North Africa in Late Antiquity: Challenges to Roman/Byzantine Imperial Control


For much of its history, North Africa has fallen under the control of various empires and foreign power. However, as many of these conquerors eventually found out, North Africa was a region that was both unwieldy in its dimensions and unwieldy to control. The region’ disconnected, fragmented regional perspectives and administrative structures resulted from and produced a fissiparous process of cumulative and reinforced fragmentation, whether looking at matters from the littoral or from the interior. In this post, I want to look at North Africa in Late Antiquity (ca. 200–600) and how the region’s geography, politics, and society made it nearly impossible for central authorities (usually Romans or Byzantines) to fully control the region.



North Africa, a region roughly defined as all territory west of Egypt and east of the Atlantic, was perhaps one of the most important regions of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. However, in discussing late…

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