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Roman North Africa: a stolen continent


Admission requirements



This course will allow students to become familiar with the literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence relating to Roman North Africa. From the fall of Carthage in 146 BC to the Vandal conquest of the mid-5th century AD, Africa is central to understanding the historical processes that lay behind the increase in Roman power during the late Republic, as well as the eventual decline and fall of the western Roman empire. In geographical terms, the course covers an area corresponding to modern Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Authors of the period, such as Appian, Sallust, Caesar, Cicero and Tacitus will be critically examined, along with inscriptions relating to various aspects of Romano-african life: the conditions of tenant farmers, public building programs, the appointment of local magistrates, promotions to urban status, and so on. Key themes that will be addressed include: the fate of Carthaginian territory after the Roman conquest, the changing nature of Roman imperialism, its consequences for African social structure, economy, urbanism and identity, and for production and long-distance trade.

Course objectives

Students will be expected to develop a knowledge and understanding of:

  • Colonial and post-colonial approaches to North Africa during the Roman period.

  • The main forms and sources of evidence – literary, archaeological and epigraphic – which are necessary to constructing a narrative of North Africa under Roman rule.

Students should also develop and improve the following skills:

  • The ability to understand the social and political background which led to certain forms of argument being made, and certain types of questions being asked of the past, at particular points in history.

  • The ability to assimilate broad-ranging textual material, and to take efficient, clear and concise electronic notes.

  • The ability to present accurately the views and ideas expressed in primary and secondary source material to a study group, and to express an opinion, contributing to the discussion.

  • The ability to write a review, or paper.

  • The ability to give constructive feedback on the work of others.


See here.

Mode of instruction

Literature Seminar

Course Load

  • Seminars (2 hours per week during 6 weeks), 12 hours.

  • Study of compulsory literature, 60 hours.

  • Preparation oral presentation, 80 hours.

  • Writing of essay/review article, 120 hours.

Assessment method

  • Participation in discussion: 25% final mark.

  • (Oral) Presentation short paper: 25% final mark.

  • Written essay/review article: 50% final mark.


Blackboard is used for announcements and course documents. Students are expected to read the set texts, take detailed notes in electronic form, print them (and bring them to the seminars), and be prepared to present them to the group in oral form.

Reading list

This will be made available via blackboard.


via uSis.

Contact information

Email: Dr. M.S Hobson