Alexander Severus' is full of controversy and contradictions. He came to the throne through the brutal murder of his cousin, Elagabalus, and was ultimately assassinated himself. The years between were filled with regular uprisings and rebellions, court intrigue (the Praetorian Guard slew their commander at the Emperor's feet) and foreign invasion. Yet the ancient sources generally present his reign as a golden age of just government, prosperity and religious tolerance Not yet fourteen when he became emperor, Alexander was dominated by his mother, Julia Mammaea and advisors like the historian, Cassius Dio. In the military field, he successfully checked the aggressive Sassanid Persians but some sources see his Persian campaign as a costly failure marked by mutiny and reverses that weakened the army. When Germanic and Sarmatian tribes crossed the Rhine and Danube frontiers in 234, Alexander took the field against them but when he attempted to negotiate to buy time, his soldiers perceived him as weak, assassinated him and replaced him with the soldier Maximinus Thrax. John McHugh reassesses this fascinating emperor in detail.
Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity explores the transformation of classical culture in late antiquity by studying cultures at the borders - the borders of empires, of social classes, of public and private spaces, of literary genres, of linguistic communities, and of the modern disciplines that study antiquity. Although such canonical figures of late ancient studies as Augustine and Ammianus Marcellinus appear in its pages, this book shifts our perspective from the center to the side or the margins. The essays consider, for example, the ordinary Christians whom Augustine addressed, the border regions of Mesopotamia and Vandal Africa, 'popular' or 'legendary' literature, and athletes. Although traditional philology rightly underlies the work that these essays do, the authors, several among the most prominent in the field of late ancient studies, draw from and combine a range of disciplines and perspectives, including art history, religion, and social history. Despite their various subject matters and scholarly approaches, the essays in Shifting Cultural Frontiers coalesce around a small number of key themes in the study of late antiquity: the ambiguous effects of 'Christianization,' the creation of new literary and visual forms from earlier models, the interaction and spread of ideals between social classes, and the negotiation of ethnic and imperial identities in the contact between 'Romans' and 'barbarians.' By looking away from the core and toward the periphery, whether spatially or intellectually, the volume offers fresh insights into how ancient patterns of thinking and creating became reconfigured into the diverse cultures of the 'medieval.'
The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity is the first comprehensive reference book covering every aspect of history, culture, religion, and life in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East (including the Persian Empire and Central Asia) between the mid-3rd and the mid-8th centuries AD, the era now generally known as Late Antiquity. This period saw the re-establishment of the Roman Empire, its conversion to Christianity and its replacement in the West by Germanic kingdoms, the continuing Roman Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Sassanian Empire, and the rise of Islam. Consisting of over 1.5 million words in more than 5,000 A-Z entries, and written by more than 400 contributors, it is the long-awaited middle volume of a series, bridging a significant period of history between those covered by the acclaimed Oxford Classical Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. The scope of the Dictionary is broad and multi-disciplinary; across the wide geographical span covered (from Western Europe and the Mediterranean as far as the Near East and Central Asia), it provides succinct and pertinent information on political history, law, and administration; military history; religion and philosophy; education; social and economic history; material culture; art and architecture; science; literature; and many other areas. Drawing on the latest scholarship, and with a formidable international team of advisers and contributors, The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity aims to establish itself as the essential reference companion to a period that is attracting increasing attention from scholars and students worldwide.
Cultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity
Author: Ralph W. Mathisen
One of the most significant transformations of the Roman world in Late Antiquity was the integration of barbarian peoples into the social, cultural, religious, and political milieu of the Mediterranean world. The nature of these transformations was considered at the sixth biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in March of 2005, and this volume presents an updated selection of the papers given on that occasion, complemented with a few others,. These 25 studies do much to break down old stereotypes about the cultural and social segregation of Roman and barbarian populations, and demonstrate that, contrary to the past orthodoxy, Romans and barbarians interacted in a multitude of ways, and it was not just barbarians who experienced "ethnogenesis" or cultural assimilation. The same Romans who disparaged barbarian behavior also adopted aspects of it in their everyday lives, providing graphic examples of the ambiguity and negotiation that characterized the integration of Romans and barbarians, a process that altered the concepts of identity of both populations. The resultant late antique polyethnic cultural world, with cultural frontiers between Romans and barbarians that became increasingly permeable in both directions, does much to help explain how the barbarian settlement of the west was accomplished with much less disruption than there might have been, and how barbarian populations were integrated seamlessly into the old Roman world.
The essays collected in this book present the first comprehensiveappreciation of The Fall of the Roman Empire fromhistorical, historiographical, and cinematic perspectives. The bookalso provides the principal classical sources on the period. It isa companion to Gladiator: Film and History (Blackwell, 2004)and Spartacus: Film and History (Blackwell, 2007) andcompletes a triad of scholarly studies on Hollywood’sgreatest films about Roman history. A critical re-evaluation of the 1964 epic film The Fall ofthe Roman Empire, directed by Anthony Mann, fromhistorical, film-historical, and contemporary points of view Presents a collection of scholarly essays and classical sourceson the period of Roman history that ancient and modern historianshave considered to be the turning point toward the eventual fall ofRome Contains a short essay by director Anthony Mann Includes a map of the Roman Empire and film stills, as well astranslations of the principal ancient sources, an extensivebibliography, and a chronology of events
The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity offers an innovative overview of a period (c. 300-700 CE) that has become increasingly central to scholarly debates over the history of western and Middle Eastern civilizations. This volume covers such pivotal events as the fall of Rome, the rise of Christianity, the origins of Islam, and the early formation of Byzantium and the European Middle Ages. These events are set in the context of widespread literary, artistic, cultural, and religious change during the period. The geographical scope of this Handbook is unparalleled among comparable surveys of Late Antiquity; Arabia, Egypt, Central Asia, and the Balkans all receive dedicated treatments, while the scope extends to the western kingdoms, and North Africa in the West. Furthermore, from economic theory and slavery to Greek and Latin poetry, Syriac and Coptic literature, sites of religious devotion, and many others, this Handbook covers a wide range of topics that will appeal to scholars from a diverse array of disciplines. The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity engages the perennially valuable questions about the end of the ancient world and the beginning of the medieval, while providing a much-needed touchstone for the study of Late Antiquity itself.
Art and Ritual of Kingship Between Rome and Sasanian Iran
Author: Matthew P. Canepa
Publisher: Univ of California Press
This book is a true tour de force in the scholarship of the late ancient world. Canepa has bridged the traditional divide between Classical and Iranian studies to illuminate the long-running artistic dialogue between the late Roman and Sasanian Empires. Every chapter offers exciting new insights into the development of late antique art and rituals of power."Joel Walker, author of The Legend of Mar Qardagh: Narrative and Christian Heroism in Late Antique Iraq "The Two Eyes of the Earth is a masterly synthesis of a theme of the utmost importance for the political culture of the late antique world."Peter Brown, author of Power and Persuasion "
This Handbook is a current, comprehensive single-volume history of Iranian civilization. The authors, all leaders in their fields, emphasize the large-scale continuities of Iranian history while also describing the important patterns of transformation that have characterized Iran's past. Each of the chapters focuses on a specific epoch of Iranian history and surveys the general political, social, cultural, and economic issues of that era. The ancient period begins with chapters considering the anthropological evidence of the prehistoric era, through to the early settled civilizations of the Iranian plateau, and continuing to the rise of the ancient Persian empires. The medieval section first considers the Arab-Muslim conquest of the seventh century, and then moves on to discuss the growing Turkish influence filtering in from Central Asia beginning in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The last third of the book covers Iran in the modern era by considering the rise of the Safavid state and its accompanying policy of centralization, the introduction of Shi'ism, the problems of reform and modernization in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, and the revolution of 1978-79 and its aftermath. The book is a collaborative exercise among scholars specializing in a variety of sub-fields, and across a number of disciplines, including history, art history, classics, literature, politics, and linguistics. Here, readers can find a reliable and accessible narrative that can serve as an authoritative guide to the field of Iranian studies.
This is the first general comprehensive introduction to Manichaeism aimed at a non-specialist and undergraduate readership. This study will be a historical and theological introduction to Manichaeism. It will comprise a biographical treatment of the founder Mani, situating his personality, his writings and his ideas within the Aramaic Christian tradition of third century (CE) Mesopotamia. It will provide a historical treatment of the Manichaean church in late antiquity (250-700 CE), detailing the emergence of Manichaeism in the late Roman and Byzantine empires, in addition to examining the continuation of Manichaean traditions in the eastern world (China) up to the thirteenth century and beyond. The book will consider the theology of Mani's system, with the aim of providing a clear-eyed treatment of the cosmogonic, scriptural and ecclesiological ideas forming its foundations. The study will base its analysis on original Manichaean literary sources, together with rehabilitating the representation of Manichaeism in those writings that polemicised against the religion. The study will aim to demonstrate the highly syncretic nature of Manichaeism, and will look to move forward 'traditional' perceptions of the religion as being simply a form of Christian Gnostic Dualism.