Dr Andy Merrills

AHMAssociate Professor of Ancient History

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2613

Email: ahm11@le.ac.uk




Personal details

    MA (Oxford), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge), FRHistS, FHEA

I am a historian of the ancient and early medieval world. I am particularly interested in the political and social changes that marked the 'Fall' of the Roman Empire in the west, in the period from c.300-c.700 CE, especially across North Africa. I have also worked extensively on the intellectual history of this period and have published extensively on ancient and early medieval geographical understanding and compilations of knowledge.

I have been a member of staff in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History since 2005. I previously held Research Fellowships at the University of Cambridge and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have also been a Margo Tytus Fellow at the University of Cincinnati, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.


My teaching primarily focuses on Roman and Late Antique History, both on campus and by distance learning.

I teach a range of modules at UG and MA level.


Roman Geographies of the Nile: From the Late Republic to the Early Empire. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

The Vandals (Oxford and Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). co-authored with Richard Miles.

History and Geography in Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

(ed.) Vandals, Romans and Berbers: New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa (London: Ashgate, 2004)

More publications


The history and culture of late Antiquity (c. 250-700 AD) forms my principal area of ongoing research. I am particularly interested in

  • the historical and geographical writing of this period
  • changing political and social structures, and how these can be understood
  • the evolution of modern scholarship on the late Roman and early medieval world

While these interests have encompassed a fairly wide geographical span, much of my most recent work has focused on late antique North Africa, (what is now Tunisia and Northern Algeria), and the importance of this region within the wider world. My book The Vandals (Wiley-Blackwell) (co-written with Richard Miles of the University of Sydney) explores the origins, history and later understanding of this ‘barbarian’ group who dominated Carthage and the Western Mediterranean for much of the fifth and early sixth centuries. I also edited a volume entitled Vandals, Romans and Berbers: New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa (Ashgate) which explores the wider world of North Africa in this important period. I am currently researching the development of the 'Moorish' or Berber successor states which rose to influence in what is now Morocco, northern Algeria and Tunisia between the fourth and seventh centuries CE. I have published a number of articles on these groups, and they are the topic of my current book project.


I am also interested in the history of ancient geographical thought. My first book History and Geography in Late Antiquity (CUP) explored the interdependence of geographical description and historical narrative in Latin historiography. My most recent publication Roman Geographies of the Nile (CUP) examines representations of that river in Roman prose, poetry, visual and triumphal art and travel literature in the last century of the Roman Republic and the first decades of the Empire (roughly 80 BCE - 80 CE). The study examines the contradictions and interdependences of these different forms of representation, and seeks to highlight the complexities of Roman responses to the physical world.


Topics available for PhD supervision

I welcome enquires from prospective graduate students interested in working on late Antique North Africa, the successor kingdoms of the west or classical geographical writing.

I am happy to supervise undergraduate/Masters level dissertations on any aspect of Roman, late Antique or early medieval history or on the representation of the ancient world in film and other media.

Current and recent students

  • Amy Place, thesis topic: Dress and Identity in the Roman and Late Antique World: the Case of North Africa (c. AD 200-700)
  • Michael Wuq, (University of Nottingham), thesis topic: The Language of Loyalty: Oaths and their role in Late Antiquity

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