donderdag 12 februari 2015



Ceuta is situated just east of the Jebel Musa on a promontory that extends quite far into the sea. It is built on the ancient settlement Abyla that in ancient times also was mentioned as Abila, Abina or Abenna. Abenna and Abina refer to the Phoenician name ‘bn = stone. The Greeks talk about Hepta Adelphoi and the Romans call it the Septem Frates.
Cesar Luis de Montalban is one of the first who Ceuta as Phoenician and Carthaginian site includes in his "Mapa de la zona del Arqueologica protectorado do Espagna and Marruec (1933)." Ponsich and Tarradell call it as "garum' factory. They mean little further on situated Alcazaseguer. Taredell has found in 1960 pre-Roman objects.
Ceuta is a very old settlement. There are many Paleolithic and Neolithic discoveries, which were researched by D.Bernal, V.Castaneda, J.Ramos L.Lorenzo. Most finds from the Iron Age were in the sea near the coast or done in the current port. See "Arqueologia submarina Ceuta" according to Juan Brava. These are mainly amphorae and anchors. The focal points here are the northern and southern port, the cape, Benzú in the west and more in the sea halfway Benzú and the northern port.
Ceuta is called in Arabic Sabta. Pliny (NH III 4; V 18) calls it Abyla. It is located at the foot of Mount Acho. On the beach coins have been found from Gadir, Malaka, Carthago Nova, Merida and Carmona. The Phoenician-Punic port must have had strong trade relations with the Iberian Peninsula across the street, but own coins of Abyla have not been found so far.
In "La Ceuta prehistoria al fin del mundo clasico" (Ceuta 2005) goes deeper into Punic Ceuta in the chapter: "El mundo y la historia antigua del Punico Africa occidental: desde una revision Ceuta: Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto .
Jeronimo de Mascarentras (1648 AD) still thought that Ceuta was a Roman foundation. Alexandro Correa de Franca thinks Noé (Bible) is the founder. According to him, the Carthaginians came there along in the middle of the 5th century BC to destroy the place under Saphon. Florian de Ocampo (16th century AD) sees Saphon as the Carthaginian governor of Andalusia. They are all crooked minded stories, perhaps motivated by some form of anti-Semitism. The truth is that there are already Phoenician amphorae have been found dating from the 6th century BC, and that the port was immediately employed especially on the return trips from Iberia.
The Beliunex zone at Benzú provided many Punic amphorae on the 5th-4th century BC (Mana Pascual A4). In the construction of a road to Alcazaseguer actually a Punic settlement came to light.
We already have many names for the place  briefly discussed, but there is still one to go: Exilissa of the narrative of ps.Skylax, also called Lissa. Hecateus (late 6th century BC), the weather about Melissa. Exilissa has something to do with an old name of Almunecar (Ex).
There are many strange stories about Ceuta. There is the mountain silhouette, which would see the face of Atlas, just as we think we can distinguish a face on Mars!
Even more strange stories occur on Ceuta. So it seems the mountain Hacho has something to do with the death of a woman and Strabo hangs a story about yet another solid silhouette. Mount Hacho would look for the sailors in the Mediterranean as an elephant between the mountains and therefore called that place ELEPHAS. If we add this to the seven brothers, then a little mysterious Ceuta appear.
So we are tossed in Ceuta between fiction and reality. Benzú northwest is actually more than 10,000 years inhabited. Here numerous finds have been made and that continues into the Iron Age.
The reality is that the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC were already in possession of the peninsula with a concentration at the Cathedral with the name "Mediados" from the 4th century BC, which was made on top of the remains of an ancient basilica. Much earlier than this are Phoenician walls emerged from the 7th and 6th centuries BC.
Another reality is that Abyla in the 3rd century BC, probably was faced with a visit of Hamilcar Barcas, which makes from this place in 238 BC the crossing to Iberia in order to do business with his Carthaginian army. Even with his son Hannibal has Ceuta something to do, because soldiers of the  Metagonites moved to Spain. With Metagonia is roughly meant the area of Abyla to Rusaddir (Melilla).
Until now there have been found in three places Phoenician structures, namely on the Gran Via, Plaza de Africa on the istme and a settlement on the slopes of Mount Hacho.
Still, the significance of Abyla for the Phoenicians and Punics was lesser than its counterparts as Old and New Carteia, or even Tarifa. They were more interested in Iberia than in Mauritania. After ca.200 BC Abyla comes under the Mauritanian kingdom. There would have been no real room for an independent existence. The Romans are primarily concerned with Iberia, despite the fact that Polybius after 146 BC may hold an exploration for the Mauritanian coast. We know some Mauritanian princes who were the boss in town: Iphtas, Askalis, Bocchus, Sosus, Bogud. Gradually Mauritania is a Roman vassal state, especially among Juba I + II and Ptolemy. In 40-42 AD is the Provincia Mauretania Tingitana Caesariensis created whose capital is Tingis.

LOS FENICIOS Y EL ATLANTICO R.Gonzalez Anton, F.Lopez Pardo, V Pena Romo. Centro de estudios Fenicios y Punicos, Madrid 2008. De Atlantische reizen.
Ceuta: Spain looking at Europe
Barcos,Puertas y Navegacion en la Historia de Ceuta. VIII Jornadas de Historia de Ceuta, Instituto de Estudios Ceuties, Ceuta 2008.
Ceuta V Jornadas.
CEUTA DE LA PREHISTORIA AL FIN DEL MUNDO CLASICO V Jornadas de historia de Ceuta. Instituto de estudios Ceuties patronato de la ciudad autonoma de Ceuta, Ceuta 2005. Vooral het hoofdstuk El mundo punico y la historia antigua del Africa Occidental. Una revision desde Ceuta, Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto.

Mapa arqueologico de la zona del protectorado de Espana en Marruec, C.L de Montalban   1933


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