Late Antiquity (ca. 250-650) witnessed the transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. Christianity displaced polytheism over a wide area, offering new definitions of identity and community. The Roman Empire collapsed in Western Europe to be replaced by new "Germanic" kingdoms. In the East, Byzantium emerged, while the Persian Empire reached its apogee and collapsed. Arab armies carrying the banner of Islam reshaped the political map and brought the late antique era to a close.
This sourcebook illustrates the dramatic political, social and religious transformations of Late Antiquity through the words of the men and women who experienced them. Drawing from Greek, Latin, Syriac, Hebrew, Coptic, Persian, Arabic and Armenian sources, the carefully chosen passages illuminate the lives of emperors, abbesses, aristocrats, slaves, children, barbarian chieftains, and saints. The Roman Empire is kept at the centre of the discussion, with chapters devoted to its government, cities, army, law, medicine, domestic life, philosophy, Christianity, polytheism, and Jews. Further chapters deal with the peoples who surrounded the Roman state: Persians, Huns, northern "Germanic" barbarians, and the followers of Islam.
This revised and updated second edition provides an expanded view of Late Antiquity with a new chapter on domestic life, as well extra material throughout, including passages that appear for the first time in English translation. Readings in Late Antiquity is the only sourcebook that covers such a wide range of topics over the full breadth of the late antique period.
Table of Contents
1. The Romans Empire 2. The Roman Army 3. Christianity 4. Polytheism 5. Jews 6. Domestic Life 7. Women 8. Law 9. Medicine 10. Philosophy 11. Persia 12. Germanic Invaders and Successor States 13. Steppe People Slavs 14. Islam
New material in this edition includes:
1.2.1 The emperor comes to town Ammianus Marcellinus, History 16.10.5-10; Ammianus Marcellinus, 22.2.3-5 1.2.9 The image of the emperor Theophilus, A Homily on the Virgin 1.3.11 A picture of the Roman Empire Eumenius, For the Restoration of the Schools .20 1.3.12 The condition and use of Roman roads Theodosian Code 15.3.4 1.3.13 Roman roads after Rome Cassiodorus, Variae XII.18 Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks VI.11 1.4.3 The colossal wealth of aristocrats Olympiodorus of Thebes, Fragment 41.2 1.4.4 What to do with wealth? Anonymous, On Riches, 6.3, 20.1-2 1.4.5 Poverty Libanius, Oration, 7.1-3 1.4.9 The great estates and the rise of patrons Theodosian Code 11.24.2 Code of Justinian II.54.1 1.4.10 Exploitation of peasant farmers in Syria and Egypt John Chrysostom, Homily in Matthew LXI.3 1.4.11 Dependence upon a landlord on an Egyptian estate Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1.130, lines 1-10 1.4.15 Landlocked peasants Synesius, Epistles, 148 2.3.8 Christian condemnation of games and public entertainments John Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew 37.6 2.3.11 Taking a bath Inscription of the Empress Eudocia Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus 3.9 2.7.6 Christian Theory of Empire Paul the Silentiary, Description of Hagia Sophia 4.4.5 A bishop demands respect, even from an empress Philostorgius, Suda, A 254, Leontius 4.8.2 Extreme asceticism Canons of the Council of Gangra, 343 4.11.2 Pope Gregory explains the Bible Pope Gregory I, Moralia 20.1.1 4.11.3 Teaching the Bible through paintings in church Paulinus of Nola, Carmina XXVII, 512-595 5.2.2 Divination Sortes Sangallenses 6, 14, 54, 57–60, 88, 106–7 5.2.11 Manichaeism Prayer of the Emanations CHAPTER 8 Domestic Life 9.3 Torture Augustine, City of God Against the Pagans, 19.6 12.1.7 Julian’s fatal invasion of Mesopotamia Ammianus Marcellinus, 24.7.1 and 3-6 12.1.10 An Armenian obituary of Khusro Khusro’s obituary 13.1.12 Theoderic’s New World Order Cassiodorus, Variae III.3 Cassiodorus, Variae III.4 13.1.20 Venantius Fortunatus Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus 13.2.1 The origin of the Goths Jordanes, The Gothic History, 4.25-29 13.2.2 Maintaining tribal identity Procopius, Wars, VII.ii.1-3 13.2.3 A view of the Franks from Constantinople Agathias, Histories, I.2.1; 1.2.3-4 13.2.4 What gives different peoples their distinguishing characteristics? Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 9.2.105 14.2.7 After Attila’s death Jordanes, Getica L, 261 = Priscus fr. 25 15.3.15 A Christian’s explanation of Islam before the capture of Jerusalem Sophronius of Jerusalem, Sermon on the Epiphany
'Readings in Late Antiquity (a sizeable re-edition of an already substantial volume) is a veritable mine of bite-size and more chunky passages and extracts from a wide range of sources' – Dr Neil Christie, Journal of Medieval Archaeology