Violence in Late Antiquity : Perceptions and Practices book cover
1st Edition

Violence in Late Antiquity
Perceptions and Practices

Edited By

H.A. Drake

ISBN 9780367887896
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
424 Pages

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Book Description

'Violence' is virtually synonymous in the popular imagination with the period of the Later Roman Empire-a time when waves of barbarian invaders combined with urban mobs and religious zealots to bring an end to centuries of peace and serenity. All of these images come together in the Visigothic sack of the city of Rome in A.D. 410, a date commonly used for the fall of the entire empire. But was this period in fact as violent as it has been portrayed? A new generation of scholars in the field of Late Antiquity has called into question the standard narrative, pointing to evidence of cultural continuity and peaceful interaction between "barbarians" and Romans, Christians and pagans. To assess the state of this question, the fifth biennial 'Shifting Frontiers' conference was devoted to the theme of 'Violence in Late Antiquity'. Conferees addressed aspects of this question from standpoints as diverse as archaeology and rhetoric, anthropology and economics. A selection of the papers then delivered have been prepared for the present volume, along with others commissioned for the purpose and a concluding essay by Martin Zimmerman, reflecting on the theme of the book. The four sections on Defining Violence, 'Legitimate' Violence, Violence and Rhetoric, and Religious Violence are each introduced by a theme essay from a leading scholar in the field. While offering no definitive answer to the question of violence in Late Antiquity, the papers in this volume aim to stimulate a fresh look at this age-old problem.

Table of Contents

Contents: List of figures; List of tables; List of contributors; List of abbreviations; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Gauging violence in late antiquity, H.A. Drake. Part I Assessing Violence in Late Antiquity: Perceptions of barbarian violence, Walter Pohl; Violent behavior and the construction of barbarian identity in late antiquity, Ralph Mathisen; Violence in the barbarian successor kingdoms, Wolf Liebeschuetz; Justifiably outraged or simply outrageous? The Isaurian incident of Ammianus Marcellinus 14.2, Linda Honey; The inn as a place of violence and danger in rabbinic literature, Tziona Grossmark; A question of faith? Persecution and political centralization in the Sasanian empire of Yazdgard II (438-457 CE), Scott McDonough. Part II Legitimate Violence: Violence, victims and the legal tradition in late antiquity, Jill Harries; Violence in the process of arrest and imprisonment in late antique Egypt, Sofia Torallas Tovar; Coercion, resistance and 'the command economy' in late Roman Aperlae, Bill Leadbetter; Making late Roman taxpayers pay: imperial government strategies and practice, Hartmut Ziche; Desires of the hangman: Augustine on legitimized violence, Gillian Clark; Violence, purification and mercy in the late antique afterlife, Isabel Moreira; Exiled bishops in the Christian empire: victims of imperial violence?, Eric Fournier; Reasoned violence and shifty frontiers: shared victory in the late Roman East, Thomas Sizgorich. Part III Violence and Rhetoric: Bad boys: circumcellions and fictive violence, Brent D. Shaw; Teaching violence in the schools of rhetoric, Janet Davis; Doing violence to the image of an empress: the destruction of Eudoxias reputation, Wendy Mayer; The Thessalonian affair in the fifth-century histories, Daniel Washburn; 'Kill all the dogs!' or 'Apollonius says!': two stories against punitive violence, Jacqueline Long; Epiphanius of Cyprus and the geography of heresy, Young Kim; Cyclic violence and the poetics of negotiation in pre-Isl

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Harold A. Drake is Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.


’Although the volume can best be appreciated by scholars of late antiquity, the essays are nevertheless accessible to non-specialists. As a matter of fact, for the latter group, the wide range of topics in the volume will likely give as good an introduction to late antiquity as an introductory text... This volume is recommended for university and seminary libraries.’ Church History ’No-one will be flinging this book across the room in frustration at its pretentious jargon or at the inability of the various contributors to get to their point. Furthermore, unlike many similar collections, the papers collected here come together very well to form a coherent volume on a well-defined topic... No-one will fail to benefit from this collection, and several of the papers will undoubtedly form the best and easiest reference points for the topics which they discuss for many years to come.’ Classics Ireland 'This collection of papers is a valuable addition, not just to the history of violence but to the field of late antiquity in general.' Prudentia