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End of Antiquity: Archaeology, Society and Religion in Early Medieval Western Europe Paperback – 10 Jan 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (10 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752440829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752440828
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,183,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A magnificent new book' -- Current Archaeology 'Clear exposition of the considerable amount of archaeology that has recently been done in the area for this period.' -- British Archaeology 'For this well written, well illustrated and scholarly book, he has placed all students of Late Antiquity in his debt' - Antiquaries Journal 'A book of prodigious learning.' -- Britannia 'A masterly synthesis' -- Minerva

About the Author

Jeremy Knight was born and brought up in the Roman legionary fortress of Caerleon. Until his retirement he worked As an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in both what is now English Heritage and Cadw (Welsh Historic Monuments). This, his first full-length book, is the outcome of many years, travel, research and reflection.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We all learn at school that the Roman Empire fell, and that we then had the Dark Ages, in which nothing much happened for 500 years. In truth, of course, the Eastern Empire (Byzantium) went on in wealth and vigour till the 15th century, and the Western Empire didn't fall like a tree, but declined and fragmented under a range of pressures and crises.

When the Dark Ages finish, we find a Europe dominated by the Catholic Church, or Church of Rome - a hegemony which lasts for another thousand years and more. How did the official religion of the late Roman Empire come to dominate post-Roman politics in the West?

Knight examines the developing role of the church infrastructure in the late Roman Empire, and traces how as the central imperial power loosens its grip, the church uses the pattern of Roman administration to spread across the former imperial territory, replacing the secular authority with a religious one. Thus a Roman empire based on power gives way to a Roman empire based on ideology.

This is not a light read, and readers with some prior knowledge of archaeology will find it an easier ride. Much of Knight's best evidence comes from Gaul, though there is enough about the rest of Europe to fully understand what is happening, and much fascinating stuff along the way. Anyone interested in either the Roman Empire or the history of Europe will learn much from it. Though it is primarily aimed at students, I found the style accessible and lucid and I have no archaeological training, so the interested amateur should be OK with it.

Related to this subject; more accessibly written but much wider-ranger and MUCH longer, is Chris Wickham's "The Inheritance of Rome" in the Penguin History of Europe series.
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Format: Paperback
This book requires the reader to have specialist knowledge in archeology to understand much of the terminology. Fairly indigestible stuff and full of cross-references. Not light reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The transition from the Classical World to Medieval Europe. 20 April 2002
By Mark Howells - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Focusing on the economic and military problems facing Gaul in the third century, the author concludes that this time of troubles represented a "mid-life crisis" rather than a "decline and fall".
Besides it's consideration of Gaul in this period, the author also touches on Britain and Iberia. Themes include the transformation of cities, the role of clerics in civic government, the Christianization of the countryside, and the Atlantic interface of trade and travel.
An enjoyable read using evidence from both archæology and from the surviving written sources.
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