The World of Late Antiquity

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The World of Late Antiquity
A Waning Empire
Thesis:
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1) The Roman Empire in the West gradually
evolved into the Europe of the Germanic successor
kingdoms. Although change was rapid in the fifth
century, nowhere did a sharp break occur.
2) The “concept” of Rome was an important legacy
which would be important to later generations, and
in different periods the meaning and history of
“Rome” would reflect the particular aims of those
later generations.
Hollingsworth’s argument:
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1st & 2nd Century “Golden Age”
3rd&4th Centuries: “Anarchy & Recovery”
The Crisis of the Third Century
– leadership crisis
– military crisis
– economic crisis
– social crisis
– religious crisis.
Strong Emperors Respond
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Diocletian (284-305 AD)
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Tetrarchy and division of the empire (Roman Provinces)
“defense in depth”
Edict of Prices
Restoration of Civic Gods
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Constantine the Great (306-337 AD)
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Legitimating Ceremonial
Christianity: “Ruler by the Grace of God.”
Constantinople
The Last Century of the Western Empire
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Germanic migrations
Confusion of “public” and “private”
Loss of an Army
The Roman Heritage
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Towns
Roman education and culture
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