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Sophoniba  

Duane W. Roller

Carthaginian aristocrat, was the daughter of Hasdrubal, the noted Carthaginian commander of the Second Punic War. Her name is also given as Sophonisba and Spnb’l (“Baal has pronounced judgment”). Essentially all that is known about her is the manner of her death, which may have been preserved in a tragedy known to Livy (30, 12–15); other parallel extant accounts are by Appian (Libyka 10, 27–28) and Dio (17). She was well educated in both literature and music, and she was noted for her charm. She was originally engaged to Massinissa, the great Numidian king (Diodoros 27.7) but eventually married the Numidian chieftain Syphax, who was politically opposed both to Massinissa and the official Numidian government. Sophoniba was instrumental in persuading Syphax to change his policies from pro-Roman to pro-Carthaginian.

When Syphax was captured by the Romans in 203 BCE Massinissa hurried to rescue Sophoniba before she was also taken ...

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Suʾda  

Allen J. Fromherz

semi-historical Berber princess, was a main character in the Sira al Hilaliyya, the epic saga of the great Arab migration into North Africa in the eleventh century. Coming from the drought-stricken Arabian Peninsula and known for their warrior prowess on camelback, these Hilali Arabs were sent to Tunisia as a punishment for the Berbers breaking away from the Fatimid Caliphate in Cairo. One of the great classics of the Sira al Hilaliyya is a poignant portrait of the clash of two cultures, Berber and Arab, even as it insists on moments of reconciliation and the possibilities of peace through the theme of love transcending duty to one’s family, tribe, and people. At times Berber characters, especially women such as Suʾda were portrayed as even more noble than the Arab heroes themselves. Most closely analogous to the Dido character in the Roman epic The Aeneid Suʾda was the ...