Tunisia Remains A “European” Country

The thing about some PoDs of this thread is that, if North Africa remains culturally connected with Europe like it was in ancient times, the cultural definition of Europe itself would not exist.

Rather, we'd be dealing with a Mediterranean cultural sphere, where someone from (let's say) Spain might believe Egyptians are more civilised and worthy of respect than some "barbarians" from northern Germania, and where religions of Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic origins have been intermingling for millennia (Aphrodite/Venus was derived from the middle eastern goddess Ishtar; the egyptian goddess Isis became hugely popular in Rome; Christianity itself comes from the Levant).

I doubt the Berbers would not assimilate into this mediterranean, greco-roman, and now christian society. In fact, I think Christianity may influence Africa in the same way Islam did in our timeline. We might see a "christian world" where the Mediterranean is considered the center of civilization, while the rest of Europe and parts of Africa are peripheries.
 
I'm personally fond of the idea of the Berber tribes managing to hold off the Arab invasions and keeping the entire Mahgreb a Christian-leaning region
That's what I also thought as well, although I wonder if Eastern Amazigh would be tongue spoken there.
 
That's what I also thought as well, although I wonder if Eastern Amazigh would be tongue spoken there.

Aren’t the Amazigh dialects mutually intelligible to one another? Therefore would an overall state push out the other dialects or would they adopt Latin as the Lingua Franca and lead to a French/Spanish situation develop.
 
Aren’t the Amazigh dialects mutually intelligible to one another? Therefore would an overall state push out the other dialects or would they adopt Latin as the Lingua Franca and lead to a French/Spanish situation develop.
More of a dialect continuum.
 
More of a dialect continuum.

From an outsider view then most likely we would continue to see the Amazigh-Romans being referred to as Mauri (Moors) as though that specifically pertained to the Mauritania Moors it seems to have been popular enough among Latin writers of the timeframe to lump the “Numidian Amazigh” with the more western “Mauritanian Amazigh.” Or Eastern and Western Amazigh.
 
I didn't know that. I had distinguished between Amazigh peoples who were nomadic during this period, settled Amazigh people, and the Romans who were settled in urban areas. Do you have any sources for the main revenue streams?
Check Cambridge History of Africa. Masinissa of Numidia in particular was noted by Polybius for turning his country into a major grain exporter, but settled agriculture was also found in Mauretania to the west (albeit not to the same extent).
No I simply maintain that there were connections between the Berbers of North Africa and the Berbers deep into the Sahara. Cultural connections which the Berbers of North Africa are more likely to prioritize. Especially when the sub Saharan trade kicks off.

I said they could become more culturally Saharan and sub-Saharan once the trade kicks off.
Why would they prioritise those connections? Trade with sub-Saharan Africa makes money, sure, but the bulk of the money is being made on shipping grain to Europe (or Carthage, which, after all, was not a Berber city). A single distant connection doesn't trump the constant connection with Europe, especially culturally. The average middle class or elite Berber in the 6th century is Christian, knows patronising the church might get him somewhere, and traces legitimacy as a successor to the Roman Empire. If anything, they'd want to export that sort of culture, which to them is clearly the most superior in the world and one which will literally save someone's soul, to sub-Saharan Africa, much as Berbers played an important role in spreading Islam there.
The Maghreb north of the Atlas Mountains forms an oasis, although a huge one just next to Europe, but it is well an oasis of the Sahara. Like the rest of the Sahara, the region has been populated for thousands of years by nomadic Afroasiatic tribes, who have created a tribal society adapted to the aridity of the region.

Berbers have much less in common with the European continent/Indo-European civilization than you think. The Maghreb is indeed deeply linked with sub-Saharan Africa, with many cultural exchanges taking place (for example, the spread of the marabout profession). There is also very exotic cultural practices that date back far in ancient times and reinforce the indigenous character of the Berbers (collective trances and erotic dances as in sub-Saharan cultures, male fighters shave their head and keep a small plait in the middle as in Mongolian cultures, women practice tattooing as in Polynesian cultures...).
The Celts used to paint themselves blue, fight naked, and sacrifice people, but Brittany, Wales, and even Ireland (never ruled by the Romans) still had many of the institutions and cultural traits of Christian Europe OTL. Culture is always changing, and what was Berber culture OTL might not be Berber culture in an ATL.
 
Of course as for the POD, there are multiple options to choose from. The first being, that the Exarchate of Africa survives and working together with local Berbers, possibly as foederati and a little old divide et imperia, the state survives and manages to hold off against the Arabs.

A good question is what could the various ATL African Diocese/Exarch/Kingdom’s relationships be with Constantinople in various scenarios. The Exarchate would have a more dependent srelationship but a Diocese originally tied to Rome or a Mauro-Roman Kingdom would have a more antagonistic relationship and might even see a ATL repeat of Justinian’s invasions.

Of course if we go back far enough we mess with things like Heraclitus never being born.

The relationship though would most likely be an important one. Especially in the event that Egypt is taken by the Sassanids/Muslims as that would leave the African area as the most important grain exporter for Constantinople. Something I could see the Africans using as a stick and carrot approach to keep their independence/ward off future Byzantine attempts to retake the land/get aid against Islamic invasions.

Speaking of that last part - comparing the Exarchate to an Semi-Fully Independent West Roman Remnant in Africa or a Mauro-Roman Kingdom would the Exarchate be weaker since it would be more dependent on Constantinople’s aid for defense similar to OTL?
 
Delay Islam by 200 years and I think you'd have a greater chance of North Africa staying Christian. IOTL Christianity survived as a majority in many North African and Middle Eastern countries for another 300-400 years. My theory is that when the Arabs invaded North Africa, Christianity still hadn't fully taken hold among the local people and remained more of an elite thing. Especially having to knell to the Papacy in Rome or the Patriarch in Constantinople. It's the same issue as the Arianism dispute encountered by many Germanic kings who converted to Christianity in the 5th and 6th centuries. Christianity didn't really solidify between West and East until even as late as 1453.
 
Delay Islam by 200 years and I think you'd have a greater chance of North Africa staying Christian. IOTL Christianity survived as a majority in many North African and Middle Eastern countries for another 300-400 years. My theory is that when the Arabs invaded North Africa, Christianity still hadn't fully taken hold among the local people and remained more of an elite thing. Especially having to knell to the Papacy in Rome or the Patriarch in Constantinople. It's the same issue as the Arianism dispute encountered by many Germanic kings who converted to Christianity in the 5th and 6th centuries. Christianity didn't really solidify between West and East until even as late as 1453.
there was still a donatisim issue and depening what part of north africa Nasamones had been conquered in 640s so not even a century had passed since their conversion many amazigh tribes of the interior converted during the 6th century so many were fresh converts who still had much syncretism only the very coast had been chirstian the longest and with more people hence they lasted the longest.
 
I think that is simply nonsense. I don't see why they would classify it as Europe. Europe was initially categorized as a geographical term rather than reflecting anything "cultural". But if there is something called "European culture" it should be limited to the geographical region known as Europe rather than extent outside of it. That's like describing America as "Asian culture" or something even America is not Asia.
I kid you not the reason was because the Suez crisis had more european powers involved then all else
 
As for resisting the Islamic invasion should the ATL version still take Egypt I think the best course in this case would be a look at the reasons OTL Tunisia fell to the Arabs.

Loss of Internal Cohesion. Primarily that the Roman, Berber, and Greek sections of the local society were in increasing strife. Many of the Berber tribes were at odds with the Exarchate, the Latin citizens were at odds with the Greek ones, and the Exarch was in rebellion against Constantinople. Parts of the Exarchate were already shorn off by independent Berber tribal confederations not just in the Tripolitania direction but also in the direct heartland.

This saw the region weakened and divided against the Islamic advance.

If a African state that is able to keep cohesion and the loyalty of much of the Berber semi-settled and Settled populations along with the Greco-Punic-Roman population they would have a better chance of resisting the Arab raids westward. The Byzantines of course would be an interested ally in resisting the Arabs - especially after the loss of Egypt if they had any territorial ambitions on the region they would likely be withdrawn due to the plague of Islamic attempts to conquer Constantinople from the 640s onward.

In fact we could even see the Africans join in attempts to oust the Calpihate from Egypt itself.

Also what sounds good as a TL title?

“Europe’s Southern Shore”
“Christ’s Southern Shore”
“From desert, to mountains and Carthage’s shore”
“Africa Defiant”
“Heirs of Numidia.”
 
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A Scandinavian and an Iberian circa 1000 had very little in common with each other apart from being Christian and to some degree influenced by Roman culture.
*Riled Spanish Noblemen, circa 1000 AD*
"We left. Scandinavians are just our lazy relatives that stayed home!"
 
This AH site exploring the history of the Tunisian language, in a setting where the Tunisians are Christians and speakers of a Romance language, is heavy on the mechanics of the language but does include AH.


By 1100 AD, the Old Tunisian-speaking Christian community was largely confined to the center of modern-day Tunisia. The cities of Capse and Tacap were the only sizable cities with a Christian majority, with a number of small Christian settlements scattered between them. Other cities, including Tunis itself, often retained Christian minorities; the Christian Quarter (Il Cretay Crestá) of modern Tunis was the center of the medieval Christian community of the city. Christians were barred from holding public offices, though some families managed to earn influence through merchant networks. When written, Old Tunisian from this era always appears in Arabic script.

During the Islamic era Tunisia passed through the hands of multiple dynasties. The city of Tunis itself grew quite wealthy, though most of this wealth was in Muslim hands. In the 11th and 12th centuries, however, domestic issues began to destabilize the region: Sunni Muslim populations led revolts against Shi'ite rulers, which then led to retribution against Sunni communities. Both Berbers and Christians often took part, with Berber tribes often taking advantage of the conflict to raid the countryside, and Christians often playing sides to attempt to gain political favor. Economic output was devasted, ultimately forcing both local and regional governments into debt and default. In 1135 AD, under the pretext of debt collection (though also at the request of wealthy Tunisian Christians and the general anti-Muslim sentiment sweeping Crusades-era Europe), Roger II of Sicily began the first European crusade against Tunisia, conquering the island of Djerba in western Tunisia. Over the coming decades, Norman crusaders captured a number of cities in modern Tunisia and Libya, reestablishing Christian control through a network of fortified coastal city-states. Inland Tunisia collapsed into a number of Christian, Muslim, and Berber chiefdoms, most of which either allied themselves with the Norman city-states or the more powerful Islamic dynasties in Algeria and Libya.

In the Norman-held cities of Tunisia, Middle Tunisian reemerged as the language of daily life and commerce, though Sicilian was the language of the court. Much of the Muslim population of the cities were expelled, and the Latin script was reintroduced to write the Tunisian language. By the late 13th century the Tunisian city states were de facto independent, with native Tunisians assuming most government positions. Several attempts by the Muslim kingdoms of north Africa to reconquer this territory met with little success. Tunis itself, still a major Mediterranean port city, flourished as the new center of a revived Christian Tunisian culture, with the Il Capsí royal family ruling over the city for most of its independent existence. During this time, as the Tunisian city states attempted to more actively incorporate themselves into the European cultural and political sphere, the language began to adopt an increasing number of medieval French and Italian vocabulary.

In the 16th century, turmoil once again hit the region as the ruling dynasties of Islamic north Africa were toppled one by one by the advancing Ottoman armies. An alliance of necessity brought together the Hafsids controlling Muslim Tunisia and the Spanish who had acquired a number of cities on the African coastline with the intention of continuing the Reconquista southward. The Ottoman expansion was successfully checked; however, the Hafsid state was severely weakened and bankrupt, and soon collapsed in the face of internal rebellions. Seizing the opportunity and the Ottomans' preoccupation with issues in the Balkans, King Mateo II il Capsí of Tunis led the unification (l-Uniá) of Tunisia, bringing all of the Tunisian city-states as well as the Muslim hinterland under his rule. The year 1581, the end of the wars of unification, are often seen as the beginning of the modern Tunisian state.
 
I was thinking of doing an opening like this:

“In the crowded streets of Carthage, the Southern Shore’s shining pearl, there is a statue dedicated to one man, though of many, who changed the course of history not just for the city but also for much of the African and Aegyptian coast. It is not far from the African Way (Rada Africa - itself not having been a feature of the city until the advent of the autocart )that is the main bustling boulevard of the city itself that has seen many different masters. To the locals it is commonly referred to as The Count of Africa.

Comes Bonifacius Africae’s status is certainly weathered as it was erected a little under a century ago, and is by no means the most famous of statues to commemorate leaders of the city’s past but the impact he had on the city was enough to push it from one course that would have seen it salted and destroyed a second, and last, time.”
 
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I was thinking of doing an opening like this:

“In the crowded streets of Carthage, the Southern Shore’s shining pearl, there is a statue dedicated to one man, though of many, who changed the course of history not just for the city but also for much of the African and Aegyptian coast. It is not far from the African Way (Rada Africa) that is the main bustling boulevard of the city itself that has seen many different masters. To the locals it is commonly referred to as The Count of Africa.

Comes Bonifacius Africae’s status is certainly weathered as it was erected a little under a century ago, and is by no means the most famous of statues to commemorate leaders of the city’s past but the impact he had on the city was enough to push it from one course that would have seen it salted and destroyed a second, and last, time.”



as a beginning it is very promising, I like to see a TL where Boniface has more luck, I imagine that in the main forum of the city there are also statues of Heraclius the Elder, Alexander Severus, Hannibal, Saint Augustine etc.

I would suggest as a title, something like " Carthago, the superb pearl of Africa, city of saints, leaders and navigators "
 
I wonder if I can get away with “Africa” being divided between two subcontinents in popular culture. With Africa being the territory north of the Sahara and Subsahara being the southern part of the continent (thanks to cultural racism).

Then again would they refer to the whole continent as a name or just be like “No it doesn’t count”.
 
The thing about some PoDs of this thread is that, if North Africa remains culturally connected with Europe like it was in ancient times, the cultural definition of Europe itself would not exist.

Rather, we'd be dealing with a Mediterranean cultural sphere, where someone from (let's say) Spain might believe Egyptians are more civilised and worthy of respect than some "barbarians" from northern Germania, and where religions of Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic origins have been intermingling for millennia (Aphrodite/Venus was derived from the middle eastern goddess Ishtar; the egyptian goddess Isis became hugely popular in Rome; Christianity itself comes from the Levant).

I doubt the Berbers would not assimilate into this mediterranean, greco-roman, and now christian society. In fact, I think Christianity may influence Africa in the same way Islam did in our timeline. We might see a "christian world" where the Mediterranean is considered the center of civilization, while the rest of Europe and parts of Africa are peripheries.
Yes, I think even if the geographical definition of Europe remains the same, Christian North African states would be regarded similarly to Georgia/Armenia IOTL - basically part of the cultural sphere regardless of geography.
 
Yes, I think even if the geographical definition of Europe remains the same, Christian North African states would be regarded similarly to Georgia/Armenia IOTL - basically part of the cultural sphere regardless of geography.

Yeah, I think people might say something like "Europe and North Africa" vis a vis "Middle East and North Africa" IOTL
 
One thing I have not heard or seen suggested is a further expansion of the Roman Empire into the Sahara and it sticks for a century or two……
If they conquer the garamantes and then seize control of the subsaharan trade routes the reservoir of unromanized berbers would be much smaller.
Also the introduction of more advanced Roman water abstraction techniques would reduce the need for slave labour (for the garamantes) hence prolonging the life of that state which otl was felled by their tech not being enough to pump water from the local aquifer.
In OTL the camel was not widely used in North Africa (if the Berber and subsequent Arab invasions do not happen) and some credit it with increasing desertification and adding along with pastoral tribal grazing practices to the change in the area.
Tunisia would have stayed agricultural had a larger population of punic/berber and Latin speaking Christian’s without this demographic change plus the strategic depth of holding areas deep into the desert would reduce raiding and increase trading opportunities outside of the soon to be Byzantine empire or Arab polities.
A darker part would be such a polity already had existing trade routes to import slaves from west Africa so would be in completion with East African routes for ottoman markets and Europeans such as the Venetians on Crete (original sugar plantations) or who knows….
 
Yeah, I think people might say something like "Europe and North Africa" vis a vis "Middle East and North Africa" IOTL
That actually makes a lot of sense considering North Africa and Europe are in similar circumstances as north Africa and the Arab world was, that in, what is considered a borderland of some such.
If Egypt were to remain arab, it might actually be considered as technically part of the Middle East the same way some people have Turkey as a Middle Eastern/European country depending on the kind of data/image they have.

As for the effect, my guess is that the western Maghreb would be a lot more different from Tunis than Northern Spain would be from it's south simply due to sheer distance, and Tunis's closeness to Italy.
 
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