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Juba II (in Berber language: Yuba win sin or Yuva wis sin) is a Berber king of Mauretania, located in nowadays Algeria. He was born in Hippo (now Annaba) about 52 before J.-C. and died around 23 after christ. His reign began aroune 25 BC, under the Roman tutelage and his capital was Caesarea of ​​Mauritania, present Cherchell.










Juba II (in Berber: Yuba win sin or Yuva wis sin) is a Berber king who ruled over the kingdom of Mauretania. Born about 52 av. AD in Hippone (western part of the Berbérie, present Annaba) and died towards 23 ap. Juba II is the son of Juba I. He was brought up in Rome in a captivity and was gilded by Octavia, the sister of the future Emperor Augustus. He reigns over Mauretania from about 25 BC under the Roman tutelage in its capital Caesarea of ​​Mauretania (current Cherchell).


juba I

Juba I, berber Kin, father of Juba II

After the defeat of Juba I, Caesar made a triumphal entry into Zama. According to the historian Mahfoud Kaddache, Juba I resisted Roman pressure and wanted to take advantage of the civil war between Pompeians and Caesarians to safeguard his independence. Caesar will have difficulties to defeat Juba I, the Berbers having always been great warriors. Victorious, Caesar decides the partition of Africa and the fate of the royal family. Juba II, then scarcely five years old, was sent as an hostage to Rome, where he later attended the triumph of Caesar Arsinoe, sister of Cleopatra of Egypt. Raised in a captivity and gilded by Octavia, Octave's sister, the future Emperor Augustus, Juba attracted the friendship of his protector who offered him an education which enabled him to rise to the rank of other princes.





Octave granted Juba II the right of Roman city and he then took the names and first names of his protector: Gaius Iulius. He will transmit them later to its freedmen, but after receiving the title of king he took again his Berber name. Being a good soldier, he probably participated in the Eastern campaign from -31 to -29 against Cleopatra and Marc Antoine, and surely to that of Spain from -26 to -25 where he proved to Octave his fidelity and skill.

As a reward, Octave made him king of Mauretania, a kingdom that included part of the states of Bocchus and Bogud in addition to what remained of his father's kingdom. Thus, Mauretania, the kingdom of Juba II includes the lands of present-day Morocco and Algeria - the latter being amputated from its most eastern part - and goes from the Atlantic ocean to Ampsaga River (Oued el kebir) near Constantine. So it takes a good part of northern Africa and includes the regions of Sétif in the south and part of the territories of the Gétules of the south-east of present Algeria and Tunisia. The region of old Cirta (the present Constantine, Skikda, Collo and Mila) will remain for a long time under the very special Sittius status (until the end of antiquity); Thus, after the Africa vetus, this increase gave Africa nova, which became indispensable to the giant Rome, because this region is an important producer of wheat. Although amputated of some territories directly controlled by the Roman colonies, Mauretania is therefore greater than the territory of Massinissa in its great days. Nevertheless, the restoration of this vast kingdom to an Aguellid does not constitute a decline in the Roman colonial policy. Auguste gave up property less than Juba the usufruct of his kingdom, disposing of the territories, dividing them as he pleased, the Numidian king being too wise to oppose any resistance, knowing it was doomed to failure as was the resistance of his father to Rome.





Juba II


Dependent of Rome for foreign policy, but almost free as regards internal politics, the young Juba II was enthroned with the title of Rex Mauretaniae. In 19 av. He married Cleopatra Selene (Greco-Egyptian), daughter of the queen of Egypt Cleopatra VII and Marc Anthony, who had been raised with her twin brother Alexandre Helios by Octave's sister. Cleopatra Selene is crowned in her turn because of her maternal ancestry but although officially associated with power, she does not enjoy a territorial division of authority. Juba II had only one son, Ptolemy, and a daughter, named Drusilla.



The forum of Cherchell


Knowing that he was incapable of defeating Rome militarily, Juba II took up a cultural and economic resistance by developing his country and strengthening his own ancestral culture. Having assimilated the Greco-Roman culture, he then became interested in his origins, proving that his roman exile has not erased his berber identity. He also was interested in the study of Libyc and Punic, the languages ​​of his ancestors. This suited Rome which accepted to have a cultural rebel than an armed enemy. The annexation of Mauretania would have been ruinous and uncertain for an empire which was already waging war against the rebellious peoples in the four corners of the Middle East and Europe. With Juba II at the head of these vast territories, where numerous Roman colonies independent of the king took root, Octavian could count on an administration of the natives to an indigenous leader, at least faithful, at least wise enough not to rebel. Juba II then took care of his people and did not betray Rome, which continued to receive the surplus of Mauritanian grains and goods.

The reign of Juba is characterized by a sense of equity and democracy that earned him the respect of his people. This is why the Greeks erected a statue of him in the library of the gymnasium of Ptolemy at Pausanias. Ptolemy of Mauretania succeeded Juba II. His only son pursued in part the policy of his father but without the virtues of the most educated Aguellid.




The Mosque of Cherchell: unique in its kind, by its ancient architecture, it would have been built in 1574, on the remains of an ancient Roman temple. Transformed into a civilian and military hospital during the French colonial period, it returned to its vocation as a mosque as of the country's independence in 1962.



Besides the administration of his kingdom, Juba II devotes his time to study and soon acquires a great reputation in sciences and letters. Among his achievements are numerous public buildings, squares or forums, theaters, thermal baths, temples, public gardens ... Many vestiges testify of the greatness of this intellectual king endowed with a great power of work and assimilation, as testifies also his taste and his knowledge of beautiful works in sculpture, architecture ... He has published a dozen books which unfortunately have not been conserved by the time although they have been used as a source of documentation for several Greek and Latin writers. Among his works are the treatise on his native Libuca, in three volumes, dealing with geography, natural history, mythology, beliefs of all kinds ... Juba II is known to the Greeks and Romans as a scientist, artist, author of several books on letters, painting, theater, history, geography and medicine. He is the one who discovered euphorbia (to which he gave this name, which was that of his personal physician) and his treaty on this plant will later inspire several Greek doctors. His name is given to the scientific name of the coconut palm of Chile, Jubaea chilensis, in tribute to him.



Royal Tomb of Mauretania, said of Cleopatra Selene, wife of Juba II.





Juba II also wrote about the Assyrians, about Arabia's Roman history ... But his best work is the Fourth Book of History "Massinissa the Berber" written in the year 15 of his reign. This work, which testifies to its attachment to the history and the greatness of its people, is a vibrant homage to its ancestor Massinissa, whose Greeks made a bigger stele than that of Apollo inside the temple of this Because they consider him the only god who dared to be born, to live and to die.
The manuscripts of this Aguellid are so many references for several Roman historians, such as Titus Livius, Alexander of Miletus, Diodorus of Sicily. Pliny the Elder quotes him in his books and says of him "that he was even more known for his knowledge than for his reign".
Juba II played a role in cultural and artistic exchanges "with discernment stemming from his mixed cultural heritage and, no doubt, from the consciousness of a philosopher of his time." (Morel deledalle archeologia 522 P. 45).
Desiring to develop his kingdom and raise his people, Juba II sent many copyists to the capitals of the civilized world to bring back to him the discoveries of the thinkers of the time. Also interested in Egypt, his wife's country, he organized expeditions to discover the sources of the Nile and study the archipelago of the Canaries.



Royal Tomb of Mauretania, said of Cleopatra Selene, wife of Juba II.


Thanks to Juba II, Caesarea will be propelled among the great cities of the Mediterranean. Indeed, the advent of Juba II not only made of Caesarea a showcase city that would seduce the indigenous tribes but also compete with the other great cities.

Throughout his reign, which lasted about fifty years, Juba II was able to impel to the city a great architectural, artistic, cultural and economic dynamics. While Cherchell played an important role in the history of North Africa as a capital of Mauretania during the antiquity, it was under Juba II's reign that it had a strong influence on all aspects of art and culture, since it owes him, among others, the royal mausoleum of Mauretania, which many historians attribute to the period when this king and writer was in power.



Coin with the effigy of Juba II.


The historian Philipe Leveau writes: "Juba II would have been given the mission of winning his new subjects to Roman culture and putting all the material means necessary for his accomplishment, that is to say, the possibility of using the resources of his new kingdom and the indispensable technicians capable of immediately putting into practice the constructive and decorative schemes elaborated for the Augustian Classicism ".

The fact that all the sculptures of Juba II in the Louvre, the Vatican, Cologne and elsewhere are referred to as Ptolemy and not Juba II shows the western bias towards a Latin culture that Juba II mastered but without sacrificing his ancestors name of Juba nor the culture of his people. This velleity aims to hide the Berber descent of this king who knew how to enjoy Rome while serving his people for fifty years. Western historians also tend to undermine this king and make him a vassal of Rome, and although Juba II was adorned with Greco-Roman culture, he did not forget or ignore his ancestral culture. He succeeded in raising his people through work and art while giving them an education that emancipated them. In addition to the construction of buildings of public utility, he encouraged agriculture and left many achievements in the cultural and urban areas, as he appealed to the best sculptors of his kingdom to embellish his city, Caesarea, without hesitation to bring back Greece or Italy of Carrara marble, Pentelic, Paphos and Samos, as well as other materials necessary for their realization of artistic works.









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