Towards an explanation for urban vitality in times of crisis. A study on the impact of economic integration and intra-regional migration on the urban character in Late Roman Africa.

01 October 2014 → 30 September 2017
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Economic archaeology
    • Ancient history
    • Medieval history
    • Political history
    • Regional and urban history
    • Socio-economic history
Afrikaans urbanisation
Project description

The Late Roman 'success story' of urbanization in Africa Proconsularis, Byzacena, Numidia and Tripolitania has largely been established through generalizations of individual case studies. Wide studies of urban development that actually explain this development hardly carried out and that have been, did not venture beyond a certain time frame (the Principate, i.e. the first three centuries after Christ, or the late Roman period). This research project aims to fill this gap by investigating the development of two determinants of urbanisation. It will be highly innovative because of its diachronic approach, which will allow us to distinguish long-term developments from the heyday of the Principate in the second century from the Late African urban flowering of the fourth century AD. The basis on which the determinants of urbanization and hierarchization of cities are selected is the shared principle of connectivity. They include the investigation of (1) human mobility and migration, and (2) economic integration through rang-size analysis of cities. By addressing the problem of intra-regional differentiation in urbanization pathways we connect with the most recent paradigms in Roman imperialism studies as well as with the recent trends in Roman urbanization research. This research on the Roman world has the potential to make an important contribution to our understanding of stimulants and barriers to urbanisation in pre-industrial societies in general.