The organizational arrangement of the borders on the periphery of the Roman empire played a central role in Roman defensive strategy. One of the most important organizational innovations of the Late Roman Period was the establishment of frontiers, which were usually entrusted to a military functionary bearing the title of dux limitis. The goal of this doctoral project is to investigate the organizational structures of a Late Roman ducatus in the region of Cyrenaica (present-day eastern Libya), structures which were largely shaped by military requirements.


On the basis of two legal texts that until now have been largely overlooked by researchers (De rebus libycis, a decree of Caesar Anastasios I from the year 501, and an edict of Caesar Justinian I from around 538 concerning Egypt and Cyrenaica) Christian Barthel began by investigating the communication between dux and higher (central) levels of government, the structure of ducal officium and the fields of activity occupied by regional players (dux, comes, magister militum). He was then apply the results of this study to an in-depth analysis of diverse troop categories (especially border guards and strike forces) and their strategic positioning, the relationship between the military and the civilian population (abuse of authority) and relations between the Roman military administration and the Berbers. The project was successfully completed in 2015.

This Ph.D. thesis has been written within the program “Ancient Languages and Texts” (ALT) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).