Origin of the Berber Tribal Confederation of Ṣanhādja
The paper presents an analysis of the sources on the medieval history of the Maghrib in an attempt to identify the origin of the Berber tribal confederation of Ṣanhāja. The directions of research include the analysis of territories presumably occupied by the branches of this tribal confederation, in addition to the migration routes of the Yemeni region, central Sahara and the Maghreb; history of the Berbers mainly based on the texts of Ibn Khaldūn and his description and the genealogical tree of the Berber tribes and families. Furthermore, to recreate a more complete picture of the mixture of peoples we should take into account the Arab and the Vandals demographic contribution. Yemenis have played its role in the Maghreb, but the real Arabization took place not earlier than in 11th century, so the question is in the earlier relationships between Arab tribes. On the other hand, there is a demographic contribution that is systematically underestimated in the Maghrib, i.e. that of the slaves of sub-Saharan origin that supposedly had a much greater impact. Various social and political conditions in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the evolution of Islamic written tradition in Arabic during the early medieval period account for the multiplicity and heterogeneity of data on the Berbers in Arab historical works. Thus, an accurate and consistent study of all the available sources is highly desirable. Correlation of medieval and modern regions, different spelling of toponyms and tribal names proper to authors of that period, different approaches to the perception of historical process, not to speak about a possibility of falsifications make it complicated to examine the issue. The difficulty also lies in the fact that some sources provide contradictory information that makes us doubt in their veracity. Therefore, the topic certainly deserves a detailed study.