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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a brief introduction to how the historiographical development of Roman studies, since mid-twentieth century decolonization, has altered our understanding of the developments which took place in North Africa following the destruction of Carthage in 146 bce. The reader is introduced to literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources of evidence, which have traditionally been used to argue for either cultural change or continuity. After an initial examination of the immediate aftermath of the Third Punic War, Roman land appropriation and taxation, the focus is on sources of evidence usually described as “Punic,” “neo-Punic” or “Late Punic,” covering the spheres of municipal institutions, language use, and religious and funerary rituals. The vibrant multiculturalism and regional diversity of the Mediterranean and especially North Africa, both before and after the Roman conquest, is the dominant theme. This is used to shift emphasis away from grand explanatory paradigms based on essentialist identity categories, and toward a more nuanced picture of the complex and multivariate processes of cultural development and integration.

Keywords: Roman North Africa, postcolonial critique, Punicization, Romanization, culture-history, neo-Punic, Carthage

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