Colorado College Logo

  DigitalCC

Use AND (in capitals) to search multiple keywords.
Example: harmonica AND cobos

In search of the Granary of Rome : environmental decline in Roman North Africa

by Heberlein, Will Robinson

Abstract

Visitors to North Africa have long noticed a sharp contrast between the lush landscape described in ancient texts which supported Roman cities like Leptis Magna, and the more arid, barren landscape of North Africa today. Environmental historians have traditionally attributed this contrast to a decline in the extent of forests and in agricultural fertility since the start of the Roman period, brought on by an overexploitation of Rome’s natural resources. Recently, however, this model has been criticized by several post-colonial and environmental theorists, who argue that the idea of decline in North Africa is a colonial invention that allowed Europeans to exert control over North Africa’s Arab and Berber populations. This essay seeks to evaluate the history and the historiography of the North African environment, and of the Mediterranean environment more generally, to uncover the extent to which decline may have occurred. It concludes that environmental decline did indeed occur in North Africa, but the source of this decline was the Roman Empire itself. The nomadic Arab people of North Africa cannot be blamed for the environmental changes which took place before their arrival. At the same time, human-influenced decline must not be ignored when considering the Roman Empire’s complex legacy.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:9839
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
84 pages
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Hyde, Anne Neel, Carol
Department/Program
Classics History
Degree Name
bachelor
Degree Type
B.A.
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2014-05