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The Roman Provinces of North Africa: The History of the Region and Its Rulers After the Punic Wars

Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 39 mins
Categories: History, Ancient
2.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Carthage was one of the great ancient civilizations, and at its peak, the wealthy Carthaginian empire dominated the Mediterranean against the likes of Greece and Rome, with commercial enterprises and influence stretching from Spain to Turkey. In fact, at several points in history, it had a very real chance of replacing the fledgling Roman Empire or the failing Greek poleis (city-states) altogether as master of the Mediterranean. Although Carthage by far preferred to exert economic pressure and influence before resorting to direct military power, it nonetheless produced a number of outstanding generals, from the likes of Hanno Magnus to, of course, the great bogeyman of Roman nightmares himself: Hannibal. 

Certain foreign policy decisions led to continuing enmity between Carthage and the burgeoning power of Rome, and what followed was a series of wars which turned from a battle for Mediterranean hegemony into an all-out struggle for survival. Although the Romans gained the upper hand in the wake of the First Punic War, Hannibal brought the Romans to their knees for over a decade during the Second Punic War. After the serious threat Hannibal posed during the Second Punic War, the Romans didn’t wait much longer to take the fight to the Carthaginians in the Third Punic War, which ended with Roman legions smashing Carthage to rubble. As legend has it, the Romans literally salted the ground upon which Carthage stood to ensure its destruction once and for all. 

At its height, the Roman Empire covered huge swathes of Western Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, and North Africa, and while many people are aware of Rome’s influence and legacy in Europe and the Middle East, they often have less understanding of Roman settlements on North Africa's Mediterranean coast. Nonetheless, this was an area that produced a number of emperors (including the only black emperors), some of the most sophisticated towns and cities of the empire, and Roman ruins that offer some of the best evidence of the Roman way of life to be found anywhere in the world. 

Apart from the complicated nature of evolving administrative systems in the area, another major challenge for modern researchers of the Roman period in North African history is that the natural environment was very different from that of today. The usual assumption is that the region was only fertile on the coast and that the hinterlands could not have provided the resources needed to maintain large, wealthy populations. However, in ancient times, North Africa was a fertile region.

The Roman Provinces of North Africa: The History of the Region and Its Rulers After the Punic Wars looks at Rome’s famous conquests, and what the area was like until the dissolution of history’s most famous empire.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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