n Akroterion - Some thoughts on the demise of Roman influence in North Africa, 5th / 6th century AD

Volume 52, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0303-1896
  • E-ISSN: 2079-2883
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When one thinks of the once mighty Roman Empire, a vision of the proverbial "eternal city" of Rome with its beautiful white colonnaded marble buildings comes to mind. However, Rome did not last eternally, in fact, more than 200 years before the traditional date of the "fall" of the Roman Empire in the West (AD 476), the Golden Age of Rome had shifted towards the southern shore of the Mediterranean, to the previously rather neglected provinces of North Africa. From the 2nd century AD until it was overrun by the Vandals in the 5th century, Roman North Africa enjoyed a period of unequalled prosperity; during the Vandal reign Roman influence still endured in small measure, followed by a brief renaissance under the Byzantines in the 6th century, but after the Arab conquest in the late 7th century it vanished as completely as if the Romans had never set foot in North Africa.

The exceptional prosperity of North Africa at a time when the rest of the Empire was already in a state of decline, and the complete disappearance of any Roman influence whatsoever on the culture and language of a region which was at the time the most Romanized of all the Roman provinces, will be discussed in this article.

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