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Africa






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    AFRICA.----The region, which the Roman geographers comprehended under this name, was limited to the northern part of that vast continent, extending along the shores of the Mediterranean, from about the present pashalic of Tunis, to the furthest extremity of the modern kingdom of Fez and Morocco. As a Roman province, it was one of great dignity and importance. It fell to Mark Antony's share, after the battle of Philippi.----The annexed wood cut, from a large brass of Hadrian, exhibits some of the numismatic symbols of Africa, all of which are well described by Addison: personified as a

 
woman, the province "is always coiffed with the head of an elephant, to show that this animal is the breed of that country, as for the same reason she has a dragon or serpent lying at her feet. The lion on another medal marks her out for the Leonum arida nutrix. The scorpion, on a third reverse, is another of her productions. Lucan mentions it in particular, in the long catalouge of her venomous animals.
 
    --------------------------  quis fata putaret
Scorpion, aut vires maturae mortis    habere? Ille minax nodis, et recto verbere saecus.
                                             [Lib. 9.]
    Who that the Scorpion's insect-form surveys, Would think that ready death his call obeys, As fierce he rears his knotty tail on high?
 
    This part of the world has always, on medals, something to denote her wonderful fruitfulness, as it was indeed the great granary of Italy. Hence we see the genius of Roman Africa holding a handful of corn ears, or a cornucopiae, and resting her elbow on a basket of wheat, or fruits. These are all emblems of her great fertility, and signify what Horace alludes to in the words:
 
    Frumenti quantum metit Africa.----[Sat. 3. lib. 2.]
 
    Africa is personified, on a denarius struck under the republic, by the head of a woman, covered with the skin, tusks, and trunk of an elephant's head.----See engraving in Cestia gens.
    
    AFRICA.----Gold, silver, and first and second brass coins, with this legend (the brass bearing S.C. in the exergue), struck under Hadrian, represent the Province seated, with attributes of elephant's head, scorpion, cornucopiae, and canistrum; in others with those of lion and corn ears.----[Hadrian, according to Spartianus, bestowed many benefits on that province.----See RESTITVTORI AFRICAE.]  
 

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