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Eth. LIBYPHOENI´CES (Λιβυφοίνικες, sometimes, spelt Λιβοφοίνικες, a portion of the population of N. Africa, who are defined by Livy, in accordance with the signification of their name, as “mixture Punicum Afris genus” (Liv. 21.22). Diodorus gives a somewhat fuller account of them, as one of the four races who inhabited the Carthaginian. territory in N. Africa, namely, the Punic inhabitants of Carthage, the Libyphoenicians, the Libyans, and the Numidians; and he says that the Libyphoenicians possessed many of the cities on the seashore, and had the tie of intermarriage with the Carthaginians (Diod. 20.55). Pliny restricts them to the S. part of the ancient territory of Carthage. (Plin. Nat. 5.4. s. 3: Libyphoenices vocantur qui Byzaciurn incolunt); and there can be no doubt, from the nature of the case, that the original seat of the race was in the country around Carthage. It is not, however, equally clear whether the Libyphoenicians of the Carthaginian colonies along the coast of Africa are to be regarded as a race arising out of the intermarriage of the original Punic settlers with the natives of the surrounding country, or as the descendants of Libyphoenicians from the country round Carthage, who had been sent out as colonists. The latter is the more probable, both from indications. which we find in the ancient writers, and from the well-known fact that, in all such cases, it is the half-breed which multiplies rapidly, so as to make it a matter of importance for the members of the pure and dominant caste to find a vent for the increasing numbers of the race below them. That such was the policy of Carthage with regard to the Libyphoenicians, and moreover that they were marked by the energy and success which usually distinguishes such half-bred races, we have some interesting proofs. The defence of Agrigentum against the Romans, during the Second Punic War, was signalised by the skill and energy of Mutines, a Libyphoenician of Hipponium, whom Livy describes as “vir impiger, et sub Hannibale magistro omnes belli artes edoctus” (Liv. 25.40). The mention of his native place, Hipponium, on the Bruttian coast, a city which had been for some time in the hands of the Carthaginians, is a proof of the tendency to make use of the race in their foreign settlements; while the advantage taken by Hannibal of his talents agrees with the fact that he employed Libyphoenician cavalry in his armies. (Plb. 3.33; Liv. 21.22.) Niebuhr has traced the presence of Libyphoenicians in the Punic settlements in Sardinia, and their further mixture with the Sardinians, as attested by Cicero in an interesting fragment of his speech for Scaurus. (Lectures on Anc. Geog. vol. ii. p. 275.) Avienus mentions the “wild Libyphoenicians” on the S. coast of Spain, E. of Calpe. (Or. Mar. 419.) Perhaps the halfbred races of the Spanish colonies in America furnish the closest analogy that can be found to the Libyphoenician subjects of Carthage.


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Polybius, Histories, 3.33
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 22
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 20.55
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