Decline and Change in Late Antiquity: Religion, Barbarians and their Historiography, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Decline and Change in Late Antiquity

Religion, Barbarians and their Historiography, 1st Edition

By J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz


368 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789901
pub: 2006-06-28
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The essays in this second collection of articles by Professor Liebeschuetz deal with several aspects of the history of Late Antiquity. One theme is the prehistory of Late Antique ethical monotheism, which is illustrated by studies of pagan cults, Mithraism and Judaism. Several essays discuss the nature of the people who took over large areas of the Western Roman Empire, especially the Visigoths and the Vandals. The author insists that the continuing 'ethnogenesis' of these groups was made possible by customs and traditions, some of them going back before the entry of these peoples into the Empire. It is argued that the fact that formal possession of Roman citizenship became unimportant, helped the barbarian settlers to expand their groups and to consolidate their ethnic solidarity. Other papers deal with the historiography of Late Antiquity, and, more generally, with the writings of historians from Thucydides to A.H.M. Jones and Peter Brown. The anxiety of today's historians to reject the concept of decline is linked to current political concerns, especially to the ideology of multiculturalism. A recurring theme is the relationship between the historian's own background and his or her writing.


’Taken as a whole, this collection of Liebeschuetz' more recent work gives his articles a better accessibility and the prominence that they deserve, both for research and for teaching purposes.’ Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Historiography: Classical-Late Antique: Thucydides and the Sicilian expedition; Ecclesiastical historians on their own times; Pagan historiography and the decline of the Empire; Realism and phantasy: the anonymous de rebus bellicis and its afterlife; Malalas on Antioch. Religion: Religion A.D. 68-196; The influence of Judaism among non-Jews in the imperial period; The expansion of Mithraism among the religious cults of the second century; The significance of the speech of Praetextatus. Barbarian Settlement: The end of the Roman army in the western empire; The Romans demilitarised: the evidence of Procopius; Citizen status and law in the Roman Empire and the Visigothic kingdom; Cities, taxes and the accommodation of the barbarians: the theories of Durliat and Goffart; Gens into Regnum: the Vandals. Late Antiquity: The birth of Late Antiquity; A.H.M. Jones and the Later Roman Empire; Late Antiquity, the rejection of 'decline', and multiculturalism. Index.

About the Author

J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz is Emeritus Professor of Classics at the University of Nottingham, UK.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General