'Shaw draws upon a knowledge and expertise in African History, secular as well as sacred, which is hard to match among his contemporaries, and certainly unequalled among those who are writing in English. His handling of the 'revolts' of Firmus, Gildo and Heraclian is as assured and authoritative as his treatment of the Circumcellions, which is, quite simply, the best available in any language.' Peter Garnsey, Professor of the History of Classical Antiquity, University of Cambridge
This detailed study of the sectarian battles which divided African Christianity in late antiquity explores how the emerging church and the Roman imperial state interacted to repress or excite violent action. Shaw uses this historical case as a model to explain how acts of religious violence are provoked and sustained.