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date: 01 December 2020

Africa, Romanlocked

  • William Nassau Weech,
  • Brian Herbert Warmington
  •  and R. J. A. Wilson

Extract

The *Punic Wars made Rome heir to the Carthaginian empire. In 146 bce she left most territory in the hands of *Masinissa's descendants, but formed a new province (Africa) in the most fertile part. This covered about 13,000 sq. km. (5,000 sq. mi.) of north and central Tunisia, north-east of a boundary line (the fossa regia, ‘the royal ditch’) from Thabraca to *Hadrumetum; it was governed by a praetor from Utica. Except for *Utica and six other towns of Phoenician origin which had supported Rome rather than Carthage in the Punic Wars, most of the land became *ager publicus. Although the attempt by Gaius C. *Sempronius Gracchus to found a colonia at Carthage failed, Roman and Italian traders and farmers settled in the province in large numbers, and many of C. *Marius (1)'s veterans settled west of the fossa regia. After the battle of Thapsus in 46 bce*Caesar added to the existing province (thenceforth called Africa Vetus, ‘Old Africa’) the Numidian territory of Juba I (Africa Nova, ‘New Africa’).

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