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Staying Roman
Conquest and Identity in Africa and the Mediterranean, 439–700


Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107530720

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About the Authors
  • What did it mean to be Roman once the Roman Empire had collapsed in the West? Staying Roman examines Roman identities in the region of modern Tunisia and Algeria between the fifth-century Vandal conquest and the seventh-century Islamic invasions. Using historical, archaeological and epigraphic evidence, this study argues that the fracturing of the empire's political unity also led to a fracturing of Roman identity along political, cultural and religious lines, as individuals who continued to feel 'Roman' but who were no longer living under imperial rule sought to redefine what it was that connected them to their fellow Romans elsewhere. The resulting definitions of Romanness could overlap, but were not always mutually reinforcing. Significantly, in late antiquity Romanness had a practical value, and could be used in remarkably flexible ways to foster a sense of similarity or difference over space, time and ethnicity, in a wide variety of circumstances.

    • Bridges the traditional historiographic divide between classical studies and medieval history to present a fuller picture of the transition from Roman to post-Roman identities
    • Situates North Africa and its citizens in a pan-Mediterranean context, emphasising the geographical links which influenced Roman identities
    • Provides historians, archaeologists and art historians of the classical, medieval, Byzantine and Islamic periods with a nuanced interpretation of the Roman Empire's long-term influence in shaping the Mediterranean world
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Staying Roman is not only intellectually stimulating and an important contribution to the field of study of late antique North Africa, it is noticeably well founded and at the same time a pleasure to read.' Ralf Bockmann, The Medieval Review

    'This is a sophisticated volume … excellent and subtle …' Guy Halsall, Early Medieval Europe

    'As a starting point for Vandal and Moorish history in this period - still better as a thorough overview of the status quaestionis on the murky world of Byzantine Africa - Conant's book is to be warmly recommended.' A. H. Merrills, The Journal of Roman Studies

    'It is impossible to do justice to this finely argued and richly evidenced book in … a short review. Although the book's specific arguments will no doubt provoke continued debate and further research, its overall thesis that Roman cultural identity was paradigmatic throughout the period is highly convincing and will hopefully inform studies of 'long' late antiquity elsewhere in the post-Roman West.' Jamie Wood, Al-Masaq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107530720
    • length: 458 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 5 maps 29 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The legitimation of Vandal power
    2. Flight and communications
    3. The old ruling class under the Vandals
    4. New Rome, new Romans
    5. The Moorish alternative
    6. The dilemma of dissent

  • Author

    Jonathan Conant, Brown University, Rhode Island
    Jonathan Conant is Assistant Professor of History at the University of San Diego, where his teaching and research focus is on the ancient and medieval Mediterranean.

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