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THE BARBARY STATES
COMPREHENDING A VIEW OF
THEIR CIVIL INSTITUTIONS, ANTIQUITIES, ARTS, RELIGION, LITERATURE, COMMERCE, AGRICULTURE, AND
BY REV. MICHAEL RUSSELL, LL.D.,
“Nubia and Abyssinia," &c.
WITH SEVERAL ENGRAVINGS.
PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS,
NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET.
This volume completes the plan originally formed by the publishers for illustrating the History, the Antiquities, and the Present Condition of Africa.
In the first instance, they drew the attention of their readers to the progress of Discovery in that vast continent; describing the natural features of its several kingdoms, the social state of its people, and thereby bringing into one view all that appeared valuable in the observations of those travellers, whether in ancient or modern times, who have sought to explore the remote recesses of its interior. They next made it their endeavour to collect, within a narrow compass, all that is known respecting Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia,—those countries so full of interest to the scholar and the antiquary, and which are universally acknowledged to have been the cradle of the arts, so far as the elements of these were communicated to the inhabitants of Europe.
The Work now presented to the Public has for its object an historical outline of those remarkable provinces which stretch along the southern shores of the Mediterranean, during the successive periods when they were occupied by the Phænicians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Arabs, and the Moors; as well as a delineation of their condition since they acknowledged the dominion of the Porte.
No one who has read the annals of Carthage can be ignorant of the importance once attached to this singular country; in which was first exhibited to the eye of European nations the immense political power that may be derived from an improved agriculture, an active commerce, and the command of the sea. In the plains of Tunis, too, were fought those battles which confirmed the ascendency of Rome, and laid the foundations of that colossal empire, whose territory extended from the Danube to the Atlas Mountains, and from the German Ocean to the banks of the Euphrates. The gigantic conflict between the two greatest republics of the ancient world was at length determined among the burning sands of Numidia, or on those shores which, for many centuries, have been strangers to the civilization and arts diffused around their camps by these mighty rivals for universal sovereignty.
Nor are the kingdoms of Northern Africa less interesting in an ecclesiastical point of view. The names of Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustin, reflect honour on the churches of that land; and their works are still esteemed as part of those authentic records whence the divine derives his knowledge of the doctrines, the usages, and institutions of primitive Christianity. With relation to the same object, the inroad of the schismatical Vandals, and the conquest effected by the Arabs, present subjects worthy of the deepest reflection, inasmuch as they led to the gradual deterioration of the orthodox faith, till it was entirely superseded by the imposture of Mohammed. On these heads the reader will find some important details in the Chapter on the Religion and Literature of the Barbary States.