Dr Andy Merrills

Associate Professor of Ancient History

School/Department: Archaeology and Ancient History, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2613



I studied Modern History as an Undergraduate at The Queen’s College Oxford before taking an MPhil and PhD in Medieval History at Trinity College Cambridge. After two Research Studentships at Cambridge and a Solmsen Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I came to Leicester in the Summer of 2005.

I have worked on various archaeological projects in Britain France and Spain but my research time is now spent in libraries rather than the field. This has included visiting library fellowships at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Sydney.

Outside the library or the lecture theatre my life revolves around reading (voraciously) hiking (slowly) and cooking (badly). 


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 (c.300-c.700 CE) especially across North Africa. I have published extensively on the history and archaeology of North Africa in this period especially on the Vandal kingdom the Byzantine period which followed and the Berber societies of the same period. I am currently writing a book on Corippus’ Iohannis - a peculiar (and very bloody) epic poem on a forgotten Byzantine campaign against the Berbers in 546-548 CE.

I have also worked widely on different modes of geographical representation in the ancient and medieval world. I am particularly interested in the relationship between geographical description and historical narrative and in the different ways in which space was conceptualized and understood in the absence of maps (at least which have survived to us).



Roman Geographies of the Nile. From the Late Republic to the Early Empire. (Cambridge University Press, 2017.) Pbk reprint 2021. 

The Vandals. Blackwell Peoples of Europe. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). (with Richard Miles). Pbk reprint 2012.

History and Geography in Late Antiquity. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought 64. (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Pbk reprint 2008.

(ed.) Vandals, Romans and Berbers: New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa. (Ashgate, 2004). Routledge reprint 2014.

'The Men who would be King: Moorish Political Hierarchies and Imperial Policy in Byzantine Africa', Al-Masaq, 33.1: 14-29.

'Corippus' Triumphal Ethnography: Another look at Iohannis II.2.28-161', Libyan Studies, 50 (2019), 153-163.

'Invisible Men: Mobility and Political Change on the Frontier of Late Roman Africa', Early Medieval Europe, 26.3 (2018), 355-390.

'The Moorish Kingdoms and the Written Word: Three 'Textual Communities' in Fifth- and Sixth-Century Mauretania', in Elina Screen and Charles West (eds), Writing the Early Medieval West. Studies in Honour of Rosamond McKitterick (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 185-202.

'Kingdoms of North Africa', in Michael Maas (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 264-81.

'Isidore's Etymologies: On Words and Things', in Jason Koenig and Greg Woolf (edd.), Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 2013), 301-24.



"I would welcome inquiries from prospective students on topics relating to:

Late Roman and post-Roman History

Ancient Geography and Mapping

North Africa in Late Antiquity 


I teach on all aspects of Roman history in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History on Campus and by Distance Learning.

Press and media

Roman History especially the history of Roman North Africa; the 'Fall' of the Roman Empire; the Vandals and other barbarian tribes; Ancient geography and mapping


I am Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

I am senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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