David Mattingly’s long-awaited book on North Africa and the Romans
Between Sahara and Sea: Africa in the Roman Empire challenges orthodox views of the story of Africa under Roman domination. It presents a new framework for understanding this and other territories incorporated in the Roman Empire. Based on decades of research in North Africa, David Mattingly’s book is a cleverly constructed and innovative account of the history and archaeology of ancient North Africa (roughly equivalent to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) from the first century BCE to the third century CE. He charts a new path toward a bottom-up understanding of North African archaeology, exploring in turn the differing material cultures and experiences of the Roman communities of the military and the urban and rural areas. Regional and societal differences emerge as significant and of long duration in the fascinating story of one of the most important sectors of the Roman Empire.
This important book is the most comprehensive in English on Roman North Africa. It is remarkably rich, with up-to-date references and a host of new ideas and perspectives. Well written and illustrated, with a plethora of maps, it will be required reading for anyone interested in the subject. Rather than emphasizing the role of external actors, as studies of “Roman Africa” have traditionally done, Between Sahara and Sea focuses on local contributions to the making of Africa in the Roman Empire. The author demonstrates that the multiple populations encountered by Rome were not an indistinct bloc, but had different identities and cultures.
David J. Mattingly is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Leicester.
“In Between Sahara and Sea: Africa in the Roman Empire, David Mattingly charts a new path toward a bottom-up understanding of North African archaeology. This cleverly constructed, innovative book addresses key themes in the archaeology of ancient North Africa, roughly equivalent to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, from the first century BCE to the third century CE. The author focuses not on “Roman Africa,” but rather the way that area participated in the empire centered on Rome. Mattingly articulates this new vision of Africa through the perspective of “discrepant identity,” a theoretical approach that enables him to examine variation in the extent of identification with the imperial project.”- David Stone
—David Stone, University of Michigan
"Between Sahara and Sea is a major contribution to the history of ancient North Africa and the Roman Empire. . . . Highly recommended."- Choice
Watch: Round Table discussion recording | Under "Prof. David J. Mattingly" in the "Interview Series" section | January 2024