A Social and Cultural History of Late Antiquity
Wiley Blackwell Social and Cultural Histories of the Ancient World 1. Aufl.
A Social and Cultural History of Late Antiquity examines the social and cultural landscape of the Late Antique Mediterranean. The text offers a picture of everyday life as it was lived in the spaces around and between two of the most memorable and towering figures of the time—Constantine and Muhammad. The author captures the period using a wide-lens, including Persian material from the mid third century through Umayyad material of the mid eighth century C.E. The book offers a rich picture of Late Antique life that is not just focused on Rome, Constantinople, or Christianity. This important resource uses nuanced terms to talk about complex issues and fills a gap in the literature by surveying major themes such as power, gender, community, cities, politics, law, art and architecture, and literary culture. The book is richly illustrated and filled with maps, lists of rulers and key events. A Social and Cultural History of Late Antiquity is an essential guide that: Paints a rich picture of daily life in Late Antique that is not simply centered on Rome, Constantinople, or Christianity Balances a thematic approach with rigorous attention to chronology Stresses the need for appreciating both sources and methods in the study of Late Antique history Offers a sophisticated model for investigating daily life and the complexities of individual and group identity in the rapidly changing Mediterranean world Includes useful maps, city plans, timelines, and suggestions for further reading A Social and Cultural History of Late Antiquity offers an examination of everyday life in the era when adherents of three of the major religions of today—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—faced each other for the first time in the same environment.
Illustrations x Boxed Texts xii Preface: The Magic of History xv Acknowledgments xix Annotated List of Abbreviations and a Note on Citations from Secondary Literature xxi Timeline xxv Map: The Late Antique World At-A-Glance xxviii Part I The “Vanishing” of Rome 1 1 Who and What Is Late Antiquity? 3 1.1 An Overview of the Book 4 History from the ground?]up, all the way to the top 4 A top?]down view of Rome in the fifth century ce 9 1.2 Three Lives and the “Fall of Rome” 10 Victorinus, vicarius of Britain 11 Palladius, the law student from Gaul 13 Rufius Volusianus, the prodigy who went to Constantinople 14 2 When Does Late Antiquity Begin? When Does it End? 19 2.1 The Third through Fifth Centuries ce: A Narrated Timeline 20 The third?]century crisis 20 The fourth?]century crisis 24 The fifth?]century crisis 29 2.2 A Warning about Periodization 32 3 How Do We Do Late Antique History? 35 3.1 Evaluating Sources, Asking Questions 36 Comparing and contrasting 36 Incorporating textual and material culture 37 3.2 The Past in the Past 39 3.3 Acquiring Cultural Competence: The Study of Religion in History 43 3.4 Linking, not Disconnecting, Different Periods of Early Christianity 45 Paul and the context of the late Second Temple period 46 Paul’s legacy, forged texts, and the rise of Christianity 47 3.5 Pre?]Modern vs. Early Modern History: A Note on Sources 50 Part II Late Antiquity Appears 53 4 Power 55 4.1 Third?]Century Politics 55 4.2 Mithras and a Roman Fascination with the Mysteries of Persia 56 4.3 The Material Culture of Sasanian Persia 58 4.4 Rome and Sasanian Persia in Conflict 60 Weighing the accounts, making a decision 63 4.5 The Roman World of the Third Century ce 69 Empire?]wide citizenship is decreed 69 Rome’s birthday is celebrated, a saeculum is renewed 70 New walls and city borders are constructed 72 5 Worship 75 5.1 The Civic Sacrifice Policy of 250 ce 76 Implementation of the policy 77 The historian’s delicate task: writing about the policy 78 5.2 How Did Romans Worship Their Gods? Text and Material Culture, c. Third Century ce 82 Traditional worship 85 Mystery cults 87 Emperor worship 90 6 Social Change 93 6.1 Rome’s Laws Against Christians 94 Emperor Valerian, 257–258 ce 94 Christian sacrifice in context on the eve of the Rule of Four 95 6.2 The End of the Third Century and the Rise of the Rule of Four 97 6.3 A View from Thessaloniki, Roman Greece, Late Third Century ce 99 Galerius’ urban investments 99 The political messages of Galerius’ arch and palace vestibule 99 6.4 Diocletian’s Edict against Followers of Mani, 296 ce or 302 ce 105 6.5 The Rise of Christianity: Assumptions and Starting Points 106 “Christianization” and evangelization 106 Christian demographics and faith?]based narratives of rapid conversion 108 Recognizing political disagreement among Rome’s Christian community 110 7 Law and Politics 113 7.1 Roman Law: History From the Ground?]Up, Top?]Down, and Sideways 114 Petitions from Roman Egypt 115 Roman legal texts in Late Antiquity 116 The history of Roman law as a story of “horizontal relations” 119 7.2 The “Edict of Milan,” 313 ce 119 The Roman constitution in context 120 Expanding the idea of being Roman 121 7.3 Individual Laws and the Collection of Legal Texts 123 The Edict on Maximum Prices, 301 ce 123 The Edict against Christians, 312 ce 124 The creation of the Theodosian Code, 429–438 ce 124 7.4 Law and Politics in the Fourth Century ce 125 8 Urban Life 130 8.1 Daily Life in the Fourth Century ce and Beyond: Starting Points and Assumptions 131 8.2 The Archaeology of Rome 135 The city center and the imperial fora 135 The communities of Rome’s Aventine Hill 137 Funerary banquets on the Via Appia 140 8.3 The Archaeology of Constantinople 142 A new city but with a forgotten history 143 Constantine’s Forum 145 Urban infrastructure and neighborhood residences 148 9 Community 152 9.1 Mystery Cults 155 The cult of Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis 155 Anthropological perspectives on initiation 156 9.2 Christian Communities and Christian Law 156 9.3 The Jewish Community: Shared Values and Social Diversity 159 Synagogues 159 The importance of Jewish place and time 160 9.4 The Communities of Roman Egypt, Fourth–Fifth Centuries ce 163 Antony and the monastic communities 166 Roman army members and military families 166 Disaffected communities: “God’s soldiers,” c.391–392 ce 168 10 Economy 171 10.1 Egypt beyond Its Borders 172 Porphyry and the economy of marble 172 Egyptomania in Rome and Constantinople 175 10.2 The Arena and Racing Culture 177 10.3 Economic Realities, Third–Sixth Centuries ce 179 The two economic corridors of the state 180 The importance of ceramic evidence 182 The importance of the wooden legal texts from Vandal North Africa 183 10.4 The Crypta Balbi Excavations, Rome: The Story of a Social Safety Net, Third Century–Sixth Century ce 184 Ceramics from the Crypta Balbi excavations 185 Two final details from the Crypta Balbi excavations 188 11 The Household and Family 191 11.1 Home as a Place 193 Apartments 193 Houses 194 11.2 House?]Churches in the Long History of Christianity 196 Tituli and the transformation of the Caelian Hill, Rome 198 House?]churches and church leadership 200 11.3 Family and Household Relations, c.405–551 ce 201 Jerome and the lives of two Christian women in Gaul: c.405 ce 201 Procopius tells of a scandalous Christian empress, c.550–551 ce 203 11.4 Slaves and Slavery 203 11.5 Households and the Emergence of the Papacy in Rome 206 12 Ideas and Literary Culture 209 12.1 The “One” and the Many: Philosophical and Anthropological Perspectives 210 12.2 Literature and Ideas after the “Vanishing” of Rome 212 12.3 The Literary Culture of Justinian’s Roman Empire 215 Justinian’s Latin Laws 215 Justinian’s Greek?]speaking Christian state 215 12.4 Literature as a Source for the Study of Medicine and Disease 218 12.5 The Rise of a Book Culture 219 Books and patrons 220 Books and beliefs 222 12.6 Latin Poetry and Christian Communities in Rome, c.366–600 ce 222 12.7 Looking Ahead: “People of the Book” 224 Part III The Illusion of Mediterranean History 229 13 Geography and Society 231 13.1 Seeing the Sixth Century Through the Eyes of an Emperor and a Traveler 232 Emperor Justinian, 527–565 ce 233 Justinian’s Christian architecture 235 13.2 Cosmas’ Christian World 235 Geography 236 The centrality of scripture 237 Apocalyptic thinking 238 Religious minorities 241 13.3 Beyond Rome’s Christian Empire in the Sixth Century ce 242 13.4 Sixth?] and Seventh?]Century South Asia 244 Sri Lanka and the economy of the Indian subcontinent 244 “Buddhism” and “Hinduism” 245 13.5 Sixth?] and Seventh?]Century China and Central Asia 247 The nature of trade along the Silk Roads 248 Coins as evidence for shared customs in Rome and Sasanian Persia 248 14 A Choice of Directions 253 14.1 Jerusalem in the Sixth and Early Seventh Centuries ce 254 The Temple Mount in Jerusalem at the dawn of the seventh century ce 254 Jesus’ end?]time preaching and Jerusalem before the seventh century ce 258 End?]time preaching and Jerusalem during the seventh century ce 259 14.2 The Social World of the Arabian Peninsula in the Sixth Century ce 260 Merchant oases and desert sanctuaries 261 14.3 The Believers Movement 262 The Constitution of Medina 264 An apocalyptic component 267 An initial focus on Jerusalem 269 Glossary 273 Index 276
“As a textbook, this book is ambitious. No other book that covers late antiquity is quite like it. The writing style throughout is chatty and encouraging, making this a wonderful guide for any high school Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum or introductory undergraduate history of late antiquity class...Boin aims to make history not just about grand political moments but intimate moments as well. This intimacy comes across from focusing on people—fairly ordinary people or, at least, those generally unknown to non-specialists.” - Dr. Margo L. Goldsmith, Chair of Women's Studies in Religion, Claremont Graduate University for Reading Religion
Douglas Boin is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of Ostia in Late Antiquity and Coming Out Christian in the Roman World.
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