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MAVRETANIA--Spelled with an E as well on inscribed marbles as on coins of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Commodus--a region of Africa, separated from Spain by the straits of Gibraltar (fretum Gaditanum), and from Numidia by the river Ampsaga. It is now Morocco.
Mauretania was made a conquest by Julius Caesar, who vanquished its king, Juba, reduced the country to a Roman province, giving the government of it to the proconsul Crispus Sallustius.
Augustus afterward exchanged it with Juba, the son, for Numidia.
The region remained under subjection to the Romans until about A.D. 441, when Genseric, King of the Vandals, gained possession of it. The Emperor Valentinian disputed with him its retention, sword in hand for three years, with various success; and at length, peace was established between these two potentates, who divided Northern Africa between them. At the death of Valentinian, Genseric not only recovered all which he had ceded but overthrew the Empire of the West. Justinian reconquered this territory ninety-five years after the Vandals had permanently occupied it.
Spanheim (Pr. ii. p. 583) affirms that the ensigns of royalty were accustomed to be sent to the Mauretanian Kings by the Roman Emperors, and in no other way were they confirmed in their regal dignity.