Project Group B: Conflict and Control, Project B5

Roman Rule in the Maghreb between Sedentariness and Nomadism


The research project analyses the Roman rule over nomadic groups in North Africa. Its goal is to investigate the means by which the Roman Empire controlled or tried to control the nomadic groups in this territory.
The work during the first period led to new insights and research questions, which will be dealt with in two areas of work.

The aim of the first area of work is to develop the terms space and border as tools for the analyses of the contact between nomadic and sedentary ways of life in Roman North Africa. Due to different understandings of space, integration of nomadic groups was extremely difficult for the Romans. Research on the mechanisms which made coordination possible is therefore of central importance. Two theoretical approaches will be used to gain further insights: 1. Drawing on theories of neo-institutionalism, space and border are believed to have an instrumental and a symbolic dimension to them. 2. The adaptation of the idea of Rome as a presence-culture (Gumbrecht).

Topic of second area of work is the confrontation between states (Roman/Byzantine provinces, Vandal regnum) and the indigenous, non-sedentary groups in the geographical area of North-Africa from the third to the end of the sixth century and the resulting consequences on political, social and economic structures and lines of development for the region.
While conflicts and military confrontations of roman central power and nomadic groups in first and second century North-Africa only seldom grew up to a threatening level, Rome slowly lost operative control in course of the third century. The military initiative increasingly passed to the indigenous tribes, which slowly shoved the Roman provinces in a defensive position. These conflicts continued in Late Antiquity and Vandal times and also after the Byzantine (re-)conquest the new central power saw themselves confronted with considerable difficulties in securing the region. Only at the end of the sixth century a partial stabilisation of the situation succeeded. In geographical perspective, the Later Roman North-African provinces (Mauretania Tingitana, Caesariensis and Sitifensis, Numidia, Africa Proconsularis, Byzacena and Tripolitania) and the Cyrenaica (Libya inferior and superior) will be included and analysed with attention on structures and development-lines.


Prof. Dr. Charlotte Schubert

Der Eid des Hippokrates. in print.

Die Inschrift von Henchir Mettich (CIL VIII 25902). Ein Beispiel für die Interaktion von sesshaften und nicht-sesshaften Bevölkerungsgruppen im römischen Nordafrika. In: Mitteilungen des SFB "Differenz und Integration" 4/1 (2003), 181–210.

Athen und Sparta in klassischer Zeit. Ein Studienbuch. Stuttgart/Weimar 2003.

Hippokrates: Ausgewählte Schriften (griechisch-deutsch). Düsseldorf/Zürich 2003.

Die Macht des Volkes und die Ohnmacht des Denkens. Stuttgart 1998.

Land und Raum in der römischen Republik. Die Kunst des Teilens. Darmstadt 1996.

Perikles. Darmstadt 1994.

Dr. Alexander Weiß (Juniorprofessor)

with M. Weiß: Giftgefüllte Nattern oder heilige Mütter. Frauen, Frauenbilder und ihre Rolle in der Verbreitung der christlichen Botschaft. Münster 2005 (Antike Kultur und Geschichte 8).

Die Grenzen der Integration. Rom und die Baquaten. In: Bonner Jahrbücher 202, 2002 (2005), 337–348.

Sklave der Stadt. Untersuchungen zur öffentlichen Sklaverei in den Städten des römischen Reiches. Stuttgart 2004 (Historia Einzelschrift 173).

Limocincti in Irni. Zur Ergänzung des Duumvirnparagraphen 18 der lex Irnitana. In: Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 135 (2001), 284–286.

Dr. Roxana Kath

Nulla mentio pacis – Untersuchungen zum Umgang der Römer mit militärischen Rückschlägen in der Zeit der Republik. Diss. (Dresden 2003). in print.