Die Erfindung eines Mythos

Der Numider-Logos Hiempsals II (Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum 17,7-18,12)

Translated title of the contribution: The invention of a myth: the Numider Logos Hiempsals II (Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum 17: 7-18: 12)

Alexander Weiβ

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The African excursus in Sallust's Bellum Iugurthinum is mostly seen as a unity. But the central part of the excursus contains a Numidian myth of origin, which - if we take Sallust's reference seriously - was written and, it will be argued, even invented by the Numidian king Hiempsal II sometime between 80 and 60 BC. In his myth, Hiempsal shows a strong familiarity with Greek mythology and concepts of culture. But he turns several of the Greek key concepts upside down. The myth represents the Numidians as victorious nomads who had the power to absorb immigrants to Africa from 'higher' cultures, and who obtained hegemony over most of North Afrcia because of their invincibility. Hiempsal, so it is argued, pursued three main goals: 1) to construct a 'national myth' of the Numidians to serve as a place of identity; 2) a demarcation against tendencies, of Hellenistic writers mainly from the city of Cyrene, to Graecize the history of the North African tribal world; 3) reestablishment of the Numidian kingdom, which lost most of the influence it had during the time of Massinissa, as a political power of the Mediterranean.
Original languageGerman
Title of host publicationDer imaginierte Nomade
Subtitle of host publicationformel und realitätsbezug
EditorsAlexander Weiβ
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
PublisherDr Ludwig Reichert Verlag
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9783895006050
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameNomaden und Sesshafte
PublisherDr Ludwig Reichert Verlag

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The invention of a myth: the Numider Logos Hiempsals II (Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum 17: 7-18: 12)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this