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A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-700

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-07-05
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Supplemental Materials

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A sweeping historical account of the Later Roman Empire incorporating the latest scholarly research

In the newly revised 3rd edition of A History of the Later Roman Empire, 284-700, distinguished historians Geoffrey Greatrex and Stephen Mitchell deliver a thoroughly up-to-date discussion of the Later Roman Empire. It includes tables of information, numerous illustrations, maps, and chronological overviews. As the only single volume covering Late Antiquity and the early Islamic period, the book is designed as a comprehensive historical handbook covering the entire span between the Roman Empire to the Islamic conquests.

The third edition is a significant expansion of the second edition—published in 2015—and includes two new chapters covering the seventh century. The rest of the work has been updated and revised, providing readers with a sweeping historical survey of the struggles, triumphs, and disasters of the Roman Empire, from the accession of the emperor Diocletian in AD 284 to the closing years of the seventh century. It also offers:

  • A thorough description of the massive political and military transformations in Rome’s western and eastern empires
  • Comprehensive explorations of the latest research on the Later Roman Empire
  • Practical discussions of the tumultuous period ushered in by the Arab conquests
  • Extensive updates, revisions, and corrections of the second edition

Perfect for undergraduate and postgraduate students of ancient, medieval, early European, and Near Eastern history, A History of the Later Roman Empire, 284-700 will also benefit lay readers with an interest in the relevant historical period and students taking a survey course involving the late Roman Empire.

Author Biography

Stephen Mitchell is emeritus professor of the University of Exeter and a Fellow of the British Academy. His most recent book covers the history of Christianity in Asia Minor.

Geoffrey Greatrex is professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada. His recent research includes a major commentary on the historian Procopius and numerous studies of the reign of Justinian.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrationsxi

List of Mapsxiii

List of Diagramsxiv

List of Abbreviationsxv

Preface to the First Editionxviii

Preface to the Second Editionxx

Preface to the Third Editionxxii

1 An Introduction to Late Roman History 1

The Later Roman Empire, Late Antiquity, and the Contemporary World 4

The Third Century 11

Change and Development 13

2 The Nature of the Evidence 18

The Problem of Christian Sources 19

Hagiography 20

Chronicles 21

Eastern Sources 22

Panegyrics 23

The Secular Historians 26

The Church Historians 37

The Legal and Administrative Sources 39

Letter Collections 43

Inscriptions and Papyri 43

The Material World 45

3 The Roman Empire from Diocletian to Alaric 57

Prelude 57

A Military Monarchy 284–395: Overview 61

The Age of Diocletian and Constantine 64

The Emergence of Constantine 70

The Successors of Constantine 78

Julian 81

Valentinian and Valens 86

A Changing World 88

Theodosius I 91

Stilicho and Alaric 95

The Goths in Constantinople 100

4 The Roman Empire of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries 108

Preface 109

The Reign of Theodosius II 111

The Western Empire and the Barbarians, 411–55 116

Marcian and Leo 120

The Fall of the Western Empire 122

Zeno and Odoacar 124

Anastasius 126

The War with Persia 129

Justin 130

Justinian: The Years of Ambition 131

War on the Eastern Front 137

The Nika Riot 139

The Reconquest of the West: Africa 145

The Invasion of Italy 147

5 The Roman State 160

The Anatomy of the Empire 160

Propaganda and Ideology 161

Military Security 170

Taxes and the Army 174

Ruling the Empire 178

Social and Cultural Transformations 185

6 The Barbarian Kingdoms 198

The Origins of the Germanic Kingdoms of the West 198

The Huns 204

The Germanic Kingdoms of Western Europe in the Fifth Century 209

The Visigoths 210

The Burgundians 214

The Franks 216

Ostrogothic Italy 220

7 From Pagan to Christian 232

Approaching Religious Transformations in Late Antiquity 232

Religious Pluralism in Late Antiquity 236

Christian Diversity 240

Christianity and the State: Outlawry and Tolerance 245

8 Conversion to Christianity and the Politics of Religious Identity 265

Three Conversions and Their Consequences 265

Constantine 266

Julian 273

Augustine 277

Politics and Christianity 280

Monks and Holy Men 285

Religious Identities 287

The “Arian” Dispute 292

The Council of Chalcedon and the Emergence of Miaphysitism 299

9 The Political Economy of the Later Roman Empire 313

The Economic Structure of the Later Empire 313

The Monetary System and Taxation 317

Rome 319

Constantinople 324

Alexandria 330

Carthage 333

Antioch 334

10 Society and Economy in the Mediterranean and the Near East 343

The Eastern Empire 344

The Near East 344

Asia Minor 350

The Eastern Frontier Zones 356

Egypt 360

The Western Empire 365

Africa 365

Gaul 369

Italy 376

The Danube Region and the Balkans 378

Conclusions 382

11 The Challenges of the Later Sixth Century 392

The Bubonic Plague and Other Natural Catastrophes 393

Setbacks and Recovery in the Mid-Sixth Century 399

The Challenge of the Sasanians 408

The Renewal of Hostilities Between Rome and Persia 411

12 The Last Great War of Antiquity 426

The Northern Barbarians in the Sixth Century: Avars, Slavs, and Lombards 427

The Fall of Maurice 431

The Final Showdown with Persia 433

Religious Transformations 439

13 Arabia, Islam, and the Eclipse of the Old Order 446

The Arabian Peninsula in Late Antiquity 447

Apocalyptic Expectations 452

The Coming of Islam 454

Muhammad’s Teaching and Followers 456

The First Arab Conquests 458

The Fall of an Empire 461

Why Did the Arabs Prevail? 462

14 The Survival of the Eastern Empire 470

The Roman Reaction 471

The Year of Four Emperors 471

Politics and Theology 473

The Reign of Constans II: Stabilizing the Empire (641–55) 474

Changes in the Roman Army 477

The New Masters and the Conquered Lands 478

The Roman Empire on the Defensive 482

Withdrawal to the West 482

The Stabilization of the Eastern Frontier 484

Conclusion: The Dawn of a New Age? 489

The Evolution of the Roman State 491

15 The Fall of the Roman Empire 499

One or Two Empires? 500

Taxation and Diminishing State Revenue 503

The Loss of Military Capacity 507

Environmental Change in Late Antiquity 511

Demographic Regression and Plague in Late Antiquity 513

The Afterlife of Ancient Rome 525

Bibliography 532

Chronological List of Emperors and Other Rulers 557

Index 559


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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