The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395
By David Potter
To Be Published October 28th 2013 by Routledge – 896 pages
The Roman Empire at Bay is the only one volume history of the critical years 180-395 AD, which saw the transformation of the Roman Empire from a unitary state centred on Rome, into a new polity with two capitals and a new religion—Christianity. The book integrates social and intellectual history into the narrative, looking to explore the relationship between contingent events and deeper structure. It also covers an amazingly dramatic narrative from the civil wars after the death of Commodus through the conversion of Constantine to the arrival of the Goths in the Roman Empire, setting in motion the final collapse of the western empire.
The new edition takes account of important new scholarship in questions of Roman identity, on economy and society as well as work on the age of Constantine, which has advanced significantly in the last decade, while recent archaeological and art historical work is more fully drawn into the narrative than it was in the past. At its core, the central question that drives The Roman Empire at Bay remains, what did it mean to be a Roman and how did that meaning change as the empire changed? Updated for a new generation of students, this book remains a crucial tool in the study of this period.
Part I: The shape of Rome 1. Culture, economy and power 2. Economy Part II: Reshaping the old order 3. Crises in government 4. The army in politics; lawyers in government 5. Intellectual trends in the early third century Part III: The Roman Empire and its neighbours, 225-99 6. The failure of the Severan empire 7. The emergence of a new order Part IV: The Constantinian Empire 8. Alternative narratives: Manichaeans, Christians, and Neoplatonists 9. Rewritings of the Tetrarchy: 300-13 10. Restructuring the state: 313-37 11. Constructing Christianity in an Imperial context Part V: Losing power 12. Church and State:337-55 13. The struggle for control: 355-66 14. The end of hegemony: 367-95
David Potter is Francis W Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan.