The Roman Empire has fascinated me, and influenced my view of the world, since childhood days. Two thousand years of history that were marked in one way or another by a state that called itself Rome. What fascinated me most was the shifting definition of what it meant to be Roman. As Rome spread, the idea of Rome also changed. For all of its flaws, Rome was a society that transcended barriers of ethnicity and culture, with a multi-ethnic population and political elite. The province of Africa, from which the continent derives its name, overlapped quite neatly with today’s Tunisia. It wasn’t some colonial backwater, but a cultural, political and economic center of the Roman Empire.