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    The World of Late Antiquity Ad 150-750: Ad 150-750 (Library of World Civilization)
    by Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Peter Brown
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1989)
    list price: $22.75 -- our price: $22.75
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    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction
    The world of Late Antiquity is an historical period often overlooked.The more prominent periods such as the Greek Empire, Roman Empire, Early Christendom, Rise of Islam, East/West Split, etc. take the majority of space in historical texts; often the world of Late Antiquity is an epilogue or a prologue to anothe period.

    Peter Brown, renowned for his authoritative biography on Augustine of Hippo, has produced a good introductory text to the period between the beginnings of the downfall of the Roman Empire and the beginnings of medieval times in western Europe.This period does not have strict boundaries -- there were no crucial or pivotal events defining the beginning or the end of the period, which is perhaps why it is often overlooked.

    The text is divided into two primary sections -- the Late Roman Revolution, and Divergent Legacies.In the Late Roman Revolution, Brown explores the aspects of culture and religion that change slowly but ultimately dramatically from classical Roman to Christian-medieval.As Christianity rises and the power from the centre fades, including the power of the intelligensia, the post-Roman world takes on a new character.

    In Divergent Legacies, Brown first looks at the development of the West after the fall of Rome.The barbarian invasions are recast, the assimilation of the Senate into the aristocratic and higher clerical ranks of the ruling Church shown to be a way in which the Roman hierarchy in fact survived the collapse of Rome, and the fragmentation of the empire ensured the dominance of Latin for the next many centuries.

    This was a very different character from the survival of the Late Antique world in the East.Here the walls of Byzantium were never breached, despite the fact that most of the empire was lost not once but multiple times.The final chapter in Late Antiquity in the East was the first chapter in Muslim history, with the rise of the Muslim-dominated empires, which at first had cordial and profitable relationships with the West.

    This book is part of a series, the Library of World Civilisation, edited by Geoffrey Barraclough of Brandeis University.Each volume is approximately 200 pages, richly illustrated (this particular text has 130 illustrations in these 200 pages), and accessible in writing style.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A dazzling survey
    Peter Brown, professor of History at Princeton University, takes his readers on an epic trip across space and time, exploring the dynamic and often-neglected world of the Late Antique Mediterranian. Beginning with the era of Marcus Aurelius, he chronicals the crisis of the the 3rd Century, and the new "hard emperors" who arose to effectively re-unite the near-shattered empire. He surveys the wide variations in Christianity, from the Coptic Christianity in Egypt, to the rugged and ubiquitous holy men of Syria. He describes the Christian empires under Constantine and later Justinian and comments on the administrative collapse that caused the implosion of the Western Roman Empire. He concludes his books with a brief discussion of the Muslim conquests, and the interaction between the Muslims and the conquered Christian populations of the East.
    The book is graced with ample illustrations featuring a variety of Late Antique art. While the period after 300 BC is not thought of as a time of high culture, the illustrations demonstrate that in reality Late Antique culture was as rich, varied, and sumptuous as Mediterrainian culture had even been. This book functions as an outstanding introduction to Late Antique scholarship (a field pioneered by Professor Brown), and is an excellent suppliment to those courses on Roman History that tend unsatisfyingly to end around 313 BC.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor
    This is not a good book.The time I have spent reading this book has been mostly wasted.It does not compare to say, Bury's writings. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0393958035
    Sales Rank: 141468
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - General    2. Ancient World History    3. Byzantine Empire    4. Church history    5. Empire, 30 B.C.-476 A.D    6. History    7. History - General History    8. History: American    9. Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600    10. Rome    11. World history: BCE to c 500 CE   


    $22.75

    The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey (2 Volume Set)
    by A.H.M Jones
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 June, 1986)
    list price: $65.00 -- our price: $65.00
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    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Exhaustive and Informative"
    A.H.M. Jones' exhaustive and resourceful two-volume work on the "Later Roman Empire," is a definite recommendation for anyone seeking a deeper perspective of the times, although for informal reading it is not suggested.Over three hundred years are covered elaborately in twelve-hundred pages, and also the appendix itself is roughly five-hundred pages, though much of it will not be intelligible to general readers, since much of the information in it is preserved in the original Latin.Jones' work is a fountain head of research material, broken into two parts: the first is a basic overview of the religious, political, and military conditions of the empire; and the second part, which is more bulky and detailed, is an overview of the social, economic, and administrative aspects of the empire.With this, and J.B. Bury's two-volume work on the "Later Roman Empire," one may boast of holding two of the greater achievements in scholarship on this particular area of study.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A titanic source of reference
    This mammoth work guides the reader through all aspects of the later Roman Empire showering facts and sources upon him. It is better, perhaps, as a source of reference than as bedtime reading, for its sheer size and density of fact would exhaust all but the most avid and concentrated historians of the period.

    The most useful aspect of it must be the incredibly detailed source references, which comprise the fourth volume of his work. This enables those who have not the time or energy to wade through the entire book to use it as the definitive piece of reference for the period. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0801832853
    Sales Rank: 365906
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - General    2. Byzantine Empire    3. Empire, 284-476    4. Europe - Italy    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Rome    9. To 527    10. History / Ancient / General   


    $65.00

    The Cambridge Ancient History: Volume 13, The Late Empire, AD 337-425 (The Cambridge Ancient History)
    by Averil Cameron, Peter Garnsey
    Hardcover (11 December, 1997)
    list price: $190.00 -- our price: $166.49
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    Isbn: 0521302005
    Sales Rank: 296834
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - General    2. Ancient - Rome    3. Ancient World History    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. BCE to c 500 CE    8. History / Ancient / General    9. World history: BCE to c 500 CE   


    $166.49

    History of the Later Roman Empire: From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian (Volume 1)
    by J. B. Bury
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 June, 1958)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Reviews (4)

    3-0 out of 5 stars A valuable but flawed history
    This is volume 1 of a 2 volume reprint of a work originally published in 1923. The original publication date is not mentioned on the title page, back cover, or anywhere else and may only be inferred by reading the author's preface. Dover would really do its customers a service by mentioning the 1923 publication date somewhere. The reprint itself is adequately done, though it would have benefited from some pre-press touching up as small bits of text has dropped out in a few spots.

    Overall, this is an extremely useful book for the researcher of the Late Roman/Early Byzantine empire. Bury covers all aspects of the empire during this period in adequate detail--enough to maintain a full and compelling narrative, but not too much as to drown the reader in minutiae. As with many scholars of his time, Bury was extraordinarily learned and an expansive researcher. The breadth of the sources he cites is indeed impressive, and every page is heavily footnoted. A 20 page bibliography is included at the end of Volume 2 that includes ancient historical and literary sources, inscriptions, and modern historical, literary, and artistic works up through the 1920s. This is very useful for pointing the serious researcher toward resources to provide additional detail on specific subjects of interest.

    Readers should beware, however, that this book was written during a time when it was assumed that most folks trained in the liberal arts would have a working knowledge of both Greek and Latin. This may be a source of some frustration to modern readers, as Bury retains many short passages in the original languages.

    The greatest weakness of this work is one that afflicts many scholars of the Anglo-American tradition up to the present day--a barely concealed animus toward the Roman Catholic Church in general and toward the Papacy in particular. Sadly, this bias permeates Bury's work, along with a not-quite-dispassionate attachment to Greco-Roman paganism that borders on the romantic. For Bury, it gets so thick in sections that it completely eclipses any semblance of scholarly objectivity.

    An example may suffice: In a long tangent from his main narrative, Bury presents a harsh critical analysis of "City of God", the monumental work of St. Augustine of Hippo which seems distinctly out of place. As part of his critique, he writes, "The main argument itself, although it has a definite architectural scheme, is marred by diffuseness and digressions." It seems that the irony of such a statement, contained as it is in a diffuse digression from Bury's central theme, was lost on the author. And indeed, this statement makes for an accurate criticism of the whole of Bury's work.

    It is indeed unfortunate that many of the most celebrated modern resources in English for this time period were written by protestant/agnostic/atheist scholars with an axe to grind. Few works exist to hold up the Catholic argument--at least in English. Perhaps someday, a press will see fit to translate the truly monumental Ecclesiastical Annals of the 16th century apologist and historian Cardinal Baronius into English to provide some much-needed counterpoise to the easily available histories of Gibbon and Bury.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great overview of another time
    J.B. Bury was an historian of note in the early part of the twentieth century.  Educated at Irish universities, he ended up as a professor at Cambridge.  He did much to expand the historical horizons of students and scholars in the English-speaking world, whose focus had narrowed into distinctly Western emphases.  This volume on the Late Roman Empire is one such work - not content to explore the Roman Empire as centred wholly upon Rome (or, as was often the case with British historians, a Rome-Canterbury axis), his interest in the histories further afield is evident by his concentration on `barbarian'/Germanic influences, Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantine events, and courses of history outside of those that led in a linear fashion to the modern British nation. 
     
    Quite often, histories written in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suffer from several deficiencies, the bias described above being but one of them.  Lack of reference to archaeological and documentary evidence (some of which was not available) is often the case, and a cultural influence perhaps described as `Christendom-centric' is usually evident, if not blatantly then at least in implied and undergirding assumption.  Obviously, Bury's text cannot benefit from the archaeological and methodological developments of the twentieth century, but it does stand the test of time fairly well in terms of being broader in approach, less judgemental in analysis, and fairly close in using original source material and primary documents whenever possible.
     
    One of the comments that Bury makes regarding the times of the Late Roman Empire (which he dates from the death of Theodosius I in 395 to the death of Justinian in 565) still rings true today - we often know far more about the events and details of life in Egypt of the Pharoahs thousands of years prior than we do about the events, or even the leading figures, of the time sometimes referred to as the beginning of the Dark Ages (Bury himself rarely uses this term in the text as part of his own descriptions).    His selection of Theodosius and Justinian look to periods of unification in the general trend of disintegration of traditional Roman authority.  The centre of power had already shifted during the period of Diocletian and Constantine away from the actual city of Rome; Theodosius I was emperor of both East and West prior to his death in 395, and Justinian was the last of the emperors of the East to have any hegemony or real authority in the West (the official line of Western emperors ended with Julius Nepos and Romulus Augustulus nearly a hundred years before the time of Justinian). 
     
    Some of Bury's insights into the period dispel typical notions of the pattern of history - Bury points out that most of the so-called pagan invaders were in fact neither pagan nor invaders.  The Germanic `barbarians' were less waves of invaders, as often popularly thought, but more of the nature of longer-term settlers, who over time shifting the demographics away from Roman/Mediterranean to Northern European stock.  Battles were frequently, but rarely large and long-lasting.  As for being pagans, it is true that most were not orthodox/catholic Christians, but many if not most were Arian Christians, something that the more orthodox patriarchs in Rome, Constantinople and other leading centres of Christendom found to be even more of a threat. 
     
    The first volume covers about 120 years, a period of murkiness in the historical record.  Physical monuments are few and far between.  Church records and writings were always intentionally biased in presentations, as were the meagre political discourses which have survived.  Bury points out that no contemporary histories or records of events survive - sometimes even of the emperors and leading figures in Rome and other princedoms all we have left to us are names on lists (this same holds true for the early church and lists of bishops, patriarchs and popes).  Thus, reconstruction of the history of this period is one of reconstructing fragments. 
     
    Bury's text is interesting and lively, not at all the dry and dusty tome of typical of many nineteenth century academic writers.  Bury is a good corrective and addition to Gibbons, adding detail in his balanced treatment of East and West.  Bury includes several genealogical tables, interesting in that they still retain blank spaces where people's names in the charts remain unknown to us (while some have since been filled in by more recent scholars, some remain a mystery).  There are also useful maps.  There is a helpful index and bibliography, but this is found only at the conclusion of the second volume.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "In-Depth Survey of the Later Roman Empire"
    Volume one of Bury's in-depth work handles the vicissitudes of the later Empire, beginning with the end of Theodosius the Great's reign in A.D. 395 until Theoderic's artful subjugation of Italy in A.D. 493.Detailed civil, administrative, topographical, and military analysis' underlay a significant portion at the start of this work; and they provide important information concerning the Empire's indelible shift and mutual balance of power between the two great cities, Rome and Constantinople.Bury concentrates on the barbarian tribes that eventually made claims to independent sovreignty within, and on the fringes, of Imperial territory; and also on the emperors who ignominously ceeded it to them.Bury also delves on the theological disputes, Church and State relations, and the Pagan and Christian sentiments towards the Roman world in transition and decline.While this work is exhaustive and full of valuable research material, it still remains eloquent and interesting, containing an engrossing storyline througout its duration.A comprehensive study of the Later Roman Empire will be difficult without this volume; and with volume two, Bury's work will be totally indispensable. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0486203980
    Sales Rank: 328115
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Rome    2. Byzantine Empire    3. Empire, 284-476    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. Rome    8. History / General   


    $11.53

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol 1. (Modern Library)
    by EDWARD GIBBON, GIAN BATTISTA PIRANESI, DANIEL J. BOORSTIN
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 January, 1996)
    list price: $26.95
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    Editorial Review

    British parliamentarian and soldier Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) conceived of his plan forDecline and Fall while "musing amid the ruins of the Capitol" on a visit to Rome. Forthe next 10 years he worked away at his great history, which traces the decadence of the late empire fromthe time of the Antonines and the rise of Western Christianity. "The confusion of the times, and thescarcity of authentic memorials, pose equal difficulties to the historian, who attempts to preserve a clearand unbroken thread of narration," he writes. Despite these obstacles, Decline and Fallremains a model of historical exposition, and required reading for students of European history. ... Read more

    Reviews (38)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Everyman's edition, volumes 1, 2, & 3 (boxed) of 6
    This is the best edition available of Gibbon's history.

    -It has all of Gibbon's footnotes ;
    -it is packaged in an attractive boxed set;
    -it's hard bound in good plain cloth, not snobby leather;
    -it's printed on fine paper;
    -it can be expected to last into the next century;
    -it leaves enough white margin for writing notes;
    -it has an index;
    -it even smells good.

    Caveat

    -It gives no translation of the better Latin and Greek passages;
    -Don't forget to order the other half (volumes 4, 5, and 6).

    (The only other edition worth considering is the paperback Penguin edition. It also contains the full notes, and it is cheaper, but it is bulkier since two volumes are bound as one and the paper is of much lower quality, so the that other edition won't last much more than 10 or 20 years...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Still a Classic
    Roman Empire history is fascinating because it showed the potential for human development in an efficient system.But it is perhaps more enlightening in showing how a great can degenerate into complete and utter chaos.Gibbon is a great historian and a kind of story-teller who helps the reader understand the phenomena of the rise and the fall of a great empire.A must read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wise, influential, incomparable
    Gibbon's great work was published in the late 18th century.Don't read it looking for a contemporary style "historical analysis."Read it for its timeless wisdom and beauty, for which there is no parallel. Today's college history text is to Gibbon as the latest Spice Girls album is to Mozart.

    Winston Churchill was largely self-educated, and he wrote that Gibbon loomed large in his reading during his early 20's.Read Gibbon; then read Churchill's famous war speeches.Notice the cadence, and consider why Churchill's Nobel prize was awarded for his oratory.

    Ah, Sunday morning, a pot of coffee, and Gibbon! You can obtain Gibbon's history in many different editions new and old, cheap paperbacks and pricy collectors versions.Just get one, preferably unabridged, and enjoy.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679601481
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Rome    2. Ancient Rome - History    3. Byzantine Empire    4. Empire, 30 B.C.-476 A.D    5. Gibbon, Edward, 1737-1794    6. History    7. History - General History    8. Literature: Classics    9. Rome    10. History / Ancient / Rome   


    Failure of Empire: Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century A.D.
    by Noel Emmanuel Lenski, Noel Lenski
    Hardcover (01 March, 2003)
    list price: $75.00 -- our price: $64.56
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    Isbn: 0520233328
    Sales Rank: 760302
    Subjects:  1. 321-375    2. Ancient - General    3. Byzantine Empire    4. Emperor of Rome,    5. Emperor of the East,    6. Europe - Greece    7. General    8. History    9. History - General History    10. History: World    11. Valens,    12. Valens, 364-378    13. Valentinian    14. ca. 328-378    15. Valens   


    $64.56

    Italy and Her Invaders 376-814 A.D.
    by Thomas Hodgkin
    Textbook Binding (January, 1967)
    list price: $175.00
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    Isbn: 0846208350
    Sales Rank: 1674273


    Theodosian Empresses: Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, 3)
    by Kenneth G. Holum
    Paperback (01 June, 1990)
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $25.00
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    Isbn: 0520068017
    Sales Rank: 827515
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Rome    2. Ancient Rome - History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. Women's Studies - History   


    $25.00

    The Oxford Classical Dictionary
    by Simon Hornblower, Antony Spawforth
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 April, 2003)
    list price: $125.00 -- our price: $78.75
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    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars But why the new Revised Edition
    The Second Edition of the OCD was published in 1970; the Third Edition was published in 1996. Now we have the Third Edition Revised published in 2003. So why the revision of the third edition? No one seems to be able to answer that. If there were mistakes made in the 1996 edition why is it still for sale?Don't get me wrong I have used the OCD for about 30 years and it is a great tool, but it makes one wonder why the revision? Research in the Classics is moving at such a pace to warrant a revision. So as one who has all three I feel a little cheated by the Oxford University Press.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Exhaustive Referrence Guide To Greco-Roman Studies
    The Oxford Classical Dictionary is the most reputed if not exhaustive reference guide to every conceivable subject involving antiquity. Whether one seeks information on Julius Casear or birth-control, this book has it all. Each topic is organized alphabetically and has a detailed section with bibliographical references to contemporary works as well as classical sources.

    There's simply no comparable book available other than perhaps Adkins & Adkins, A Handbook To Life In Ancient Rome and A Handbook To Life In Ancient Greece: even so, although those books are great general reference guides in their own right, they are limited in the topics they cover. In comparison, The Oxford Classical Dictionary covers Greco-Roman civilization ad nauseam; it even has brief summaries about other classical civilizations such as the Persians, Parthians, Phoenicians, Scythians, etc.

    Although I wouldn't recommend this as a first book for the casual reader, this book is indispensible for all serious scholars of classical studies. It isn't cheap but the amount of information in this text makes it worth every penny. Owning one myself and having benefitted immensely from it in my own studies, I most strongly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Magnus Opus of classical references
    If you want to get really serious about classical studies, consider buying the latest edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary. This a monster of a reference that leaves no stone in antiquity overturned. There are no pictures, no diagrams. Just 1640 pages of articles written by the very best experts from around the world. The reader will find hundreds of entries in alphabetical order. Topics are taken from the major areas of the classical world: Politics and History, Military, Economy and Society, Religion and Mythology, Geography, Science, Law and Government, Philosophy and the Arts.

    The dictionary obviously focuses on ancient Greece and Rome, but other cultures receive attention as they pertain to Greco-Roman society. There is mention of ancient Egypt and the Near East, as well as the Romanized Celtic world.

    The third and latest edition takes into account the ever-burgeoning research that has occurred in classical studies since the 1970's. The reader will now find articles covering once forbidden topics, like gender and sexuality. The editors have also attempted to correct the lack of attention paid to Near Eastern and Semitic contributions to classical history.

    The editors claim that the OCD is unrivaled in any language, and I have seen nothing to counter that claim. This well organized tome of information should impress even a graduate student with its remarkable erudition.

    The are four downsides.

    1) The book is large and heavy. This is not something you can simply curl up with under a tree on a lazy afternoon.
    2) No illustrations, photographs or anything else in the way of visual aid. This is simply a vast literary reference.
    3) A lot of terms are given in the original Greek or Latin. Those without an elementary exposure to classical languages might find this annoying.
    4) Cost. A new copy can ask for more than $100 US Dollars.


    I would consider all these points minor except the last one, and not significantly detracting from the obvious worth of such an exhaustive source of information. As for the cost, I suggest looking in the used books sections of your chosen vender. I found a copy on Amazon.com for under $25, the only defect was a black publisher's mark on some of the pages. If you can find this book in good condition for under $50, consider it a steal. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0198606419
    Sales Rank: 42644
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. Classical dictionaries    3. General    4. Reference    5. Ancient Greece    6. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    7. Prehistoric archaeology    8. Reference works   


    $78.75

    Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World (Harvard University Press Reference Library)
    by G.W. Bowersock, Oleg Grabar, G. W. Bowersock
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 November, 1999)
    list price: $49.95 -- our price: $43.40
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    Editorial Review

    Late antiquity--that period of history between 250 and 800 C.E.--was a unique and notable era, when the Roman and Sassanian empires spanned a great arc from the Atlantic coasts of Europe and Morocco across the Mediterranean, into the Balkans, and through the Middle East as far as Afghanistan. Historians have tended to dismiss this era as the decline and fall, and little more. In contrast, the editors of Late Antiquity (all esteemed professors at Princeton) make a great case for this era as the source from which our modern culture sprung. During that time, Constantinople and Baghdad came into being, and paganism took hold of people's imaginations so strongly that it's still with us today. "Much of what was created in that period still runs in our veins," they say, such as the codification of Roman law, the Jewish Talmud, the basic structure and doctrine of the Christian church, and the birth of Islam.

    There are learned essays on topics such as Islam, the Christian triumph, and sacred landscapes; habitat, war, and violence; and empire building; as well as a timely piece on barbarians and ethnicity. But these essays, fine though they are, make up but a small fraction of the volume. The lion's share belongs to the alphabetical guide, an A-to-Z encyclopedia of more than 500 entries on items such as almsgiving, angels, bathing, circus factions, contraception, eunuchs, dendrites, Huns, monks, prayer, and pornography. With erudition and clarity, these editors redefine late antiquity, and provide a remarkable source of information for students, sages, history buffs, and antiquity enthusiasts. --Stephanie Gold ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A useful historical guide
    The book 'Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World', edited by G.W. Bowerstock, Peter Brown, and Oleg Grabar, is a wonderful collection of essays and encyclopedic articles on the period on a fascinating period of transition and change in the history of the West. This is a period often overlooked and neglected, for it is a period of confusion and uneasy description; the Roman Empire has fallen, but the medieval world has yet to rise. Literature from this historical period is rare, both in terms of history and literary output; the medieval world looms large over late antiquity due to the rise of literature that is more easily accessible to those in the modern world.

    The first section of the book consists of interesting essays, as listed below:

    Remaking the Past, by Averil Cameron
    Sacred Landscapes, by Beatrice Caseau
    Philosophical Tradition and the Self, by Henry Chadwick
    Religious Communities, by Garth Fowden
    Barbarians and Ethnicity, by Patrick J. Geary
    War and Violence, by Brent D. Shaw
    Empire Building, by Christopher Kelly
    Christian Triumph and Controversy, by Richard Lim
    Islam, by Hugh Kennedy
    The Good Life, by Henry Maguire
    Habitat, by Yizhar Hirschfield

    To give but one example, in the article 'Sacred Landscapes', Caseau traces the development away from public sacred spaces such as temples to the god to a resacralisation of Christian spaces, which had originally grown up in house-church environments with communal meals short on exclusively sacred spaces, particularly in light of early Christian apologists who saw distinct paganism in the sacralisation of space.

    The remaining two-thirds of the book consists of an encyclopedia of late antiquity, including articles on places, events, people, and ideas. This is a wonderful reference, and, sitting next to my Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, a much-valued collection and much-used book.

    Sometimes called 'The Dark Ages', in fact the historical period between the classical Roman Imperial times and the Medieval period was a period of transition and disarray, but was far from the uncultured, unlettered and uninspiring period it sometimes seems.This volume will help historians and others reclaim a little more of their own past.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Part Brilliant, Part Dull
    Late Antiquity is a series of eleven essays covering an array of topics related to Europe and the Middle East from 250 to 800 C.E.Like every collection from a variety of authors, it represents a mixed bag.At its best, like Beatrice Caseau's "Sacred Landscapes," it is eye-opening and provocative. (Caseau describes for us how pagan temples became Christianized, or how Christian holy sites were transformed into Muslim sites - a question that likely would never occur to the lay reader, but once asked demands answering.)Not every article is as enticing however.For example, Henry Chadwick misses a great opportunity with "Philosophical Tradition and the Self."Rather than relate to us just how individuals in late antiquity viewed the self, Chadwick chooses to desribe debates between late antiquity writers; only professors hopelessly lost in academia could possibly care about Iamblichus' criticisms of Porphyry.

    The final half of the book is taken up with an encyclopedia, whose entries are . . . eclectic.The Emperor Maurice is absent, for example, but Ephrem (a Syrian deacon and hymnist) receives nearly two columns of treatment.Nor is there an entry for Arianism, but the Donatists get an extensive write-up.

    There is much to enjoy and learn from in Late Antiquity.The articles by Cameron, Caseau, Geary, Shaw, and Lim alone make a trip to the local library well worthwhile.Whether the book is a must for the lay reader's library is more difficult to say.

    1-0 out of 5 stars One reader's experience with the book
    This book contains very little about individuals.For example, Belisarius is not even listed in the index, let alone having an entry.Though that is not my kind of history, I bought the book anyway since late antiquity is one of my favorite periods of history.I hoped the articles would be engagingly written and make up for lack of attention to the interesting personages of the time.But all the articles I tried to read I found rather hard going.... ... Read more

    Isbn: 0674511735
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - General    2. Ancient World History    3. Classical dictionaries    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. Reference   


    $43.40

    Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court, A.D. 364-425 (Clarendon Paperbacks)
    by John Matthews
    Paperback (01 November, 1990)
    list price: $55.00 -- our price: $55.00
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    Isbn: 0198144997
    Sales Rank: 1272757
    Subjects:  1. 284-476    2. Ancient - Rome    3. Christianity - History - General    4. Church history    5. Court and courtiers    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Monarchy And Aristocracy    9. Political History    10. Politics and government    11. Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600    12. Rome    13. Ancient Rome    14. BCE to c 500 CE    15. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    16. POLITICS & GOVERNMENT   


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    Later Roman Empire, The : A.D. 354-378 (Penguin Classics)
    by AmmianusMarcellinus, AndrewWallace-Hadrill, WalterHamilton
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (05 August, 1986)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $10.85
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    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The cause of the Fall of the Roman Emoire
    Although many things have been claimed to be responsible for the fall of Rome, it was clear to me, after reading this book, that Julian's invasion of Persia precipitated the fall of Rome.

    As can be seen from this book, Rome was at its' heights before the invasion. Julian had secured the European borders, and made friends with Rome's European enemies, and he was confident enough of Rome's security, to undertake the invasion.

    Persia had learned a lesson from Alexander's invasion, and this time, they burned all the foliage for the Roman Army's horse, poisoned wells, and generally made the land impossible for a large army to live off of.

    After Julian was killed, and the Roman army retreated in disgrace, and gave up Armenia in order to get out of Persia with their lives, Rome lost the respect of their subjects and enemies, and their enemies immediately began to challenge Rome.

    It is interesting to see that history may be repeating itself as the Iraqi's are preventing the American army from living off the land by destroying pipelines, etc., and America's attack on Iraq, coupled with its' failure, has caused America to lose the trust and respect of most of the world. As many nations are forming new trade and military alliances that exclude America, and are rearming, it may be that an ill timed attack on Persia will bring down another great power.

    It is also interesting to observe that if Alexander had not attacked Asia, that Macedonia, rather than Rome, would have been the ruler of the Western world. Although Alexander conquered Persia and other lands, he diluted the power of Macedonia, and his leaders were killed or absorbed into the foreign cultures.

    This book may be the world's greatest text book, on how powerful nations fall.

    I suggest that readers should read this book carefully, and reflect on the lessons that can be learned from it, rather than get caught up in the details.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent source for Late Roman history
    "This is the history of events from the reign of the Emperor Nerva to the death of Valens, which I, a former soldier and a Greek, have composed to the best of my ability. It claims to be the truth, which I have never ventured to pervert either by silence or a lie. The rest I leave to be written by better men whose abilities are in their prime. But if they choose to undertake the task I advise them to cast what they have to say in grand style."

    Thus ends Marcellinus's history of Rome. Although we have extant only the period from Constantius II to Valens (354 - 378 AD) it is enough to establish Marcellinus as one of the great ancient historians. It chronicles a troubled time near the end of the Roman Empire in the West and the advent of a new order in Europe. Beginning with the paranoid reign of Constantius II, the arian son of Constantine the Great, Marcellinus then focuses on Julian the Apostate and his meteoric rise to the purple. A throw-back to the time of the "virtuous pagans" like Marcus Aurelius, Julian attempts to reinvigorate the moribund corpse of classical paganism, moves steadily to put Christianity on the outs, and even attempts to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. However, all his efforts come to naught in portentious ways, ending in his death while on a calamitous campaign in Persia.

    The work climaxes at the destruction of a Roman field army and death of the Emperor Valens at Adrianople by the Goths in 378. This catastrophe ranks along with Salamis, Pharsalus, Manzikert, and Lepanto in terms of being a battle that effectively changed the course of history. After the defeat, Gothic tribes roamed practically at will throughout the Empire, even sacking Rome in 410 AD and laying claim to all of Italy less than 100 years later.

    Though criticized by later historians, Marcellinus maintains a vivid style throughout the work that holds the reader's attention. This Penguin edition is abridged, giving greater weight to the reign of Julian than to Valentinian I or Valens. The translation manages to preserve well the "grand style" urged by Marcellinus. All in all, it is an excellent resource for the student of late classical history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Vivid and Memorable History that Should be Better Known
    Even the most confirmed buffs of ancient or medieval history generally take a while to get around to reading Ammianus.Part of the problem may be that his history falls into the transition period between the ancient and medieval worlds, and thus lies outside the principal sphere of interest for confirmed buffs of either period.Another problem is that of the the four Roman emperors who dominate this history - Constantius II, Julian, Valentinian I and Valens - only the second is a particularly sympathetic character.No matter.This history covers a fascinating epoch - the hinge between the ancient and medieval worlds - and it is full of both intriguing details and unforgettably vivid set pieces, many of which are derived from the author's own personal experience.

    Ammianus Marcellinus was an emblematic figure of these transitional times - a Greek army officer who wrote his history in Latin; a man of the east, born in Antioch, who spent most of his military career facing the Persians along the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, but who finished his life as a man of letters in Rome itself; and a pagan who viewed the rise of Christianity with detached objectivity.

    The quarter century covered by the surviving books of his history - the years 354 to 378 A.D. - begins with the Roman Empire in its late antique heyday.The Empire is still the greatest military power of its time, but is wasting its strength in massive civil wars.At the beginning of Ammianus's narrative, the Empire's main external enemy is still Persia, but his history covers the critical years in which the Roman frontier defenses in the west first began to show signs of cracking under the pressure of the German tribes east of the Rhine.His history recounts the final years of the competent, but superstitious and insecure, emperor Constantius II, the last surviving son of Constantine the Great; the rise in the west of Julian ("the Apostate"), who succeeds his cousin Constantius in 361 and launches two quixotic and ill-starred enterprises -- his attempt to restore paganism as the official faith of the Empire and a massive invasion of Persia that ends with his own death; and the beginning of the divided rule of the Empire under the two brothers Valentinian I and Valens.Ammianus's history closes on a night of blood and fire with the appalling Roman defeat by the Visigoths and Ostrogoths on the plains of Thrace near Adrianople - a portentous event that would lead, in less than a third of a century, to the fall of Rome itself.

    For the first ten years covered by his history, Ammianus was serving as an intelligence officer on the general staff of the Roman Army of the East.He was an interesting personality: a military man with an intellectually curious and wide-ranging mind; an unsentimental realist about human nature, but intensely loyal to those he respected; and a man who could pay appropriate tribute to those whom politics or international rivalries made his enemies.These qualities come through in his account (from 355 A.D.) of a chillingly effective covert operation in which he and a small group of officers were sent by Constantius to find a way to eliminate the commander of the Roman Army of the Rhine, who had been forced to declare himself emperor.The mission was a success: they bribed some of the commander's German auxiliaries, who as Ammianus recounts, "made their way into the palace, dragged Silvanus, who was on his way to a Christian service, from the shrine in which the panic-stricken man had taken refuge, and butchered him with repeated sword-thrusts."Then he eulogizes his victim: "Such was the end of a commander of no small merit, who was driven by fear of the slanders in which a hostile clique [at the court of Constantius] had ensnared him in his absence to adopt extreme measures of self-defense."

    As an example of the vivid first-person accounts that make this book so memorable, I offer the following passage, in which Ammianus describes his adventures in 359 A.D. as the undermanned Roman outposts west of the Tigris brace for the onslaught of an immense Persian army:

    "[We] marched in haste to make ready for the defense of Nisibis, fearing that the Persians might disguise their intention to besiege it and then fall upon it unaware.While the necessary measures were being pushed on inside the walls, smoky fires were seen flickering from the direction of the Tigris past the Moors' Fort and Sisara and the rest of the country in an unbroken chain right up to the city, in such unusual numbers that it was clear that the enemy's raiding parties had broken through and crossed the river.We hurried on at full speed in case the roads should be blocked, but when we were two miles from the city we came upon a child crying in the middle of the road.He was a fine boy, apparently about eight years old, and was wearing a neck ornament.He told us that he was the son of a man of good family, and that his mother, panic-stricken at the approach of the enemy, had abandoned him because he was an impediment to her flight.Our general pitied him, and on his orders I set the boy before me on my horse and took him back to the city, but I found the walls already invested and enemy parties scouring the neighborhood.

    "Dreading to find myself involved in the mysteries of a siege, I put the boy in the shelter of a postern gate that was not entirely shut, and galloped back half dead with fear to rejoin our column, but I only just avoided capture."

    The informative and often puckishly witty notes accompanying this volume by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill also merit commendation. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140444068
    Sales Rank: 44120
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Rome    2. Empire, 284-476    3. History    4. History - General History    5. Rome    6. Ancient Rome    7. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    8. History / General   


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    Claudian (Loeb Classical Library, No 136)
    by Claudian
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 June, 1922)
    list price: $21.50 -- our price: $21.50
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    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Claudian: Possibly the Last Classic Poet (Vol-1)"
    Claudius Claudianus may in fact have been the last of the Latin poets of classical times (late 4th century AD), if, of course, the Christian poets Sidonius Apollinarius or Aurelius Prudentius Clemens are to be neglected.Claudian himself was very likely a heathen, since his poems obviously reveal pagan beliefs, while Christianity was only paid minimal lip-service; but perhaps his paganism was only a ploy to win senatorial favor.Claudian was raised to a state of prominence in the court of the emperor Honorius by writing panegyrics and propagandist poems on his behalf; also, Claudian wrote several poems eulogizing the Germanic general Stilicho and the consuls Probinus, Olybrius, and Manilus.Claudian's praise of the great general Stilicho and the emperor Theodosius may be totally justifiable, however, he never blushes to praise the degenerate weakling of an emperor Honorius, whose absolute lack of traditional Roman virtue, proved costly to the Empire.On the other end, Claudian is just as extreme.His satires on Rufinus, the corrupt "magister militia" of the East, and the eunuch consul Eutropius are hilarious and witty; he certainly had a talent for blending simple humor with sharp invective.Of Claudain's many genre, the epic is another one he employs, for he wrote, in this particular volume, a short and unfinished work on the war and defeat of Gildo, the usurper in Africa.On the whole, this Roman poet, originally a Greek author from Alexandria, shows great signs of the same skill, precision, and mythological lore found in many of the poets from the Silver Age.Despite his shameless praise of Honorius, Claudian is a great poet, and his work is important for historians of the time and entertaining for anyone enamored with good Latin poetry. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0674991516
    Sales Rank: 1298699
    Subjects:  1. Ancient, Classical & Medieval    2. Literature - Classics / Criticism   


    $21.50

    Claudian: poetry and propaganda at the court of Honorius
    by Alan Cameron
    Unknown Binding (1970)

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    Isbn: 0198143516
    Sales Rank: 1775681
    Subjects:  1. Claudianus, Claudius    2. Criticism and interpretation   


    Goths and Romans 332-489 (Oxford Historical Monographs)
    by Peter J. Heather
    Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 October, 1994)
    list price: $46.95
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Systematic scholarly assessment by recognized Oxford scholar
    Although originally published nearly a decade and a half ago, Dr. Heather's assessment of this period of Romano-Gothic interaction is at the top of the field and remains directly applicable to any serious study of the topic.

    Dr. Heather approaches this important Late Antique topic, which has not been adequately studied by English speaking scholars in my opinion, by offering a detailed critique of the primary sources that we are forced to use in our attempt to recreate the history of the Goths.He constantly reminds us that Gothic history, for the most part, was written by Roman authors who viewed them merely as barbarians.In addition, Dr. Heather forces us to consider also the reliability of our written sources in attempting to create a plausible historical narrative.

    Beginning with the reign of Constantine the Great, Dr. Heather attempts to show that Roman interactions with Goths followed a well-established pattern that modified due to factors outside their relationship, like the introduction of the Huns in the steppe region.With this in mind, he offers a very reliable recreation of the time period with regard to imperial policy, especially the reigns of Theodosius the Great and Arcadius, although his analysis is necessarily skewed towards the more important regions in the East.

    Dr. Heather's analysis of the Goths is necessarily weakened by a lack of contemporary sources dealing directly with the Goths in the mid fifth century, when the Goths assimilated into the Hun Empire of Attila.But it picks up and argues persuasively regarding the rise of Theodoric and his approach towards Italy in 489.

    Overall, very well researched (modified from an Oxford DPhil dissertation), reliable, and perhaps the most authoritative monograph produced on the topic in English.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Goths and romans
    I want some articles about goths and romans in the late antiquit

    1-0 out of 5 stars Goths and romans
    I want some articles about goths and romans in the late antiquit ... Read more

    Isbn: 019820535X
    Sales Rank: 1743176
    Subjects:  1. Ancient Rome - History    2. General    3. History - General History    4. History: World   


    The Last Poets of Imperial Rome (Classics S.)
    by Harold Isbell
    Paperback (01 May, 1983)
    list price: $5.95
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    Isbn: 0140442464
    Sales Rank: 2224794
    Subjects:  1. Ancient, Classical & Medieval    2. Latin poetry    3. Literature - Classics / Criticism    4. Poetry    5. Rome    6. Translations into English    7. Latin    8. Poetry & poets: classical, early & medieval    9. Works by individual poets: classical, early & medieval   


    Warfare in Roman Europe, Ad 350-425 (Oxford Classical Monographs)
    by Hugh Elton
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 March, 1996)
    list price: $72.00
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    Reviews (4)

    3-0 out of 5 stars well researched work dealing with the late empire
    Hugh Elton's work dealing with the late imperial army is a thouroughly researched book citing numerous primary and secondary sources. I think the highlight of the book is his treatment of the barbarian army and the effects of barbarization on the late Roman army. His treatment of the roman army while thourougly researched is somewhat dry and not very revealing. Although he mentions a few famous encounters,there is no retelling of the famous battles of this period; namely Strasborg and Adrianople. He does not follow current scholarship in his views of barbarization of the imperial army, which is quite revealing. This book is an improvement on the Oxford classical monogram title; the Roman army at War by Adrian Goldsworthy which was somewhat disorganized and no clear thesis. However, this book is worth having just for its treatment of Rome's barbarian enemies in the late 4th to mid 5th centuries.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A superb assessment of the late Roman army
    This book offers a great insight into the workings and fighting capabilities of the late roman army. It is rigorous, well-argumented and not afraid of taking the academic establishment head on when it comes to dispelling several "myths" about the late roman army and the empire.

    For instance, it has become common place to say that the barbarization of the late roman army led to a decline of its effectiveness on the field. Elton correctly poses the question of why, if a "barbarized" army was ineffective, the Romans did not stop recruiting barbarians; indeed, the Eastern Empire, which survived, continued to recruit barbarians well into the 6th century.The rationale for using barbarian troops must be searched beyond the trite arguments that the romans had become "corrupt", and Elton sheds lights on the economics of the choice "make" (ie raise additional roman troops) versus "buy" (ie "rent" barbarians for a specific campaign). On the same topic, Elton also proves that there is no clear trend towards barbarization of the higher ranks. More generally, Elton proves convincingly that there is no evidence that the late roman army was ineffective. In my opinion, arguing that the army's inability to stop the invasions is a proof of its defectiveness would be equivalent to arguing that since the US lost the Vietnam war, then its army must have been weak...

    Elton's main thesis is that the crisis of the Empire was not a military one, ie the army did not have structural faults that "explain" the fall of the empire. His arguments are always stimulating and supported by research work which is often startling. Hopefully, after this book historians of the late roman empire will have to look elsewhere for an explanation of its fall. But I am not optimistic. After all, other ridiculous myths on the decline's causes survive to this day: among others, that the fall of the empire was caused by a decline in moral values, or by class struggle, or by a crisis in manpower, or by the use of lead in bowls and the related illnesses...

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Rounded View of How Rome Dealt with the Barbarian Threat
    This book came out the same year as Southern and Dixon's _The Late Roman Army_, covering the same period. Unlike that of S&D, Elton's work is no mere recital of artifacts and programs. It shows how each side was able toemploy its manpower, finances, organizational skills, leadership talentsand weapons procurement capabilities to defend or expand it's living spaceagainst a flesh and blood antagonist.

    Dixon and Southern show theevolution of the various factors, but don't really seem to relate them tothe heart of the matter: the fighting man at the bloody point of contact.Elton never loses sight of this ultimate rationale for mobilization,recruitment, and strategy-making -- combat. His book is all the better forit. He does for the twilight struggle of the Western Empire what AdrianGoldsworthy did for it's high tide in his equally relevant and absorbing_The Roman Army at War_. I grow tired of books that pretend to explain Romeand her enemiesand end up being mere outlines of unconnected factors,replete with organizational charts and nifty drawings of weapons anduniforms. Elton writes for the serious student of warfare in lateantiquity, but in a style that will appeal to the military buff as well asthe classicist. Highly recommended to afficionados of ancient warfare,classicists,war-gamers, armchair strategists ...or anyone who wants toexamine the military side of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0198150075
    Sales Rank: 3675890
    Subjects:  1. 30 B.C.-476 A.D    2. Ancient - Rome    3. Europe    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History, Military    7. History: World    8. Military - General    9. Military History - Ancient    10. Military art and science    11. Rome   


    City of God (Penguin Classics)
    by St. Augustine, Staint Augustine, G. R. Evans, Henry Bettenson
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (30 December, 2003)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $10.88
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    Editorial Review

    Augustine's City of God, a monumental work of religious lore, philosophy, and history, was written as a kind of literary tombstone for Roman culture. After the sack of Rome, Augustine wrote this book to anatomize the corruption of Romans' pursuit of earthly pleasures: "grasping for praise, open-handed with their money; honest in the pursuit of wealth, they wanted to hoard glory." Augustine contrasts his condemnation of Rome with an exaltation of Christian culture. The glory that Rome failed to attain will only be realized by citizens of the City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem foreseen in Revelation. Because City of God was written for men of classical learning--custodians of the culture Augustine sought to condemn--it is thick with Ciceronian circumlocutions, and makes many stark contrasts between "Your Virgil" and "Our Scriptures." Even if Augustine's prose strikes modern ears as a bit bombastic, and if his polarized Christian/pagan world is more binary than the one we live in today, his arguments against utopianism and his defense of the richness of Christian culture remain useful and strong. City of God is, as its final words proclaim itself to be, "a giant of a book." --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking book
    I'm a nonbeliever, but I became aware of Augustine and Aquinas when taking Philosophy 100C and Philosophy of Religion at UCLA for my BA in Philosophy.What I enjoy most about Augustine in this work is that he often sounds very rational and open-minded, indeed, almost modern in his frank discussions of human behaviors.For example, he says things about sexuality that you might not expect a Doctor of the Church to say, like sex, being created by God, is not evil but it is lust which is sinful.This work also contains his famous quote about time "If no one asks me what time is, I know.If someone asks me, I do not."I suppose that is the mark of a great author, in that they transcend the times they live in and have something to say to all generations.At over 1000 pages, this book definitely requires a time committment on your part, but is certainly worth the investment.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Ouch
    What can I say about this book?That as a Pagan, I consider it the ultimate insult to all human beings?After all, it was written at a time when the Christians were starting on a major campaign to slaughter Pagans and bring us into the Dark Ages.

    I could say that Diogenes searched far and wide for an honest man.And that I too have searched far and wide.For a stupid man.And that now I've finally found one in gus, the author of this book.

    I could tell about how the author felt that if torture were appropriate for those who broke the laws of men, it was even more appropriate for those who broke the laws of god.I could say that gus had no sympathy for Roman virgins who were raped by the Goths (he said they asked for it). I could say that I am totally outraged by and fed up with folks like gus who tyrannically tell the rest of us how to worship.

    But I think I'll stop here.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A central Christian work
    This is one of the great statements of Christian thought. It is the work which will define for many throughout the generations the fundamental Christian way of thinking about the world. Unfortunately this means it too is tarred by a fire- and- brimstone replacement theology which ruled Christian thinking in regard to the Jews for close to fifteen hundred years afterward.
    The work sets up the basic contrast between the Good and the Evil, those who are part of the City of God( whether on Earth or in Heaven) and those who are in the City of sins, condemnation, and death. Augustine is a great teacher of doctrine, and his doctrine divides the world into the saved and the damned. If you are not going to be with the Church then you are not going to live. His idea in short is an absolute idea, and his great intellect argues to support a way of understanding the world which is total and complete.
    The intellectual challenge presented by this book is great indeed. And in it one of the great minds of religious history expounds his fundamental teaching.
    As one who belongs to a people and religion condemned in this book I cannot simply sing its praises. But it is impossible not to recognize the great scope and power of the mind at work here. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140448942
    Subjects:  1. Christianity - Theology - Apologetics    2. Fathers Of The Church (Christianity)    3. General    4. Philosophy    5. Religious    6. Theology    7. BCE to c 500 CE    8. Christianity    9. Medieval & Scholastic philosophy    10. Other prose: classical, early & medieval    11. Philosophy of religion   


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