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Princeton University Press, Princeton/Oxford, 2009. XIX,203p. Halfcloth wrps. 'The fifth century is one of the more important centuries for the history of Western Europe and the Middle East, as well as the transformation of the Roman world, and the evidence for it is notoriously varied and complex. For decades scholars of late antiquity would shy away from tackling fifth-century events, with A.H.M. Jones, for example, avowedly sticking with the extensive material from the fourth and sixth centuries. Some of this is due to the inherent difficulties in disentangling the details of the century's chronology, something complicated by the lack of an extant contemporary historical narrative. Nevertheless, scholars are now starting to fix their gaze on this neglected period, with Fergus Millar, for one, having recently drawn our attention to the rich material found in the Theodosian Code and the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon.1 Attila too, always a popular subject among non-academics, continues to harbour interest as a recent book by Chris Kelly demonstrates.2 The book under review here, 428 AD: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire, is one of the most recent books to tackle the fifth century, and where other works have focused on more specific issues, this study offers a wide-ranging, if less-detailed, overview of the fifth-century Mediterranean world, and some of its more important people, in one particular year (428). This focus on one year is novel, though as we soon discover, Traina's choice of 428 is far from arbitrary, and more important events went on in this year than this reviewer, at least, had realized. With endnotes rather than footnotes and the style of this translation conversational, the primary audience is seemingly the general public (a bibliography is conspicuously absent): this reviewer found the book on the shelf of an ordinary, in other words non-academic, bookshop in Winnipeg. Nevertheless, the book is also likely to attract of the attention of scholars of late antiquity. (.) Traina has done the fifth century a tremendous service by describing it in such a lively and engaging style, and it is hoped that his book will help inspire research on this under-studied period.' (CONOR WHATELY in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.10.31). Condition: New. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 21023
This is a sweeping tour of the Mediterranean world from the Atlantic to Persia during the last half-century of the Roman Empire. By focusing on a single year not overshadowed by an epochal event, 428 AD provides a truly fresh look at a civilization in the midst of enormous change--as Christianity takes hold in rural areas across the empire, as western Roman provinces fall away from those in the Byzantine east, and as power shifts from Rome to Constantinople. Taking readers on a journey through the region, Giusto Traina describes the empires' people, places, and events in all their simultaneous richness and variety. The result is an original snapshot of a fraying Roman world on the edge of the medieval era. The result is an original snapshot of a fraying Roman world on the edge of the medieval era.
Readers meet many important figures, including the Roman general Flavius Dionysius as he encounters a delegation from Persia after the Sassanids annex Armenia; the Christian ascetic Simeon Stylites as he stands and preaches atop his column near Antioch; the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II as he prepares to commission his legal code; and Genseric as he is elected king of the Vandals and begins to turn his people into a formidable power. We are also introduced to Pulcheria, the powerful sister of Theodosius, and Galla Placidia, the queen mother of the western empire, as well as Augustine, Pope Celestine I, and nine-year-old Roman emperor Valentinian III.
Full of telling details, 428 AD illustrates the uneven march of history. As the west unravels, the east remains intact. As Christianity spreads, pagan ideas and schools persist. And, despite the presence of the forces that will eventually tear the classical world apart, Rome remains at the center, exerting a powerful unifying force over disparate peoples stretched across the Mediterranean.
From the Inside Flap:
"The history of late antiquity has inspired some of the most vital historical writing of the last half-century. Giusto Traina sustains the tradition with his vivid snapshot of a year. The very ordinariness of 428 AD makes us see the period afresh. In transcending the partisan language of 'transformation' and 'decline,' Traina reimagines in ecstasy a world racked by agony."--Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of The Americas: A History of Two Continents and Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration
"This is one of those books for which one has longed for a very long time. Only by the decision to place one year on the map of an entire segment of Europe and the Middle East is it possible to seize the full dynamics of the history of the later Roman Empire. I have read nothing like it and I have benefitted from it on every page. It is the sense of different landscapes that lingers with the reader, and also the sense of a common imperial energy that pulses through the entire world as here described. It is a tour de force to have found, in this way, a new Archimedes point from which to move the great mass of the history of the fifth century and in such a way that it does not splinter. This is truly a book which opens a window on to the world of late antiquity."--Peter Brown, author of Augustine of Hippo: A Biography
"Giusto Traina's 428 AD demands attention. Not only is it a first-rate piece of scholarship, it is engaging, original, and a pleasure to read. Focusing his book on the year 428 is a brilliant idea. Traina is completely successful in using this device to give a synoptic view of late antiquity, not just the late Roman Empire. The narrative is never forced; his journey progresses quite naturally, delighting the reader with fascinating information at every step. This is a commendable achievement in the same spirit as Peter Brown's The World of Late Antiquity. 428 will be an 'anonymous' year no more."--Michael Maas, Rice University
"This is one of those books for which one has longed for a very long time. Only by the decision to place one year on the map of an entire segment of Europe and the Middle East is it possible to seize the full dynamics of the history of the later Roman Empire. I have read nothing like it and I have benefitted from it on every page."--Peter Brown, author of Augustine of Hippo: A Biography
Titel: 428 AD. An Ordinary Year at the End of the ...
Verlag: Princeton University Press
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