The fact that the Thracians were Dacians ­ Dio Cassius himself affirmed it too ­ and that the Dacians, the Getae, the Ramans, the Latins, the Besisns (antiquity's metallurgists) were part of the same Thraco - Dacian family are no longer a secret to anybody.

Less known, however, is their migration boom, the "swarming" of the Carpatho - Danubian warriors in the ancient world. Asia Minor was populated by the Ramantes (the fortress Ramah ­ where Herod sacrificed 14,000 small children is evoked in the Bible too: "A voice is heard in Ramah,/ weeping and great mourning" ­ Matthew, chap. II, 17), or by the Trojan Ramantes, etc.. The ancient Egyptian writings recall the arrival, in Asia Minor, around the year 1250 B.C., of a people whose aim was the conquest of Egypt. They finally conquered the north of Africa, area that covers today most of the Sahara Desert.

An Italian archaeologist, Salvatore Aurigemma, announces a strange discovery in 1914. As he was excavating the ruins of a Roman villa, in the Libyan village Zliten, at a distance of 97 km away from the old Roman town Leptis Magna, he came across a Roman mosaic which, fortunately, he photographed (fortunately because the mosaic was to be destroyed during the first World War).The mosaic represents a white young Caucasian torn apart by a leopard. Two other victims, their hands and legs tied up, are awaiting their turn. These prisoners with rosy - golden skin and long, straight hair, aquiline noses and short beards were identified as Garamantes, a people who ruled over Fezzan, part of the Sahara Desert lying north of the Hoggar Mountains.

Who these Garamantes were is still one of the biggest mysteries of Sahara. Herodotus, in the middle of the 5th century B.C., called them a great nation, the people who sent the "troglodyte Negroes, living in caves" away. In Sahara (probably less arid then) there still exist several cliffs and stones painted by the Garamantes.

Some identify the Garamantes with "the Sea People" (as Ramses III called them). Still, one should not forget that in Etruscans: Italy's Lovers of Life (from the volume Lost Civilizations, Time - Life Book Series), on page 32, the Etruscans are considered the descendants of these "Sea People," as an explanation was needed for the discovery of the Etruscan writing, on the Lemnos Isle, more than 700 miles away from Rome. Nevertheless, things do not stop here. In 1840, a Croatian nobleman, named Baric, bought a mummy (easy to get at the time) from an antiquary in Alexandria. Baric, subject to the Austrian - Hungarian royalty, takes his acquisition to Vienna, where he proudly exhibits it together with several other art objects bought during his trips. For a while, the mummy lay still, in a box, at the curiosity of the viewers, until one day his nephew wanted to see what was under the "bandages." And, surprise! A little too late, though. In 1859 Baric dies and the mummy is declared to be a woman's body, of about 30 years old. Nothing special, one may say. Baric's offspring bring the mummy and the bandages to the National Museum in Zagreb, the Egyptology department, in July 1862. Professor Heirich Karl Brugsch notices immediately that on the bandages there was an inscription which he had thought was Egyptian! Other 20 years passed until, in 1891, the " bandages" were sent to the University of Vienna where the experts identified the writing as being Etruscan! The text was elaborate, written in two colours (black for words and red for the underline and for a number of vertical lines). The clothes of the Zagreb mummy are the only Etruscan ones discovered so far.

How was it possible for the Egyptians to have in Alexandria a mummy wrapped up in bandages with Etruscan writing on them is still a mystery.

If Napoleon Bonaparte discovered in 1799 Egyptis Rosetta Stone on which a text written both in Egyptian and in Greek was carved ­ providing thus the key to the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, we were less lucky with the Carpatho - Danubian Etruscan writing. Nevertheless, on the 8th of July, 1964, in Pyrgy (Italy) three golden slates were found: two written in Etruscan and one in Phoenician. Unfortunately, their texts do not coincide.

Going back to the Sahara Desert ­ so barren and unfriendly today -- it would be interesting to say that in those years, so long ago, it was a garden with lakes and rivers, farms and cattle. In 1958 a French explorer, Henri Lothe, discovers a series of superb paintings, engraved on the Sahara cliffs in the Hoggar and Ajjer Mountains, representing hunters running with bows in their hands, farmers surrounded by their cattle herds, women and children, white and black people together ­ an exotic African life in Sahara! (see Africa's Glorious Legacy, pages 14-15, Time - Life Books , Alexandria, VA).

The paintings also represent elephants, giraffes, gazelles, lions and even hippopotamuses (in Sahara?!) ­ all of them animals which live in savannahs, close to abundant water sources. Some consider that the authors of the paintings were prisoners of the conquering Garamantes (Carpatho - Danubian). Whatever the explanation, the Carpatho - Danubian Garamantes also invented an irrigation system , discovered between Garama (the capital of the Garamantes) and the oasis Ghat, the later Rhapsa. Garama, later called Germa, was swallowed up by the sand. The channels (called "foggaras") cover a distance of 4,8 km. A net of 300 such "foggaras" has been discovered, covering over 1,600 km of tunnels. How this irrigation system worked is still a mystery. Whether the water was brought from artificial reservoirs or from underground sources is not yet known.

The French archaeologist Pierre Belair, the one who discovered the channels in 1933, could not specify whether their system of irrigation indicated the existence of a numerous population. In the neighborhood of the capital Garama, over 100,000 tombs were found, out of which 40,000 were small and circular. Some of the scheletons excavated here share the characteristics of the white race, while the other ones belong to the oppressed Negroid race. All across the desert there are towns in ruins, entrenchments and indecipherable writings, but most of them are "sealed up" under the sand, awaiting their unearthing and decoding. No chromosomal study similar to the "PCR" has been found yet. Obviously we know too little about these Carpatho - Danubian Garamantes. Could they have been the horsemen accompanying Hannibal as he crossed the Alps and who in 202 B.C. refused to fight against their Roman brothers thus bringing forth Hannibal's defeat? Probably the Garamantes were conquered by the Roman brothers' allies, as Rupert Furneaux writes in The Garamantes, Ancestors of Modern Tuaregs?, on page 98. In this way they contributed to the control of the caravans' routes, which were bringing to Rome Africa's riches: ivory, gold, ostrich feathers, slaves and wild animals for the circuses. The Roman armies penetrated into Sahara three times: in 19 B.C., according to Pliny the Elder, Cornelius Balbus triumphed, reaching the coast. In 70 A.D., after one attack of the Garamantes upon the place Leptis Magna (attack represented probably on the mosaic described by Aurigemma), Septimus Flaccus spent three months in the desert going as far as the Tibet Mountains. In the year 86 A.D. he was followed by Julius Maternus.

The penetration of the Romans into Sahara intrigued Henri Lhote who speaks about the Garamantes crossing Sahara in chariots, from Fezzan to the river Niger. Cornelius Balbus, says Pliny, got as far as "Dasi Bari," known today as the river Niger, which the local people also call Isa (almost similar to the name Tisa, which means "river"), when the Roman Empire reached the borders of the empire of the two Galeriuses: Galerius the Elder (311 A.D.) and Galerius the Younger (313 A.D.). both of them Dacians. Christianity was not forbidden and it thus reached the Garamantes too. In 325 A.D., the Dacian born in the village Nis became emperor (after the two previously mentioned); Constantine the Great established Christianity as the official religion of the Empire. The Garamantes adopted it too. Nevertheless, the Arabs would never forgive them for it, according to the writings of the Arabian historian Ibn Khaldoun. He speaks, in History of the Conquest of Egypt about Okba (in charge of the Arabian army) who, before entering the capital, Garama (Germa), promised peace but never kept his word.

What happened to the Carpatho - Danubian Garamantes ­ the white people who once controlled Sahara ­ is hard to say. Some consider that the Tuaregs from Hoggar and Air Mountains are their descendants. This theory is neither fully accepted nor rejected (webmaster @ kenzi. com).Until the end of the 19th century the Tuaregs were under French administration, and were called the "Lords of the desert," as they were the unquestionable rulers of the caravans from Fezzan to Niger. They are completely different from the other people of the desert. According to this tradition, it is the men and not the women who are supposed to have their faces covered, the significance of this custom being a mystery even for them. They are tall and have copper-colored faces, while the Berbers (the Arabs) have darker skin and are much shorter.

The Tuaregs have other characteristics too: they have preserved their language, Tamash - Eq (could this have any connection to the old Carpatho - Danubian Vedic god ­ Tamash? see also Tamash - Fala, near Buzau) and their specific writing ­ Tifinagh ­which they can no longer read.

The Tuaregian society was divided, until not long ago, into three classes:

the nobles

1. the leaders of the camels and of the merchants

2. the black slaves (isn't this class similar to the Carpatho - Danubian Aryans who conquered India?)

Their women are treated respectfully and held in high esteem, even worshipped (as compared to the Moslem religion). There is a story speaking about the relationship between these Tuaregs and the Carpatho - Danubian Garamantes. According to a Tuaregian legend, one of the Tuaregian ancestresses, Queen Tien - Hinane, was buried in a stone mausoleum near Abalessa, south of the Hoggar Mountains. Starting from this legend, a French amateur archaeologist discovered in 1926 a stone mausoleum consisting of rooms and tunnels whose walls were decorated with signs and indecipherable inscriptions. To all appearances, twelve scheletons belonged to the nobles who accompanied the queen on her last journey. Approximately 2 km farther, a central room was found on whose floor a bed had been placed, similar to the ones discovered among the ruins at Carthage. In one of the corners there was a jar with the badge of the Emperor Constantine the Great on it; the scheleton in the room belonged to a woman and was adorned with a massive necklace, its pendant being a column, and having golden bracelets around her wrists. Dr. Leblanc, from the Medicine Faculty of the University of Alger, after having thoroughly examined the scheleton, declared that it belonged to a white woman. Queen Tien - Hinane is thought to have died in the 4th century A.D.. The identification of the "white woman" inspired Benoit, the novelist, when he wrote Antinea (name attributed by Plato to the queen of Atlantis). This romantic story was based on Herodotus' account describing a north African tribe called ATLATES, while the lost continent was located in Sahara (according to Professor Berlioux of the University of Lyon).

Personally, I cannot see what tectonic movements might have taken place in Sahara that could have completely destroyed the fabulous Atlantis overnight. Maybe a nuclear explosion! Consequently, the story of the French writer, Benoit, has remained a story, at least until now.