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A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-31242-1
568 pages
August 2014, ©2015, Wiley-Blackwell
A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641, 2nd Edition (1118312422) cover image


The Second Edition of A History of the Later Roman Empire features extensive revisions and updates to the highly-acclaimed, sweeping historical survey of the Roman Empire from the accession of Diocletian in AD 284 to the death of Heraclius in 641. 

  • Features a revised narrative of the political history that shaped the late Roman Empire
  • Includes extensive changes to the chapters on regional history, especially those relating to Asia Minor and Egypt
  • Offers a renewed evaluation of the decline of the empire in the later sixth and seventh centuries
  • Places a larger emphasis on the military deficiencies, collapse of state finances, and role of bubonic plague throughout the Europe in Rome’s decline
  • Includes systematic updates to the bibliography
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

List of Maps x

List of Diagrams xi

List of Abbreviations xii

Preface to the First Edition xv

Preface to the Second Edition xviii

1 An Introduction to Late Roman History 1

2 The Nature of the Evidence 15

3 The Roman Empire from Diocletian to Alaric 51

4 The Roman Empire of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries 108

5 The Roman State 165

6 The Barbarian Kingdoms 206

7 From Pagan to Christian 242

8 Conversion to Christianity and the Politics of Religious Identity 277

9 The Political Economy of the Later Roman Empire 325

10 Society and Economy in the Mediterranean and the Near East 355

11 The Challenges of the Later Sixth Century 408

12 The Final Reckoning of the Eastern Empire 441

13 The Fall of the Roman Empire 466

Bibliography 497

Chronological List of Emperors and Other Rulers 522

Index 524

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Author Information

Stephen Mitchell is Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Exeter and a  Fellow of the British Academy. He is also the author of Anatolia. Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor (1993), Cremna in Pisidia (1996), and Pisidian Antoch (1998).

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“Its scholarship is impeccably up to date, its coverage of its chosen topics is most thorough, and it can be recommended as the best single-volume overview of the politics, institutions, and military affairs of the later Roman empire.”  (UNRV Roman Empire, 2015)


“A provocative and highly readable synthesis of the most important period of transition and transformation in the history of the western world.” –Ralph W. Mathisen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Stephen Mitchell provides an exceptionally clear and detailed account both of the march of events and of the structures of the Empire. His discussions of major problems are both balanced and forceful, not shrinking from indicating what his preferred solutions are. The book is a model exposition of a complex subject.” –Fergus Millar, Oxford

“Mitchell deploys his comprehensive knowledge of the sources to construct a veritable fortress of erudition. This updated second edition stands up to all contenders as the most solid introduction to the later Roman Empire.” –Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder

“S. Mitchell's second edition provides a lucid and informed reading of the period. The inclusion of recent advances in archaeology is most necessary for understanding the changes that took place over these centuries, and the new chapter 13 is a welcome overview of the perennial debate over the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It serves as a wonderful introduction to the complexities of this period.” –Michele Renee Salzman, University of California, Riverside

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