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Apollonia-Sozousa in late antiquity: some remarks on the caput provinciae of Libya Superior 1

  • Christian Barthel (a1)

Abstract

This article examines the available archaeological and historical data on the Late Antique city of Apollonia-Sozousa, with a particular focus on the date of its elevation to the capital of Libya Superior. Contrary to recent scholarship that stressed intrinsic evidence in the form of a combination of Berber raids and a deficient Roman military infrastructure, this article seeks to reintegrate the local conflicts of late Roman Cyrenaica to the major historical events of the fifth century AD. It is argued that the failed attempt of AD 468 to conquer Vandal Africa and the subsequent retreat of the Roman forces out of Tripolitania in AD 470 serves as a more likely political background to date the relocation of the capital from Ptolemais to Apollonia-Sozousa.

يتناول هذا المقال البيانات الأثرية والتاريخية المتوفرة عن مدينة أبولونيا سوزا الأثرية القديمة، بالتركيز على تاريخ ترفيعها إلى عاصمة ليبيا العظمى . وعلى العكس من الدراسات الحديثة التي شددت على الدليل الجوهري على شكل توليفة من الغزو البربي والنقص في البنية التحتية العسكرية الرومانية، فإن هذا المقال يسعى إلى إعادة إدماج الصراع المحلي في القيروان القديمة مع الأحداث التاريخية الرئيسية في القرن الخامس الميلادي . يقال أن المحاولة الفاشلة لغزو الجرمانيين لإفريقيا في عام 468 ميلادي والانسحاب اللاحق للقوات الرومانية من طرابلس عام 470 ميلادي مرجح أكثر كخلفية سياسية لتأريخ تغيير موقع العاصمة من القيروان لأبولونيا سوزا.

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1

The research for this article was done during a doctoral fellowship at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies. My thanks go to Christoph Rummel for sharing his thoughts on a previous version of this article as well as improving my English. I am also indebted to the anonymous reviewers of Libyan Studies for their helpful suggestions. Any remaining errors are mine.

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Apollonia-Sozousa in late antiquity: some remarks on the caput provinciae of Libya Superior 1

  • Christian Barthel (a1)

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