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 (Cambridge)
  • PhD (Cambridge)
  • FHEA

I studied Modern History as an undergraduate at The Queen’s College, Oxford, before moving to Trinity College, Cambridge to do an MPhil and a PhD in early medieval history. After a further post-doctoral year as a Rouse-Ball Student at Trinity, I became a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on the History and Theory of Description project at King’s College, Cambridge.I then spent a year as a Solmsen Research Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, before coming to Leicester as an RCUK Research Fellow in the summer of 2005. I have been a full-time lecturer in the School since September 2010. Since coming to Leicester, I have held a Margo Tytus research fellowship at the Blegen Classics Library (University of Cincinnati) and a Visiting Research Fellowship on the Ancient North Africa Project at the University of Sydney. I have undertaken some archaeological work – both excavation (in Auvergne in Central France), and survey (in the Amblès Valley in Spain) – but increasingly my summers are spent in libraries, rather than in the field.


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 students

  • Amy Wale, thesis topic: Dress and Identity in the Roman and Late Antique World: the Case of North Africa (c. AD 200-700)
  • Brittany Thomas, thesis topic: Ravenna as a Viewed City: Display, Power, and Public Space in the Late Roman to Early Byzantine Capital, c. AD 400-600. (Second supervisor)

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