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Overview of Late Antiquity


Steven Muhlberger

The Overview of Late Antiquity is a short introduction to some of the main features of this long and complex period. It can't claim to be authoritative; it is is simply one scholar's view of what's most interesting and most important. For other views, see the other articles and the bibliographies in the Late Antiquity section of ORB.

Like other Web publications, this one is in a state of flux. I am always willing to correct errors of fact, and debate matters of style and interpretation. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know.

Chapter 1: The Classical Prologue

  1. The Inland Sea
  2. The Mediterranean -- Climate, Crops and Cities
  3. Climate and Economy outside the Mediterranean Basin
  4. Politics and North-South Trade in Antiquity
  5. Ideology, Identity and Empire -- The Greeks
  6. Ideology, Identity and Empire -- The Romans
  7. The Decline of the Roman System -- A.D. 100-300
  8. Religion and the Roman Empire -- Judaism
  9. Religion and the Roman Empire -- Christianity

Chapter 2: The Fourth Century

  1. The Urge for Unification
  2. Building a New Roman Empire
  3. Constantine
  4. The Foundation of an Imperial Church
  5. A New Christian Culture of Monks and Martyrs

Chapter 3: The Fifth Century

  1. The Fifth-Century Transformation
  2. Weak Emperors and Warlords
  3. The Effects of Barbarian Success
  4. Crisis and Recovery in the Eastern Empire
  5. Growth and Division in Christendom
  6. The Impact of the Fifth-century Crisis

Chapter 4: The Sixth Century

  1. Ancient Society on the Verge of Dissolution
  2. Government and Society in the Old Roman World, A.D. 500-530
  3. Justinian -- The Character of His Regime
  4. Justinian -- Wars and Church Councils
  5. The Extinction of an Urban Culture
  6. A Framework of Monasteries

Chapter 5: The Seventh Century

  1. The Old Pattern Broken
  2. The Wars of Heraclius
  3. The Arabs -- A Covenant With God Leads to Empire
  4. The Impact of the Arabs

Respond to the author (who will be glad to hear from you).

Return to the Late Antiquity in the Mediterranean main page.

Copyright (C) 1996, Steven Muhlberger. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

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The contents of ORB are copyright 1995-1999 Laura V. Blanchard and Carolyn Schriber except as otherwise indicated herein.
Last updated December 9, 1999.