Vandals, Romans and Berbers: New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Vandals, Romans and Berbers

New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa, 1st Edition

Edited by Andrew Merrills


368 pages

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Paperback: 9781138252684
pub: 2016-09-09
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The birth, growth and decline of the Vandal and Berber Kingdoms in North Africa have often been forgotten in studies of the late Roman and post-Roman West. Although recent archaeological activity has alleviated this situation, the vast and disparate body of written evidence from the region remains comparatively neglected. The present volume attempts to redress this imbalance through an examination of the changing cultural landscape of 5th- and 6th-century North Africa. Many questions that have been central within other areas of Late Antique studies are here asked of the North African evidence for the first time. Vandals, Romans and Berbers considers issues of ethnicity, identity and state formation within the Vandal kingdoms and the Berber polities, through new analysis of the textual, epigraphic and archaeological record. It reassesses the varied body of written material that has survived from Africa, and questions its authorship, audience and function, as well as its historical value to the modern scholar. The final section is concerned with the religious changes of the period, and challenges many of the comfortable certainties that have arisen in the consideration of North African Christianity, including the tensions between 'Donatist', Catholic and Arian, and the supposed disappearance of the faith after the Arab conquest. Throughout, attempts are made to assess the relation of Vandal and Berber states to the wider world and the importance of the African evidence to the broader understanding of the post-Roman world.


'… this detailed scholarly collection is a most thorough study of North Africa in late antiquity; it will undoubtedly remain the definitive study on the topic for decades… Highly recommended.' Choice 'Vandals, Romans and Berbers is an extremely important collection of studies on a rather neglected range of topics, and will shortly become indispensable reading for anyone interested in the history of late antique and early medieval North Africa.' Scripta Classica Israelica 'It cannot be but a healthy field when scholars read with such sensitivity and interpret their sources with this much respect.' Early Medieval Europe 'The chapters contained within Vandals, Romans and Berbers do exactly that; they challenge the many pre-conceptions that students and scholars of late antique Africa may have, and encourage them to pursue their interests, whether they are ecclesiastical, literary, or social.' Bulletin of International Medieval Research

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Vandals, Romans and Berbers: understanding Late Antique North Africa, A.H. Merrills. Part 1 African Identities: The Vandals: fragments of a narrative, Walter Pohl; The settlement of the Vandals in North Africa, Andreas Schwarcz; The house of Nubel: rebels or players?, Andy Blackhurst; From Arzuges to Rustamids: state formation and regional identity in the pre-Saharan zone, Alan Rushworth. Part 2 Written Culture: 'Romuleis Libicisque litteris': Fulgentius and the 'Vandal Renaissance', Gregory Hays; Vandal poets in their context, Judith W. George; The perils of panegyric: the lost poem of Dracontius and its consequences, A.H. Merrills; The so-called Laterculus Regum Vandalorum et Alanorum: a 6th-century African addition to Prosper Tiro's chronicle?, Roland Steinacher; Who wrote the Ostraka from the Ilôt de l'Amirauté, Carthage?, Jacqueline F. Godfrey; Literacy and private documentation in Vandal North Africa: the case of the Albertini Tablets, Jonathan P. Conant. Part 3 The African Church In Context: Who were the Circumcellions?, Brent D. Shaw; From Donatist opposition to Byzantine loyalism: the cult of martyrs in North Africa 350-650, W.H.C. Frend; Intentions and audiences: history, hagiography, martyrdom, and confession in Victor of Vita's Historia Persecutionis, Danuta Shanzer; Disputing the end of African Christianity, MarkA. Handley. Select bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Dr Andrew Merrills

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General