This remarkable study in social and cultural change explains how and why the Late Antique world, between c.150 and c.750 A.D., came to differ from 'Classical civilisation'. These centuries, as the author demonstrates, were the era in which the most deep-rooted of ancient institutions disappeared for all time. By 476 the Roman empire had vanished from western Europe; by 655 the Persian empire had vanished from the Near East. The result is a lucid answer to a crucial question in world history; how the exceptionally homogeneous Mediterranean world of c. 200 A.D. became divided into the three mutually estranged societies of the Middle Ages: Catholic Western Europe, Byzantium, and Islam. We still live with the results of these contrasts.… (more)
[frontispiece] a family group of the fourth century. Gold glass inset in cross.
This book is a study of social and cultural change.
But the student of Late Antiquity, who realizes how much European culture owes to the fruitful interchange between the populations of the Fertile Crescent, open at one end to an empire based on the sea and, at the other, to the Iranian plateau, can estimate the cost of the chasm that yawned across the Mediterranean through the Middle Ages.