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The Role of Goliath in Moroccan Berber Genealogies

Among most Berber-speaking tribal groups in Morocco the depth of the agnatic lineage, which usually coincides with one's informant's greatgrandfather or great-great-grandfather in the patriline, is seldom more than four, and at the outside six or seven, generations, in which ancestors are actually remembered, named, and traceable on a step-by-step basis. Beyond this point they are not. This is the case for the Rifian dharfiqth or lineage group among the Aith Waryaghar in northern Morocco (Hart 1976 p.274), while among the Ait 'Atta in the South-Central Atlas , the Saghru massif and the Dra and Tafilalt oases, the lineage group in this region, and in the Tamazight dialect rather than in the Rifian one, usually known as ighs (lit. 'bone') never exceeds four generations, while for small lineages it is only three (Hart 1981 p.74). Yet, perhaps paradoxically, the Ait 'Atta can claim to have a corporate lineage system whereas the Rifians cannot.