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Administration, society and culture in Roman North Africa, 46 BC-AD 429


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. Students from within the specialization the course belongs to have right of way. It is not accessible for BA students.


In 46 BCE Caesar defeated a large army mobilized by his opponents in the civil war at Thapsus, a town in present-day Tunisia. In the twenty or thirty years that followed veteran colonies and civilian colonies were founded at Carthage and other North-African sites. At a later stage, mainly from the early second century CE onward, large numbers of North-African cities became municipia and acquired Roman-type institutions. Simultaneously profound changes can be observed in local and regional economies, in local political culture and in the sphere of religion. Traditionally, these changes are grouped together under the umbrella term ‘Romanization’, for instance in by T.R.S. Broughton in his monograph The Romanization of Africa Proconsularis (1928) and by R. MacMullen, in Ch. 2 of his Romanization in the Time of Augustus (2000). From the 1990s onward the use of the concept of ‘Romanization’as has been heavily criticized but it has proved difficult to replace it with a more convincing alternative. Instead of trying to resolve this theoretical debate, this seminar will pursue the more modest (but still difficult) aim of trying to identify changes in the societies and cultures of North-Africa during the period 46 BCE-429 CE. Students will be allowed (jndeed encouraged) to follow their own interests, as long the as the focus remains on discontinuities, or continuities, in the fields of administration, local political life, social life, culture or religion (including both traditional forms of religion and late-Antique Christianity).

An entry-test will be held in week 2 (one week after the introductory session). Literature: Susan Rave, Rome in Africa (London 1993).

More information will follow when it becomes available.