The barbariansof Morocco is a historical book by the German author Adalbert Graf Sternberg,was published in 1909 by New York; Duffield, and was translated from Germanlanguage to English by Ethel peck.
The genre of this book is travel writing ortravel literature which is concerned with writing about other people and othercountries, like the westerners writing about some countries in Africa or in theeast. The barbarians of Morocco is an interesting book to be read andinterpreted for its rich content, in which Stenberg describe Morocco and itspeople in a very particular time before the French protectorate period in 1912.Sternberg like many other authors started his book “Thebarbarians of Morocco” by talking about some days that he spent in Tunis andAlgiers before heading to Morocco “tangier” on a ship of a Hungarian company. Then he began to describe tangier forits appearance from the middle of the sea and from the harbor of tangier as abeautiful white city. The Hungarian ship docked at the harbor and he startedtalking about the treatment of the officialdom at the entrance of the city.
Aswell as how they walked through ill-paved alleys with no wagons or carriages.He also described the Sok, how people were spending the day in it selling theirproducts, purchasing, telling stories. In addition to the Aissaoui andhamadshas traditions occasionally on the day of Aid al mouled and other feasts.After that he talked about his meeting with some French and English people andhow they share some pieces of advice about the dangerous way from tangier toFes that was almost forbidden for foreign people. In spite of all the bad anddangerous things that he heard Sternberg and his company Fox-pitt took the riskand they headed towards Fes. In their way to Fes Sternberg described the vast,green and empty lands, and their experiences in comping in some villages likeaouladmousa village and how they gave some money to Moroccan people in thevillage.
For instance, when he said,”It is characteristic of the Moors think noshame of begging. Even the rich do it” p43.After a couple of days on their way to Fes from avillage to another, they reached Alcazar elkabir. He described it also as abeautiful little place with high minarets, and talked about its history. Hetalked also about how they took some pictures of some women who were washing.He said that the women laughed and talked to them very friendly. He added to hisdescription that the Moorish women were frequently very beautiful.Anyway, Sternberg and his friend left Alcazar towardsFes with a letter from Mr.
Carrolton the ruler of Alcazar that will help them to enter the doors of Fes.Somewhere arounfMekness he mentioned that they met some parties of Aissaoui andhamadshas with dangerous looking men which force them to keep their eyes ontheir dog for fear that the Aissaoui men could eat it up. After a long journeythe saw Fes and he described it from outside as the famous capital of this landof marvels “Morocco”, surrounded by great walls, and beautiful as the sunshine,lovely as the sky of Morocco, and as the fairest symbol and monument of theoriental culture. As soon as they reached the gate, they showed the latter thatthey have with them from Mr. Carrolton and they opened for them right away.After a little while inside Fes, he started describing people for their clothesand their colored skin. He described the odors also when he said “the odors ofthe town were in striking contrast with its beauty.
In Fes, he found so many things to describe farfrom the aissaoui and hamadshas and the old traditions and habits of people. InFes he observed some political affairs starting from the sultans’s castle tohow the sultan moulay Abdel Aziz used to show himself to people just for timesa year. He described the deputation that was held in the mssalla with thepresence of a crowd of people and authorities and sultan himself. Furthermore,Sternberg said that at that time two ideas occupied the mind of the Moroccanpeople.
First one is the hatred of the French and second one is the fear of theEuropeanization taking as an example the experience of Algiers with the Frenchcolonization. He continued by describing how the sultan was not strong enoughpolitically to govern the country like when he said “everything was in the handof Allah”, mohammadian people that were a very religious people which couldnever love the followers of other religions. So “the maghzen” exploited peopleto enrich themselves because of the pretext that said that in mohammadian worldthere is no free-thinkers, and no one could attack the establishedinstitutions. Further in the pages of the book Sternberg stopped to give somelines about the history of Fes and how the descendants of Edriss were obligedto leave Mecca after unsuccessful rebellion, so they came to Morocco.
At firstthey lived in the town of quality. When they outgrew the town, Edriss thesecond built a city that should be the capital of Morocco, and this city wasFes. Then he move back to describe the Arab people, especially men in this casewhen he said “gold and good words persuades an Arab to bring his daughter tosee us” portraying the Arab men as they place gold or money over their dignity.In addition to the supper officer of the Moorish that they was receiving payfor all ranks from the me