The Transformation of the Roman West

This concise and effective synthesis investigates the role of the institution of the Church in the transformation of the Roman West from the fourth to seventh centuries.

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ISBN-13: 9781942401438

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Ian Wood

The history of the Late Roman Empire in the West has been divided into two parallel worlds, analysed either as a political and economic transformation or as a religious and cultural one. But how do these relate one to another? In this concise and effective synthesis, Ian Wood considers some ways in which religion and the Church can be reintegrated into what has become a largely secular discourse. The Church was at the heart of the changes that look place at the end of the Western Empire, not only regarding religion, but indeed every aspect of politics and society. Wood contends that the institutionalisation of the Church on a huge scale was a key factor in the transformation which began in the early fourth century with an incipiently Christian Roman Empire and ended three hundred years later in a world of thoroughly Christianised kingdoms.

Contents

Introduction. The End of the West Roman Empire: From Decline and Fall to Transformation of the Roman World

1. Gibbon’s Secondary Causes: “The Disorders of Military Despotism” and “the Division of Monarchy”
2. Barbarism: “The Invasion and Settlements of the Barbarians of Germany and Scythia”
3. Religion and the Transformation of the Roman World
4. Religion: “The Rise, Establishment, and Sects of Christianity”
5. Religious Reaction to the Fall of Rome
6. Doctrinal Division
7. The Impact of Christianity: A Quantitative Approach
8. Clerics, Soldiers, Bureaucrats
9. Ecclesiastical Endowment
10. Beyond Gibbon and Rostovtzeff
Appendix. Clerical Ordinations
Further Reading
Bibliography