A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641

A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641 : The Transformation of the Ancient World

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This book presents a historical study of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity from the accession of the emperor Diocletian 284 to the death of the emperor Heraclius in 641.* The only modern study to cover the western and eastern empire and the entire period from 284 to 641 in a single volume* A bibliographical survey supports further study and research* Includes chronological tables, maps, and charts of important information help to orient the reader* Discusses the upheaval and change caused by the spread of Christianity and the barbarian invasions of the Huns, Goths and Franks* Contains thematic coverage of the politics, religion, economy and society of the late Roman state* Gives a full narrative of political and military events* Discusses the sources for the period
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Product details

  • Hardback | 488 pages
  • 186 x 266 x 32mm | 1,182g
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1405108576
  • 9781405108577

Back cover copy

Beginning with the accession of the emperor Diocletian, this book presents a historical survey of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, from AD 284 to 641. The historical origins of medieval and modern Europe and of the Islamic world can be traced back to this period, during which the Roman Empire underwent huge political and religious transformations.

This volume contains a substantial narrative of political and military events, highlighting major episodes such as the conversion of Constantine, the creation in the East of the pious Christian state, and the resurgence of Roman ambition under the emperor Justinian. In a group of thematic chapters, the book considers the nature of the late Roman state, the emergence and character of the western barbarian kingdoms, the epochal religious changes of late antiquity, and major aspects of economy and society. The final chapters address the decline of the empire by examining the period between the outbreak of the Great Plague of 542 and the eclipse of Roman power in the Near East in the seventh century, resulting from a final great war with the Persian Empire and the emerging power of Islam among the Arabs.

Chronological tables, maps, and charts of important information are included to help orient the reader, and a bibliographical survey supports further study and research.
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Table of contents

List of Illustrations. List of Maps. List of Diagrams. List of Abbreviations. Preface. 1 An Introduction to Late Roman History. 2 The Nature of the Evidence. 3 The Roman Empire from Diocletian to Alaric. 4 The Roman Empire of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries. 5 The Roman State. 6 The Barbarian Kingdoms. 7 From Pagan to Christian. 8 Conversion to Christianity and the Politics of Religious Identity. 9 The Political Economy of the Later Roman Empire. 10 Society and Economy in the Mediterranean and the Near East. 11 The Challenges of the Later Sixth Century. 12 The Final Reckoning of the Eastern Empire. Bibliography. Chronological List of Emperors and Other Rulers. Index
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Review quote

"The great strength of Mitchell's book is its firm grasp on the latest scholarship, including much that is not in English nor necessarily familiar. I found myself following a number of trails into his footnotes, which were both unknown to me and rewarding, and I will also have no hesitation in setting several of its chapters as a reliable introduction for students new to the subject." (English Historical Review, February 2009) "Mitchell has produced an extremely useful book... [He] strikes the right balance between narrative and analysis, generality and detail... The book is a page-turner, as well as a resource for students of all ages." (Greece & Rome, 2008) "Mitchell offers students the opportunity to gain a broader vision of the late antique world, where the hard-headed activities of emperors, bureaucrats and generals count for as much as the colourful transformations of religion and culture." (The Classical Review, 2008) "Mitchell's strong parts are the thought that he has given to the needs of the beginner, and his provision of the widest chronological overview in a single volume ... .He has an easy style, refers frequently and appositely to modern parallels, and picks up modern interests and concerns such as the power of 'spin' and 'image' and the importance of environmental factors." (Latomus Revue, September 2008) "The book is certainly worth including in any university or high school library and any student of late antiquity would benefit from reading it." (Classical Review, 2007) "Seldom can one give unreserved praise of a textbook, but Mitchell's book on the later Roman Empire deserves it ... Highly recommended." (Choice) "The volume of the on-going Blackwell History of the Ancient World is a very welcome addition to the growing collection of modern overviews of the Later Roman Empire ... It is consciously modernising in the best possible sense, drawing lessons for the interpretation of the Later Roman Empire from the rapid collapse of political structures that had seemed destined for eternity until they were suddenly gone, which we have experienced in the modern world over the last twenty years. The book can for this reason alone be thoroughly recommended." (Scholia Reviews)
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About Stephen Mitchell

Stephen Mitchell is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Exeter. He is the author of Anatolia (1993), Cremna in Pisidia (1996), Pisidian Antioch (1998) and the co-editor of Ethnicity and Culture in Late Antiquity (2000).
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Rating details

67 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 24% (16)
4 34% (23)
3 30% (20)
2 9% (6)
1 3% (2)
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