Andrew Merrills is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Leicester in the UK. Before arriving at Leicester in 2005, he held research positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Cambridge (where he also completed his PhD). His research has largely focused on the world of late Antique North Africa, and on ancient geographical thought. His first book, History and Geography in Late Antiquity (2005) looked at the role of geographical description in Latin historical narrative from c.400-700 CE; his second The Vandals (2010) (co-written with Richard Miles) discussed the flourishing of the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa in the fifth and sixth centuries. He has recently completed a third book, Reflections of Roman Geography: Representations of the Nile in the late Republic and Early Empire, which looks at the contrasting ways in which geographical treatises, monumental geographies, wall-paintings, itineraries and poetry represented the physical world, during a period of dramatic political and cultural change, and the relations between these different forms.
His work in Sydney will focus on a new project concerning the 'Moorish' or 'Berber' polities which dominated the Maghrib between the eclipse of Roman power and the Arab Conquest (c.400-c.700 CE). This important part of the post-Roman world has been much neglected in studies of Roman 'decline' or 'transformation'. The sources for this are fragmentary to say the least – a small epigraphic corpus, some scattered archaeological material and references in histories and poetry written by hostile outsiders. In pulling this material together, Andrew hopes to investigate the processes of historical representation, and examine how historians and archaeologists fill in the 'gaps' in our knowledge.
Seminars and Lectures
Thursday 10 April 2014, 4.15pm. Roman Nile-ism: Authority and Geography in the Late Republic and Early Empire (Classics Seminar).
Wednesday 28 May 2014, 6.00pm. Over the Moors, take me to the Moors: approaching the history of North Africa, c.300-700. Lecture brochure
Wed 11 June 2014, 6.30pm. The pump don’t work cause the Vandals took the handle.