Decline and Change in Late Antiquity: Religion, Barbarians and their Historiography

1st Edition

J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz

Published June 28, 2006
Reference - 368 Pages
ISBN 9780860789901 - CAT# Y235058
Series: Variorum Collected Studies


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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.

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