Andrew Merrills

Andrew Merrills

I am a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Leicester in the UK. Before arriving at Leicester in 2005, I held research positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Cambridge (where I also did my PhD). My research has largely focused on the world of late Antique North Africa, and on ancient geographical thought. My 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; my second The Vandals (2010) was co-written with Richard Miles and discussed the flourishing of the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa in the fifth and sixth centuries. I have 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.

While in Sydney I am hoping to break ground 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’, and I hope to do something to rectify this imbalance! 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, I want to investigate the processes of historical representation, and examine how we – as historians and archaeologists – fill in the ‘gaps’ in our knowledge. The tremendous resources of the Whitehouse Library, and of course many colleagues here in the University will help enormously in this project.

Seminars and Lectures

Thu 10th April, 4.15pm (Classics Seminar) Roman Nile-ism: Authority and Geography in the Late Republic and Early Empire

Wed 28 May 6.00pm, CCANESA level 4 Madsen Building. 'Over the Moors, take me to the Moors: approaching the history of North Africa, c.300-700' Click here for brochure

Wed 11 June 2014. 6.30pm. Nicholson Museum. ‘The pump don’t work ‘cause the Vandals took the handle’