The Roman West, AD 200-500: An Archaeological StudyHardback
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- Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Format: Hardback | 547 pages
- Dimensions: 182mm x 248mm x 34mm | 1,220g
- Publication date: 15 April 2013
- Publication City/Country: Cambridge
- ISBN 10: 0521196493
- ISBN 13: 9780521196499
- Edition statement: New.
- Illustrations note: 95 b/w illus.
- Sales rank: 1,058,177
This book describes and analyses the development of the Roman West from Gibraltar to the Rhine, using primarily the extensive body of published archaeological evidence rather than the textual evidence underlying most other studies. It situates this development within a longer-term process of change, proposing the later second century rather than the 'third-century crisis' as the major turning-point, although the latter had longer-term consequences owing to the rise in importance of military identities. Elsewhere, more 'traditional' forms of settlement and display were sustained, to which was added the vocabulary of Christianity. The longer-term rhythms are also central to assessing the evidence for such aspects as rural settlement and patterns of economic interaction. The collapse of Roman imperial authority emphasised trends such as militarisation and regionalisation along with economic and cultural disintegration. Indicators of 'barbarian/Germanic' presence are reassessed within such contexts and the traditional interpretations questioned and alternatives proposed.
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Simon Esmonde Cleary is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Birmingham. His particular area of interest in Roman archaeology has always been the later Roman period and the transition to the Middle Ages and he has excavated on several sites of this period in Britain and southwest France. He is the author of The Ending of Roman Britain (1989) and, with Ray Laurence and Gareth Sears, The City in the Roman West, c.250 BC-c.AD 250 (2011).
'Esmonde Cleary begins by declaring his intention to 'emancipate archaeology from the role of servant'. In this, he can consider himself successful ... [his] achievement is to put the two types of evidence on an level-footing, showing that they should be interrogated according to their own merits, rather than expected to fit into pre-determined, often incompatible, frameworks ... As such, while this book will be greatly appreciated by experienced archaeologists, it is also a good guide for non-archaeologists who want to use the discipline to strengthen their work, but who might be hampered by the changing schools of thought or misled by the generalisations of earlier works.' Steven Spiegl, Bryn Mawr Classical Review '... this is indispensible ... Upper-division undergraduates and above.' Choice '... an extremely useful combination of a large quantity of the most current data and bibliography, and a generally balanced, nuanced and cautious history.' Douglas Underwood, The Classical Review
Table of contents
Introduction; 1. Prologue: the 'third-century crisis'; 2. The military response: soldiers and civilians; 3. Christianity and the traditional religions; 4. Reshaping the cities; 5. Emperors and aristocrats in the late Roman West; 6. Rural settlement and economy in the late Roman West; 7. The economy of the late Roman West; 8. Breakdown and barbarians; 9. The fifth century and the disintegration of the Roman West; 10. Epilogue: AD 200-500, a coherent period?