Very little of the Imazighen mytho-history remains as the ancient Tifinagh (Libyco-Berber) carvings and rock paintings remains largely undeciphered. What does remain of the Imazighen mytho-history was mostly recorded by ancient Greek and Roman accounts of the Atlantean and Libyan histories. The largest remaining collection of Imazighen mytho-history is in the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus’ epic work Bibliotheca Historica. Diodorus referred to the Imazighen as Atlanteans, and his mytho-historical record included a story of an ancient war in north Africa, which he and other ancient Greeks and Romans called Libya, between the Atlantians, Amazons, and Gorgons. The story began with an Amazon Kingdom:
As mythology relates, their home was on an island which, because it was in the west, was called Hespera, and it lay in the marsh Tritonis. This marsh was near the ocean which surrounds the earth and received its name from a certain river Triton which emptied into it; and this marsh was also near Ethiopia and that mountain by the shore of the ocean which is the highest of those in the vicinity and impinges upon the ocean and is called by the Greeks Atlas. The island mentioned above was of great size and full of fruit-bearing trees of every kind, from which the natives secured their food. It contained also a multitude of flocks and herds, namely, of goats and sheep, from which possessors received milk and meat for their sustenance; but grain the nation used not at all because the use of this fruit of the earth had not yet been discovered among them.- Diodorus Siculus (1)Diodorus Siculus (circa 100 AD) Bibliotheca historica, Book 3, Chapter 53:1-5
Diodorus’ account of the Amazons, is similar to Platos’ account of the Atlanteans in many ways. Their island home in the marsh Tritonis, also called Lake Tritonis is a legendary place in Greek and Roman myths. It was recorded as being in various regions of north Africa throughout classical literature, including southern Tunisia, and southern Libya. Several real paleolake-beds exist in the legendary locations, indicating that these mythical lakes are likely the memories of the ancient lakes. The reference to the marsh Tritonis being near the ocean that surrounds the earth, refers to both the Atlantic (Mare Atlanticus) and Indian (Mare Erythraeum) Oceans, which the ancient Greeks and Romans believed were the same body of water connected south of Africa (Libya). The mention of the mountain the Greeks call Atlas is a reference to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria, and the reference to Ethiopia, would be a reference to the homeland of the dark-skinned Sub-Saharan peoples. These references combine to indicate a former marshland in the western Sahara, near the Atlantic, south of the Atlas Mountains, and north of the Sub-Saharan region of West Africa. This location would be the approximate location of the Haijad Paleolake (2)Z. Guo et al. (2000) Global and Planetary Change 26, Page 101 in the Taoudeni basin of northern Mali and eastern Mauritania.
References [ + ]
|1.||⇑||Diodorus Siculus (circa 100 AD) Bibliotheca historica, Book 3, Chapter 53:1-5|
|2.||⇑||Z. Guo et al. (2000) Global and Planetary Change 26, Page 101|