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Title: The African policy of Justinian I
Author: Williams, Miranda Eleanor
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 4232
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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In 533, Justinian I ordered the conquest of the former Roman provinces of Africa, which had been lost to the Vandals a century earlier. The 'reconquest' has been regarded, by contemporaries and modern scholars alike, as one of the defining successes of the reign. However, despite the evident achievements of the campaign, Roman victory over the Vandals marked little more than the beginning of the Eastern Roman Empire's attempt to consolidate its position in Africa. The unanticipated threat posed by hostilities from the Berber tribes would continue until 548. Roman-Berber relations, unlike other aspects of Justinian's foreign relations, have received comparatively little attention, and this study aims to reassess the establishment of Roman authority in Africa and the Eastern Roman Empire's response to the Berber threat. In particular, it considers whether this response should be seen as a series of ad hoc reactions to immediate circumstances, or whether it is possible to identify a coherent Roman policy vis-à-vis the Berbers. The major conclusions of this study fall in two areas. First, it argues that Roman objectives in Africa were far more limited than has generally been supposed, with the empire's territorial ambitions not extending beyond key coastal positions which offered strategic and commercial advantages, and from which the empire could project its limited authority into the interior. Second, this study concludes that the Eastern Roman Empire's actions with respect to the Berber tribes lacked coherence. Attempts to implement a system of client rulers were unsuccessful, partly as a result of the competition between individual Berber leaders as they sought to establish independent polities within the frontiers of the former Roman Empire; and partly as a result of an increasing lack of resources, as well as the instability caused by constantly changing leadership within the African civil and military administrations, which prevented the development of coherent long term strategies for addressing the Berber threat.
Supervisor: Howard-Johnston, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Byzantine Empire--History--Justinian I ; 527-565 ; Byzantine Empire--History ; Military--527-1081 ; Byzantine Empire--Foreign relations--527-1081 ; Berbers--Africa ; North--History