Most of the following ancient Africans became famous through contact with ancient Rome. The history of Rome"s contact with ancient Africa begins before the period when history is considered reliable. It goes back to the days when the legendary founder of the Roman race, Aeneas, stayed with Dido in Carthage. At the other end of ancient history, more than a thousand years later, when the Vandals attacked northern Africa, the great Christian theologian Augustus lived there.
In addition to the Africans important because they were involved in Roman history found below, there were thousands of years of pharaohs and dynasties of ancient Egypt. whose number, of course, includes the famous Cleopatra.
Dido was the legendary queen of Carthage (in northern Africa) who carved out a substantial niche along the southern Mediterranean coastline for her people -- emigrants from Phoenicia -- to live in, by outsmarting the local king. Later, she entertained the Trojan prince Aeneas who went on to become the pride of Rome, Italy, but not before he had created lasting enmity with the north African kingdom by abandoning the love-struck Dido. More »
It may not show in their mapmaking, but the ancient Greeks had heard tales of the wonders and novelties of an Africa that lay far beyond Egypt and Nubia thanks to the travelogues of Hanno of Carthage. Hanno of Carthage (c 5th century B.C.) left a bronze plaque in a temple to Baal as testimony to his voyage down the west coast of Africa to the land of the gorilla people. More »