie.

Not depriving the Mauri of their line of kings would have contributed to preserving loyalty and order, it appears: "The Mauri, indeed, manifestly worship kings, and do not conceal their name by any disguise," Cyprian observed, in AD 247, doubtless quoting a geographer rather than personal observation, in his brief euhemerist exercise on deflating the gods, "On the Vanity of Idols".

It is not the same place as where Mauritania is now, on the Atlantic coast south of Morocco.

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Last updated: 08-18-2005 16:24:55