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Imperialism, Power, and IdentityExperiencing the Roman Empire$
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David J. Mattingly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160177

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160177.001.0001

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Landscapes of Imperialism

Landscapes of Imperialism

Africa: A Landscape of Opportunity?

(p.146) Chapter Six Landscapes of Imperialism
Imperialism, Power, and Identity

David J. Mattingly

Princeton University Press

In recent years, a strong case has been made for identifying intensive economic growth in the provinces of Africa Proconsularis and Numidia—notably, between the second and fourth centuries AD. This thesis is supported by comparative studies of other preindustrial societies, since Roman Africa reveals virtually all the classic elements associated with this phenomenon. These include growth in agricultural production and rural population, an increase in exports of primary products, raised levels of import substitution, larger-scale units of production (farms to oileries, workshop to manufactory pottery production), the emergence of a society that was patently involved in risk taking, economic calculation, technological innovation, and other “rational” economic behavior. In this respect, Africa stands out from many other provinces of the Roman Empire, where growth of this sort did not occur. This chapter considers the factors that may account for this difference and suggests a few pointers for further work in this developing field of research.

Keywords:   economic growth, Africa Proconsularis, Numidia, Roman Empire, Roman Africa

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