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BERBERS

there can be enumerated the Zouaoua and Jebalia (Tripoli and Tunisia); the Chauwia, Kabyles and Beni-Mzab (Algeria); the Shlûh (Chlouah), Amazîgh and Berbers (Morocco); the Tuareg, Arnóshagh, Sorgu, &c. (Sahara). These tribes have many sub-tribes, each with a distinctive name. Among the Azgar, an important division of the Tuareg, one of the noble or free tribes, styled Aouraghen, is said to descend from a tribe named Avrigha. The Avrigha, or Afrigha, in ancient times occupied the coast lands near Carthage, and some scholars derive the word Africa from their name (see Africa, Roman). In regard to the ethnic relations of the Berbers there has been much dispute. The antiquity of their type is evidenced by the monuments of Egypt, where their ancestors are pictured with the same comparatively blond features which many of them still display. The aborigines of the Canary Islands, the Guanches, would seem almost certainly, from the remains of their language, to have been Berbers. But the problem of the actual origin of the Berber race has not yet been solved. Perhaps the most satisfactory theory is that of Sergi, who includes the Berbers in the “Mediterranean Race.” General L. L. C. Faidherbe regards them as indigenous Libyans mingled with a fair-skinned people of European origin. Dr Franz Pruner-Bey, Henri Duveyrier and Prof. Flinders Petrie maintain that they are closely related to the ancient Egyptians. Connexion has been traced between the early Libyan race and the Cro-Magnon and other early European races and, later, the Basque peoples, Iberians, Picts, Celts and Gauls. The megalithic monuments of Iberia and Celtic Europe have their counterparts in northern Africa, and it is suggested that these were all erected by the same race, by whatever name they be known, Berbers and Libyans in Africa, Iberians in Spain, Celts, Gauls and Picts in France and Britain.

In spite of a history of foreign conquest—Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Vandal, Arab and French—the Berber physical type and the Berber temperament and nationality have persisted since the stone age. The numerous invasions Character-istics. have naturally introduced a certain amount of foreign blood among the tribes fringing the Mediterranean, but those farther inland have preserved their racial purity to a surprising degree. Though considerable individual differences of type may be found in every village, the Berbers are distinctively a “white” race, and the majority would, if clad in European costume, pass unchallenged as Europeans. Dark hair and brown or hazel eyes are the rule; blue-eyed blonds are found, but their frequency has been considerably overstated. The invaders who have most affected the Berber race are the Arabs, but the two races, with a common religion, often a common government, with the same tribal groupings, have failed to amalgamate to any great extent. This fact has been emphasized by Dr R. G. Latham, who writes: “All that is not Arabic in the kingdom of Morocco, all that is not Arabic in the French provinces of Algeria, and all that is not Arabic in Tunis, Tripoli and Fezzan, is Berber.” The explanation lies in a profound distinction of character. The Arab is a herdsman and a nomad; the Berber is an agriculturist and a townsman. The Arab has built his social structure on the Koran, which inculcates absolutism, aristocracy, theocracy; the Berber, despite his nominal Mahommedanism, is a democrat, with his Jemáa or “Witangemot” and his Kanum or unwritten code, the Magna Carta of the individual’s liberty as opposed to the community’s good. The Kanum forbids no sort of exercise of individual will, so long as it is not inimical to the right or rights of other individuals. The Arabizing of the Berbers is indeed limited to little beyond the conversion of the latter to Islam. The Arab, transported to a soil which does not always suit him, so far from thriving, tends to disappear, whereas the Berber becomes more and more aggressive, and yearly increases in numbers. At present he forms at least three-fifths of the population in Algeria, and in Morocco the proportion is greater. The difference between the Berber and the Arab of the Barbary States is summed up by Dr Randall MacIver in the following words:—“The Berber gives the impression of being, as he is, the descendant of men who have lived in sturdy independence, self-governing and self-reliant. The Arab is the degenerate offspring of a race which only from its history and past records can claim any title to respect. Cringing, venal, avaricious, dishonest, the Arab combines all the faults of a vicious nature with those which a degraded religion inculcates or encourages. The Berber, on the other hand, is straightforward, honest, by no means averse to money-making, but not unscrupulous in the methods which he employs to this end, intelligent in a degree to which the ordinary Arab never approaches, and trustworthy as no Arab can be.”

The Berber’s village is his state, and the government is vested in an assembly, the Jemáa, formed of all males old enough to observe the fast of Ramadan. By them are determined all matters of peace or war, legislation, taxation Government. and justice. The executive officer is the Amin, a kind of mayor, elected from some influential family in which the dignity is often in practice hereditary. He owes his position to the good-will of his fellows, receives no remuneration, and resigns as soon as he loses the confidence of the people. By him are appointed certain Temman (sing. Tamen) who act as overseers, though without executive powers, in the various quarters of the village. The poorest Berber has as great a voice in affairs as the richest. The undue power of the Jemáa is checked by vendetta and a sort of lynch law, and by the formation of parties (sofs), within or without the assembly, for trade, political and other purposes. The Berbers are a warlike people who have never been completely subjugated. Every boy as soon as he reaches sixteen is brought into the Jemáa and given weapons which he carries till he is sixty. Though each village is absolutely independent as far as its internal affairs are concerned, two or more are often connected by administrative ties to form an Arsh or tribe. A number of these tribes form a Thakebilt or confederation, which is an extremely loose organization. An exception to this form of government is constituted by the Tuareg, whose organization, owing to their peculiar circumstances of life, is monarchical. Wars are declared by special messengers; the exchange of sticks or guns renders an armistice inviolable. In some tribes a tablet, on which is inscribed the name of every man fit to bear arms, is placed in the mosque. The Berbers, though Mahommedans, do not often observe the prescribed ablutions; they break their fast at Ramadan; and eat wild boar’s flesh and drink fig brandy. On the other hand, saints, both male and female, are paid more reverence by Berbers than by Arabs. Around their tombs their descendants settle, and thus sacred villages, often of considerable size, spring up. Almost every village, too, has its saint or prophet, and disputes as to their relative sanctity and powers cause fierce feuds. The hereditary caste known as Marabouts are frequently in open opposition to the absolute authority of the Jemáa. They are possessed of certain privileges, such as exemption from the chief taxes and the duty of bearing arms. They, however, often take a foremost part in tribal administration, and are frequently called upon to perform the office of arbitrators in questions of disputed policy, &c. In the Jemáa, too, the Marabout at times takes the place of honour and keeps order. The Berbers, if irreligious, are very superstitious, never leaving their homes without exorcizing evil spirits, and have a good and evil interpretation for every day of the week. Many Berbers still retain certain Christian and Jewish usages, relics of the pre-Islamitic days in North Africa, but of their primitive religion there is no trace. They are seldom good scholars, but those under French rule take all the advantage they can of the schools instituted by the government. Their social tendencies are distinctly communistic; property is often owned by the family in common, and a man can call upon the services of his fellow villagers for certain purposes, as the building of a house. Provision for the poor is often made by the community.

The dress of the Berbers was formerly made of home-woven cloth, and the manufacture of woollen stuffs has always been one of the chief occupations of their women. The men wear a tunic reaching to the knees, the women a longer Customs. garment. For work the men use a leather apron, and in the cold