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The Ecology of Roman Imperialism

Lecture Tangier Forum for Global Studies Lecture Series

Greg Woolf

Greg Woolf

Director of the Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

We often think of imperialism as a process that rolls out indiscriminately over numerous peoples and places. But for the Romans, at least, it comprised their mastery of a vast range of contrasting landscapes and ecologies. Building on process of connection that went back at least to the first explorations of Phoenician, Greek and Etruscan voyages, the Romans found ways to insert themselves into countless local economic systems, engineering exchanges between mountain and plain, island and mainland, wilderness and city. Not only did they weave a web of connections between the opposite shores of the inland sea, but those connections and differences transformed them, framing expansion, setting limits on empire and shaping what it became. This lecture explores some of these themes, thinking especially about the Roman presence in the Maghreb.


Greg Woolf is Director of the Institute of Classical Studies in the School of Advanced Study in the University of London. Before taking up this post he was Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews (1998-2014) following fellowships at Brasenose and Magdalen Colleges, Oxford and Christ’s College, Cambridge. He is an associated fellow of the Max Weber Kolleg in the University of Erfurt and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He has won awards from the Leverhulme Trust and the Humboldt Stiftung.

He has written widely on the history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world and in particular of the Roman Empire. His interests include the cultural dimensions of Roman imperialism, reflected in everything from the most humble material culture to the literary output of provincial populations. He has published on literacy, on the ancient economy, on the City of Rome and Roman France, on matters of identity and ancient ethnography, and more recently on libraries and encyclopaedias in the premodern world. Currently he is writing on ancient mobility and also working on a book on the naturalness of ancient urbanism.


Tangier Campus Auditorium
Rue Abi Chouaib Doukkali
90000 Tangier


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4435

The Tangier Forum for Global Studies Woolf poster
1:30 PM US EDT
Tangier Campus Auditorium

Tangier Campus

Free and open to the public