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Allen J. Fromherz

second Moroccan caliph of the Almohad (Muʾminid) dynasty (r. 1163–1184), was a great patron of philosophy and architecture, a defensive leader, and statesman. The beginning of his reign was rocked by conflict over succession. His father, ʿAbd al-Muʾmin, had designated Muhammad, the older brother of a different mother as his successor. Muhammad was in power from a few weeks to a few months. The sources differ on the exact length of his reign.

However it was clear from the beginning that Muhmmad did not have the ambition or the ability to lead the vast administrative and military apparatus his father had created ʿAbu Yaʿqub Yusuf had the support of a powerful woman his mother It seems this formidable woman and her other son the powerful vizier Abu Hafs ʿUmar conspired to elevate ʿAbu Yaʿqub Yusuf as caliph ʿUmar claimed that the caliph ʿAbd al Muʾmin had declared to him ...

Article

Stanley M. Burstein

grammarian, historian, and the author of the most important surviving accounts of ancient northeast Africa and the Red Sea basin. Unfortunately, little is known of the details of his biography. The only sources for his life are a few autobiographical remarks in the fragments of his works and a notice in Codex 213 of the Bibliotheca of Photius the ninth century CE scholar and patriarch of Constantinople These references indicate that Agatharchides was born probably about 200 BCE in the city of Cnidus on the west coast of modern Turkey and that his origins were comparatively humble Probably in the early second century BCE he immigrated to Egypt where he came to the attention of an official and adviser of Ptolemy VI r 180 145 BCE named Cineas who made Agatharchides his protégé It was probably Cineas who also introduced him to another Ptolemaic official the historian and diplomat ...

Article

Abdul Karim Bangura

Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn al-Farakh al-Farabi, or Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tarkhan ibn Uzalagh al-Farabi, was born in 870 c.e in Kazakhstan or Persia or Afghanistan Also known in the West as Alpharabius he is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher scientist and musicologist of his era and perhaps one of the greatest Muslim philosophers in all of history As a political philosopher al Farabi sought out answers to many of the most difficult questions facing the Islamic world during his lifetime He questioned the relations between humankind and God the role of the intermediary the influence of the divine law in private life and the limitations of the human mind He went beyond the divine law and searched for humankind s place in the universe and our relationship with nature society and the divine law He inquired about the different types of political institutions ...

Article

Darshell Silva

oral historian and centenarian, was born a slave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to parents who were slaves brought to the United States from Barbados. She was moved to Dunk's Ferry in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, when she was ten years old to be with her master, of whom no information is available. There Alice lived as a slave, collecting ferry fares for forty years of her life.

Alice was a spirited and intelligent woman. She loved to hear the Bible read to her, but like most other enslaved people she could not read or write. She also held the truth in high esteem and was considered trustworthy. Her reliable memory served her well throughout her long life.

Many notable people of the time are said to have made her acquaintance like Thomas Story founder of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane which was the precursor to ...

Article

Lawrence M. Berman

Egyptian pharaoh (reigned c. 1991–1961 BCE), was the founder of the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty, the heart of the Middle Kingdom Period of Egyptian history (c. 2040–1640 BCE). The first of a new line of kings, Amenemhat (an alternative form of the name is Amenemhet) was of nonroyal birth. He was probably the vizier (chief minister) Amenemhat who in c. 1997 BCE led an expedition of ten thousand men to the Wadi Hammamat, between the Nile and the Red Sea, to procure stone for the sarcophagus of Mentuhotep IV, the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty, as recorded in inscriptions at the quarry site.

The Eleventh Dynasty kings had begun the process of reuniting Egypt after the period of political fragmentation known as the First Intermediate Period (c. 2100–2040 BCE Amenemhat I took this process a step further Like his predecessors Amenemhat was of southern origin Mentuhotep means Mentu is ...

Article

R. Conrad Barrett

Numidian author and orator was born a citizen of Rome in c 125 CE in the town of Madauros in the province of Africa an area that had become Roman territory in 146 BCE His home town was 140 miles 225 kilo meters southwest of ancient Carthage the site of the modern city of Tunis Perhaps as a child Apuleius learned first the native Berber dialect certainly he heard Greek in his home and outside it as well as the language of all government Latin This language became Apuleius s major one he had it seems a solid but not equal facility in Greek After schooling in Carthage the major city of the province Apuleius traveled to Athens Greece for further study where he studied rhetoric and philosophy to learn more especially about the thought of Plato He then went to Rome for more education in rhetoric all of it ...

Article

Clarissa Zimra

Famous as the author of The Metamorphoses, the first work of Latin literature to have survived unscathed, Lucius Apuleius was born in a well-to-do family around 125 c.e. in Madaura, a provincial town on the Tunisian edge of Rome’s Africa Proconsularis. By the time he had finished his proper education as a subject of empire, first in Carthage, then in Athens, the young Numidian could write elegant Greek and Latin. Widely traveled, he practiced law in the courts of Rome, then Carthage, where he died around 180 c.e. Most know this long prose narrative as The Golden Ass a title bestowed centuries later by yet another son of Africa Augustine bishop of Hippo Eleven books long it was modeled on the Greek Romance form The Renaissance admired its salacious wit praised its fall and redemption theme and imitated its Chinese box plots Bocaccio plundered it for ...

Article

Stacey Graham

bishop and patriarch of Alexandria, theologian, author, and doctor of the Church, is significant for his staunch opposition to Arianism, his prolific theological works, and his exile-ridden episcopate during a tumultuous time for Church and imperial politics. His most influential work is the seminal hagiography of Western monasticism, Life of Anthony.

Athanasius was born in Alexandria Egypt probably in the year 296 though possibly as late as 300 At an early age he came to the attention of Alexander the patriarch of Alexandria who ordained him as a priest and brought him into the patriarch s service Alexandria in the fourth century cultivated a mixture of intellectual philosophical and religious schools of thought from its long standing pagan Jewish and Christian communities The city was economically vital as the main grain supplier for the imperial capital at Constantinople and it ranked third among the four patriarchates in the early ...

Article

Robert D. Young

Arab-born Egyptian poet and calligrapher of the Ayyubid period, was born 27/28 February 1186 in Mecca. He is also known as al-Bahaʾ Zuhayr. He moved to Qus, in upper Egypt, at a young age. Zuhayr’s later diwans (a Persian term meaning “collection of poems”) indicate some recollection of his time in Mecca; he likely moved to Qus when he became old enough to attend school. Qus was then a center of Islamic learning and culture. Zuhayr studied the Qurʾan and Islamic literature but was most enthused by poetry. Zuhayr made friends with another poet and quoted substantially from the “ancient” poets such as Imru al-Qays (c. 501–544), some of whom were pre-Islamic.

Despite a fascination with poetry Zuhayr also cultivated his position among the political elite He dedicated his first praise poem to the governor of Qus Zuhayr did not stop with the locals traveling to places such as Damascus ...

Article

Baule  

Olutayo C. Adesina

The traditional objects, mathematical sense, philosophy, and beliefs of the Baule (also Baoule) people, who occupy the eastern part of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) between the Komoe and Bandama rivers, have for long helped to define and project their identity and existence as a group. The Baule constitute one of the largest ethnic groups in modern-day Côte d’Ivoire. They had migrated into their present location in the eighteenth century. The Baule, apart from being great artists, are also agriculturalists who produce yams and maize, which are supplemented by fish from the rivers and game from the forest and the savannah. In spite of their contact with the Europeans and modernity, the group succeeded in holding on to their traditional beliefs.

The Baule who belong to the Akan speaking group had evolved an egalitarian society with a deep aversion for authoritarianism or associations that encouraged the development of hierarchical structures The ...

Article

Bernard S. Jackson and Ephraim Isaac

[This entry comprises two articles: an overview of the principles and practice of slavery in biblical Israel, and a detailed discussion of the references to slavery and slaves in the Hebrew Scriptures.]

Article

Martin Bernal

Black Athena is the general title of a series of books published by Martin Bernal. Its focus is the origin of ancient Greek civilization. The author is also concerned with the wider implications of this topic because of the historical and symbolic centrality of ancient Greece to the concept and reality of European or Western civilization as a whole. Bernal makes the following claims: first, that it is heuristically useful (helpful in trying to understand Egyptian history) to see ancient Egypt as an African civilization; second, that one should accept the view of ancient Greeks that Egypt and Phoenicia played a central role in the formation of their higher culture; and third, that European and North American scholars' denial of the first two points, since the early nineteenth century, is better explained in ideological than in strictly academic terms.

Article

Egyptians believed that the knowledge of these texts enabled the soul to ward off demons attempting to impede its progress, and to pass the tests set by the forty-two judges in the hall of Osiris, god of the underworld. These texts also indicated that happiness in the afterlife was dependent on the deceased’s having led a virtuous life on earth. The earliest religious (funerary) texts known were found cut in hieroglyphs on the walls inside the pyramids of the kings of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties of the Old Kingdom; these became known as the Pyramid Texts. A famous example is found in the pyramid of Unas (reigned about 2428–2407 b.c.e the last king of the Fifth Dynasty In the first Intermediate Period and in the Middle Kingdom private individuals had these texts painted on coffins from which the alternate name Coffin Texts is derived By the Eighteenth Dynasty ...

Article

Eric Gardner

author and educator, was born in Buffalo, New York, to abolitionist and author William Wells Brown and Elizabeth Schooner. The small family moved to Farmington, New York, in 1845. Her father, soon-to-be famous as the author of a successful slave narrative and an abolitionist lecturer, separated from her mother soon after, and moved to Boston with Josephine and her older sister Clarissa. Elizabeth Brown reportedly died in January 1851. During the years surrounding the 1847 publication of Brown's Narrative and his 1849 journey to Europe (after refusing to have his freedom purchased), the sisters stayed in New Bedford with the family of local activist Nathan Johnson (a friend of Frederick Douglass) and attended school.

Josephine and Clarissa went to London to join their father in June 1851 aboard the steamer America under the care of Reverend Charles Spear a journey they shared with ...

Article

Ronald Young

baseball player known as Willard “Home Run” Brown, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Manuel and Allie Brown.

As a youngster, Brown sometimes worked as a batboy for the Kansas City Monarchs, the renowned Negro League baseball team that held its spring training in Shreveport. In 1934, Brown signed his first professional contract to pitch and play shortstop with the Monroe Monarchs of the Negro Southern League. Brown earned $8 per week.

After one season with Monroe, Brown joined the Kansas City Monarchs for the 1935 season. The Monarchs, one of the leading black ball clubs of the era, paid him a $250 signing bonus, a $125 per month salary, and $1 per day for meals. He soon developed into one of the team's star players. During the 1936 season Brown was selected to play in the East West All Star game an honor he ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

was a major poet and scholar of the third century BCE. He was born at the end of the previous century in Kyrene (also Cyrene), the important Greek city on the coast of Africa west of Egypt in present-day Libya. He was of distinguished background: his homonymous grandfather was a member of the ruling elite of the city. The younger Callimachus immigrated to Alexandria in Egypt at an early age and became an intimate at the court of Ptolemaios II (who came to the throne in early 282 BCE). Callimachus was part of the developing intellectual presence around the Ptolemies, which at that time included the mathematician Euclid and the poets Theokritos and Apollonios of Rhodes. He was especially close to the queen, Arsinoë II, and wrote her eulogy.

When Arsinoë died around 270 BCE Callimachus may have fallen out of favor since little is known about him for ...

Article

Georgia L. Irby-Massie

Academic Skeptic philosopher from Carthage, son of Diognetus, was born in Carthage (near present-day Tunis) in 187/186 BCE. Carthage was a colony founded by Phoenicians from Tyre, the culture was Punic, and Clitomachus was originally called by the Punic name Hasdrubal (he may have adopted or received the Greek name upon arriving in Athens). Well educated in Academic, Peripatetic, and Stoic tenets, he taught philosophy in Carthage in the Punic language.

Clitomachus traveled to Athens to study philosophy either at age forty 147 146 BCE or twenty four 163 162 BCE For nineteen years he studied under Carneades of Cyrene the Skeptic 214 130 129 BCE who fostered Clitomachus s renowned diligence and industry Carneades s most famous pupil he remained his mentor s companion into old age In 140 139 BCE he founded a school in the Palladium which he maintained for a decade Returning to the Academy he ...

Article

Allen J. Fromherz

North African translator, was born near Tunis in the early eleventh century (scholars estimate between 1010 and 1015). Constantinus Africanus (Constantine the African) was famed for introducing many principles of Arab medicine and scientific enquiry to the northern shores of the Mediterranean. The first known biographies of Constantinus Africanus were written and modified by Christian monks from the monastery of Monte Cassino. This occurred several decades after his death. As such, much of the information on the life of Constantinus must be seen trough the lens of these monastic sources. As a convert from Islam to Christianity, he was held up not only as a rare success of conversion but as an example of the intellectual accomplishments of Monte Cassino.

The writings of Petrus Diaconus a monk at Monte Cassino who wrote one of the earliest biographies claimed that Constantinus Africanus was born in Carthage and traveled throughout the ...

Article

Julia Sun-Joo Lee

slave and minister, was born in Maryland. The names of his parents are unknown. For the first twenty-five years of his life Cooper was known as “Notly.” He escaped to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, around 1800 and took the name John Smith. Employed at a lumberyard, he married a free black woman and had four children. Around this time Cooper's identity was betrayed by a friend. He was separated from his family and sent to Washington, D.C., to be sold at auction. He managed to escape and, with the help of a friend, return to Philadelphia, where he was reunited with his family. Still in danger of recapture, Cooper concealed himself at the home of a Quaker, where he stayed for a week while his master attempted to locate him.

Cooper fled to New Jersey where he was hired by a farmer His whereabouts were again discovered and Cooper escaped by ...

Article

poet, was born somewhere in Roman North Africa, most likely in the early sixth century CE. Almost nothing is known of his life outside of his poetry. Even with the limited biographical information in his writings, scholars have not been in agreement about how these autobiographical statements should be understood. For example, one of his manuscripts bears the title of teacher (grammaticus). Averil Cameron, a translator of his major poem in honor of the Byzantine emperor Justin II (r. 565 to 574 CE), believed this was evidence that Corippus was a teacher. However, the classicist Barry Baldwin contended that the title may have been added by a later scribe, and that Corippus on occasion presented himself as relatively uneducated. Cameron and some other scholars have argued that Corippus eventually received imperial awards for his eight-book epic poem Johannis (also known as De bellis Libycis This work ...