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The Donatist ChurchA Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa$
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W. H. C. Frend

Print publication date: 1985

Print ISBN-13: 9780198264088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264088.001.0001

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Carthage and Numidia

Carthage and Numidia

(p.25) II Carthage and Numidia
The Donatist Church

W. H. C. Frend

Oxford University Press

From the outset, there were two entirely different types of country in Roman North Africa. On the one hand, there was Carthage, the coast and the river valleys. These were fertile, well watered, able to sustain a large urban population supported by mixed farming-wheat, vines, and stock-raising. There were the elements of a prosperous civilization accessible to influence from the other side of the Mediterranean. On the other hand, the High Plains, which included southern Numidia, Mauretania Sitifensis, and part of Byzacenia, could never support urban communities except immediately north of the Aures mountains. Lack of rainfall and sweet water imposed a lower standard of life on their inhabitants. Careful irrigation and the security of the Roman limes enabled settled farming communities to develop, with barley and olive cultivation as the basis of their livelihood. These divergent views of North Africa are a reflection of its geography.

Keywords:   Donatism, Roman Africa, Roman civilization, irrigation, geography

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