Social Conflict in the Age of Justinian: Its Nature, Management, and Mediation

Social Conflict in the Age of Justinian: Its Nature, Management, and Mediation


By (author) Peter N. Bell


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 164mm x 236mm x 28mm | 840g
  • Publication date: 19 May 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199567336
  • ISBN 13: 9780199567331
  • Illustrations note: 36 in-text illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,557,534

Product description

Our understanding of Late Antiquity can be transformed by the non-dogmatic application of social theory to more traditional evidence when studying major social conflicts in the Eastern Roman Empire, not least under the Emperor Justinian (527-565). Social Conflict in the Age of Justinian explores a range of often violent conflicts across the whole empire - on the land, in religion, and in sport - during this pivotal period in European history. Drawing on both sociology and social psychology, and on his experience as a senior British Civil Servant dealing with violent political conflicts in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, Bell shows that such conflicts were a basic feature of the overwhelmingly agricultural political economy of the empire. These conflicts were reflected at the ideological level and lead to intense persecution of intellectuals and Pagans as an ever more robust Christian ideological hegemony was established. In challenging the loyalties of all social classes, they also increased the vulnerability of an emperor and his allies. The need to legitimise the emperor, through an increasingly sacralised monarchy, and to build a loyal constituency, consequently remained a top priority for Justinian, even if his repeated efforts to unite the churches failed.

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Author information

Peter Bell read Classics, Ancient History and Philosophy at Oxford. After serving in Ghana with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), he jointed H.M.Diplomatic Service, where he worked on Near Eastern matters. Later he transferred to the Home Civil Service, where his main concerns were helping defeat terrorism and achieve a lasting political settlement in Northern Ireland. In 2000, he returned to Oxford where he obtained his doctorate and is now based in Wolfson College.

Review quote

Peter Bell's monograph applies structures derived from sociology, specifically those focusing on conflict theory and resolution, to the Eastern Roman Empire in the sixth century ... [it] offers a refreshingly novel interpretative framework with which to approach late antique issues. Douglas Whalin, Reviews in History cogent and rewarding. Charles F. Pazdernik, Classical Journal

Table of contents

PREFACE ; LIST OF MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS ; ABBREVIATIONS ; PART 1: APPROACH, METHODS, SOURCES ; 1. Understanding Social Conflict ; 2. The Analytical Framework ; PART 2: THREE CASE STUDIES ; 3. Social Conflict in Countryside and Town ; 4. Two Empire-wide Conflicts: the Circus Factions and the Christians ; PART 3: IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICTS - THEIR MANAGEMENT AND MEDIATION ; 5. Ideological Conflict in the Reign of Justinian I ; 6. Constructing Legitimacy ; 7. Hagia Sophia: Ideology in Stone a Case Study ; PART 4: CONCLUSIONS ; 8. Conclusions ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX