Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Shop Suki Ad Campaign Pieces Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Amazon Fire TV Shop now Halloween Pets Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Voyage Listen in Prime Learn more Shop now
FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Power and Persuasion in L... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by Wordery
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: This fine as new copy should be with you within 7-8 working days via Royal Mail. This title is print on demand.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Curti Lectures) Paperback – 31 Oct 1992

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
£9.65 £10.51
£17.50 FREE Delivery in the UK. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Curti Lectures)
  • +
  • The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise And Function In Latin Christianity, Enlarged Edition
  • +
  • The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000 (Making of Europe)
Total price: £59.92
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product details

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


The ability to provide fresh approaches to issues that date back to Gibbon s mordant phrases is surely one of the qualities that has made Peter Brown, now at Princeton, the preeminent contemporary historian of late antiquity. Carl L. Bankston III, "Commonwealth""

About the Author

Peter Brown is the Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. He has also taught at Oxford University, the University of London, and the University of California. Among his many books are "The Body and Society, The Cult of the Saints, Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity," and "Augustine of Hippo.""

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Petrus Brown deus est 14 Oct. 2003
By Michael Taylor - Published on
Format: Paperback
Peter Brown, professor of History at Princeton University is the father of the field of Late Antiquity and this monograph is yet another invaluable contribution. While most people believe the popular fallacy that the Roman Empire was in a state of decline in the 4th Century, Professor Brown shows us the Roman state at the peak of its power. He discusses what bound the various local elite to the emperor, arguring that a shared sense of education and culture provided a crucial sense of coherency to the Empire. In addition, he discusses the nature of public largess in the late empire, how local nobles maintained their positions as "nourishers of the cities."
He chronicles a world undergoing intense change, and the focus of the book is largly how the Christian clergy adopts traditional methods of "power and persuasion" to establish itself as the leading power in cities.
Students of Classics tend to ignore the 4th and 5th centuries, brusquely declaring them "medieval" and thus inconsequential to a student of Rome's classical glory. Brown's book brings to life a dynamic and important moment in Roman history, a moment at once rooted in traditional Roman values, yet at the same time caught up in a whirlwind of religious change. As always, Professor Brown writes with a humane and style, making the book a joy to read.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Excellent and exciting presentation of a key historical moment 12 Mar. 2008
By Wes Howard-Brook - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Brown is one of the greatest living historians of the 4th-6th centuries and this book is a fine example of the quality and incisive nature of his insights and writing.

In four clear and concise chapters, Brown offers deeply clarifying and engaging examples of how the Roman Empire was "christianized:" not in moving closer to embodying the Way of Jesus Christ, but in shifting power from the old urban elite to the bishops and their clergy. The key theme is the shift from focus on the power of local elites to contain and control imperial governors to the "love of the poor" which expanded and transformed the social understanding of civic identity and its relationship to "the center" of imperial power in Rome. Brown shows clearly how theology and politics are never separate by offering numerous illustrations of how the state of the Roman Empire greatly shaped the power shift he documents and describes so clearly.

These lectures are an easy to read foundation for understanding both the Roman world of the 4th-6th centuries and the ways in which that world shaped the christological doctrines that have remained at the heart of the creeds professed by Catholics and Protestants alike to this day.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Persuasive History! 18 Sept. 2012
By Bror Erickson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently told a friend that I don't study history so as to avoid repeating it. That is an exercise in futility. I study history so that when it repeats, I can ride along in style.
We live in a time when things are changing, perhaps more than they ever have in the history of man. The times are volatile, and there is no common footing, mutual understanding, the narratives have been destroyed, our leaders no longer even know their history much less understand it. The problems of the third fourth and fifth centuries, the problems of late antiquity have returned.
For that reason Peter Brown's insights into that fateful era are of infinite worth for understanding what is happening today, and perhaps understanding what needs to be done to help things along, to ride it out, to capture influence. The book gives phenomenal insights into the economy of power, what gained a man power, how power was to be wielded, what went in to being a citizen, and what was at stake. Perhaps I betray my own Christian background when I say these things have not changed, perhaps they have morphed a little since then, but people are people. We still need the same things, we want the same things, and our deepest needs and wants are sometimes things we are unaware of. This book allows a person to reflect on the differences and parallels to our own times and society.
As always Peter Brown writes in a fascinating and engaging manner with interesting insight gleaned from what could pass as boring material if you were someone else. In short he understands the paideia of which he writes. In doing so he elucidates late antiquity with daylight of understanding, rectifying false interpretations of history, perhaps correcting myths of understanding. I could not put this book down. Peter Brown shows why a degree in political science is really a degree in history.
For pastors, this book is of incredible value. This is a period of time in which giants of the church and theology took great strides in shaping and forming who we are as Western Christians. It was a time when the church began, perhaps not as innocently as we would like to believe, to wield power. But that power came with a price. As bishops and other church men took over positions of power in the politics of empire, and the Bible came to replace Homer, interpretations of the Bible were given new meaning. When the position of "philosopher", who was to be a buffer and arbitrator, was taken over by priests, monks, and holy men then the ascetic lifestyle of the philosopher came to be their lifestyle. To this day this is reflected in the piety a pastor or priest is supposed to have, a piety not so much derived from scripture, as it is from the philosopher's paideia, the his learning, instruction and manner of life which gave him power in the face of governors and emperors. The idea of being baptized later in life, after you had sown your oats, and were willing to truly take on "true Christianity" as the higher paideia of the philosopher, came about at this time, and is reflected in the life of Gregory Nazianzen. This became a time when becoming a bishop was good reason to divorce your wife, and then to converse with her for the purpose of taking care of family business was reason enough to be deposed. (Pg. 138, ftn 93.) One can see from this how the idea of digamy, and not, bigamy, polygamy or womanizing, comes to form the interpretation of 1 Timothy 3 as justification for this new form of asceticism among the clergy, in a letter meant to speak out against such asceticism!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Important insight and solid history from one of the best 29 Jun. 2012
By Aceto - Published on
Format: Paperback
Truth telling is ordinarily irrelevant or annoying to power. Most media is mere echo chamber for the talking points of whatever power happens to be in. Similarly, for most Greeks and Romans of means, Demosthenes and Cicero were more fairytale figures in stories these peoples wanted to believe about themselves. We are familiar with many a golden age gone dross.

The Emperor was the Decider. You may be permitted to trundle in from your province and speak your piece. But killing the messenger was rather commonplace, especially if there was anything except the respectful silence and sotto voce groveling once the Emperor had risen from his seat. Professor Brown mentions a delegation from Sardis (the one before the popular Broadway bar), feeling afterwards for their heads, making sure they were still attached.

Still, in a far reaching empire of 104 districts, the local elites held both the benefit of belonging and the benefit of distance. Emperors spent not much time on their roads apart from summer vacation to the villa. Mostly, they dispatched limited term governors who were best served by keeping peace with their local elites, especially with the Legions away on the frontiers. Pilate washing his hands comes to mind.

That most Greek of cultural cornerstones, liberal education, featuring rhetoric, formed their virtual highway upon the Roman road. As once was true in sport as in war, personal excellence in education and rhetorical skill are what really persisted into and flourished with the Roman Age.

"Timing is everything." The stand-up will tell you. So a polished speech must delivered with perfect poise, deportment, carriage and bearing. Those are much to put over all as one appearance. Think of the perfect balance and stance of the Greek statue, extend it to voice and movement, to launch the perfect words. Here is the staged harmony of content, appearance and sound. Then think of Ross Perot. "Can I finish?" No, not with a spear in your neck.

You needed every and any psychological edge. Anger carried stigma; worse, it invited corporal punishment, always a prerogative of the state.

The Philosopher became the special emissary of truth. Highly educated and well spoken, the Philosopher was freed from normal society and free to intervene. Fearless, the Philosopher was sometimes burnished by torture - the ticket to the show. Death was rare; after all, 90% of gladiators retired comfortably. Death did come to Hypatia, the great Greek Mathematician Philosopher in Egypt, at the hands of Christian terrorists. You might like the film Agora which is nicely faithful and unusually accurate to the history. Rachel Weisz dies more gently but gives a commanding performance as Hypatia.

Professor Brown is no soppy romantic idealist. He states clearly that the term "philosopher" has become shop-soiled from abuse. He is one of the best Classical scholars of any age. He has done landmark work in late antiquity and in the rise of Christianity. He recently completely rewrote his masterpiece on this subject because of feverish scholarship and discovery in this field since he first published - no mere revised edition.

The Philosopher still, in the post Demosthenes and Cicero Age, could become the privileged advisor. Themistius, we are told, who was made proconsul of Constantinople under Constantius II, refused the grand salary. Thereby he remained advisor to the many subsequent Emperors for thirty years.

Enter the Christians. In particular here come the monks. Suddenly they were everywhere. And they were not much popular with the local notables, whose world was being turned upside down. The educated elite of the old classical world were being overwhelmed by the popular crowd. "Any old woman", Augustine quipped, could be baptized into the inner circle. This was still tat time when the bible, so to speak, was accessible by all. Holy Cow, for want of a better image, the last really can be first. Big time, to quote Jerome. The Church Fathers could have been strictly Via Madison types, Ambrose and these just mentioned - - all Madmen.

As the fourth century wore on, the shift to Christianity was appreciated by the local notables, who jumped on the cart. The bishop became a vital connection to the Imperial government. Here is Professor Brown:

In the name of a religion that claimed to challenge the values of the elite, upper-class Christians gained control of the lower classes of the cities.

De facto temporal power thus accrued to the bishops. Flavian of Antioch dashed off to see the Emperor Theodosius, attempting to head-off a wagon wreck. Fabian, sorry, Flavian had a media moment. He engaged the boys' choir to sing the petitions. They brought down the house; and Theo bawled like Peter Ustinov into his cup. As Professor Brown understates: It was a good sign.

In case you are curious, the Flavian flap was over the Riot of the Statues in 387. The statues of Theodosius and his Empress were toppled and dragged into talcum powder. It was a more convincing predecessor of the Sadam statue, where the camera, in the unofficial footage, panned back to a square empty of people. Cheers were dubbed later.

Professor Peter Brown wrote his lectures of 1988 at University of Wisconsin at Madison, honoring Merle Curti, into this 1992 book of just 158 pages of important scholarship.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In Praise of "Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity" 10 Nov. 2014
By Brother Cadfael - Published on
Format: Paperback
Peter Brown is a skilled historian of late antiquity who provides fascinating details and insightful and original observations in his excellent book. I found his prose to be humorous and ironic.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know