2 thoughts on “My mother Margaret taught me to think out of the box: part 2”

  1. Lovely reminiscences. Thank you, Francis, for taking us back to those memories.

    The passage on Tunis reminds me of an expedition I participated in as an 18-year-old in 1961, which was dedicated to mapping the extent of Roman olive farms in Southern Tunisia 2000 years previously.

    We focused on a 10-mile radius round the desert town of Sbeitla (the Roman Sufetula), which itself has Roman ruins far more magnificent than anything to be found in the UK or Europe north of France. Within those 75 square miles of (now) scrubby desert we identified 50 separate farms, each with their own millstone press still lying in the sand. That this stretch of desert should have sustained such a fertile agricultural collective (of a colonial power) only two millennia ago is striking testimony to the extent of climate change up to 60 years ago. The future of the land under today’s pressures must be even more bleak.

    1. Thank you and might I add Jeremy I think there are 8000 unexcavated Roman sites in Tunisia, maybe the figure is higher. And I would argue that calling Rome a colonial power does not fit the relations between Italy and Ifriquia: if you look at the prototype handsome male of the 2nd century AD in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, you realise he is a North African Berber and no longer a Greek, testimony to the influence of the increasing numbers of the Roman upper classes who hailed from Libya, Tunisia and Eastern Algeria.

      I am glad you enjoyed the portrait – my mother had a “good war” as an old friend of mine told me after her passing.

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