The three lectures contained in this volume were delivered by Professor I. M. Barton during the second term of the 1970- 1 academic year while holding a visiting professorship in Classics at the University College of Cape Coast. As one who heard these lectures and had the privilege of taking the Chair at the first lecture in the series, it gives me very great pleasure and satisfaction to see them in print so soon after their delivery.
Professor Barton was educated at Cambridge University, where he took a First in Classics in 1951, followed by a Diploma in Classical Archaeology. Thereafter he taught Classics at the University College of Keele and at the University College of Ghana before moving to his present post as lecturer in Classics at St. David's College, Lampeter. For many years his special interest has been the history of North Africa during classical times, and these lectures derive from the very extensive studies which he has carried out in this area.
At a time when it is becoming increasingly fashionable to dismiss Classics as a useless and old-fashioned subject with hardly any relevance for contemporary life, it is important, especially in Africa where the mere mention of the subject is anathema to certain people, for those who believe in their cultural and intellectual value to reach out to as many people as possible and acquaint them with the true nature and scope and the contemporary image of this important discipline. This, I think, is precisely what these lectures do, and I am sure that even the most prejudiced critic will concede that the aspects which they cover-the history of Roman Africa-have a direct relevance to many of the social and political problems facing practically all the new nations of Africa which have achieved sovereignty after varying periods of colonial rule under European powers. Apart from that, the lectures provide very interesting and important insights into some of the many subtle and highly technical methods employed by historians and archaeologists for the reconstruction of the past, leading one into rather intriguing speculations as to how our own age will be assessed and judged by future historians. ……………….