This is part of the Jerome lecture series. The series starts with an overview of Africa and its varied populations in the pre-Roman period, contrasting the ancient historical and geographical sources with newly emerging archaeological evidence. The rest of the series looks at the relationship of three broad cultural communities with the Roman state: the army, the rural populations and townspeople. The second lecture focuses on the military community reconsidering the development of the Roman frontier, the role of the army in Africa and the cultural self-definition of the garrison settlements and how and why these differed from indigenous settlements in the frontier zone. The third lecture explores the diverse histories, economic trajectories and cultural characteristics of rural communities, asking to what extent these can be attributed to pre-Roman regional diversity or to active agency in response to Rome’s massive impact on land-use and landholding. The final lecture examines different types of urban biography in Africa and the possible explanations for the diversity detected.