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The Making of Late Antiquity (Carl Newell Jackson Lectures) Hardcover – December 12, 1978


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Product Details

  • Series: Carl Newell Jackson Lectures (Book 1976)
  • Hardcover: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 5th Printing edition (December 12, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674543203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674543201
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,523,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

complex and fascinating book, written with all Peter Brown's refreshing panache. We are presented with an age of vitality, where historians used to find a creeping paralysis; the canvas comes alive with the spectacular successes of individuals who belie the conventional wisdom of the stifling oppressiveness of late Roman institutions; and the cautious uncertainty of the "age of anxiety" disappears in a vigorous emphasis on the recognition and display of power...ÝBrown has shifted the emphasis of late roman studies from institutions to individuals, and to the discernment of what made late antique men "tick"--a task which he is without equal. -- E.D. Hunt "Classical Review"

About the Author

Peter Brown is Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, Princeton University. Among his publications is The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, 200-1000 A.D.

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Brown does an excellent job of introducing the reader to the period of late antiquity in this work. He is able to cover the major political, social and philosophical transition of the Roman Empire of the Antonines to the emergence of the Christian Succesor States with clarity, and accuracy. Although this work does not take an indepth look into any of the many subjects that fall in this period, it is an excellent overview, and maintains a level of scholarship that is almost unparalled in a work of this nature. The book is documented to an excellent degree, so that even the most critical reader can see where it is that Brown is comming from. I would recomend this book to anyone from the avid scholar to the most casual reader.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Likes_Books on August 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I cannot say enough about this extraordinary book. Everyone who is interested in the environment that led to the rise of Christianity will find this book fills in many details. Brown's analysis of the decline of classical Greco-Roman civilization is well done, concise, and comprehensive. I highly recommend this book!
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on August 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From an Age of Equipoise to an Age of Ambition- the Poisoning of the Classical Spirit
I found this book to be an extremely clear and well-written explanation of the decline of classical Greco-Roman civilization. The period from the second to the fourth centuries, from the Antonines to Constantine, is covered. The author makes a very good case that the cause for this decline in the classical world was primarily due to a concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. He shows this to be true in economic, political, cultural, and most especially, religious spheres. He also shows the obvious parallels with our own age without being heavy handed.
First he shows the grand show of power and tradition in the age of the Antonines to be primarily an empty hollow thing. It was the gigantism that precedes decline even if the players of the time could not see it. The societal restraints and governors that constrained individual ambition began to erode. The old code of civic virtue, of demonstrating your greatness by contributing to the benefit of the society, the polis, crumbled. Wealth was concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. The common people were forced off of the land. Bankruptcy became commonplace across the empire. Politically, power concentrated into a smaller and smaller circle centered on the court in Rome, and then Constantinople, and away from the provincial towns and capitals. Culturally and scholarly, all status depended on ones mastery of polished Greek and the ability to quote precisely from the classics (i.e. scholarship depended more on the size of your library than the size of your intellect.)
It is in the religious and spiritual sphere that this tendency to place all authority in the hands of an elite becomes the most insidious, and the most damaging.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Brown is able to establish the foundations for anyone interested in late antiquity with clarity and scholarly depth that is unparelled in the field. This book, although taking a broad picture of the period, and focusing on a shallow over view, rather than taking an indepth look into any perticular aspect of the period, is still scholarly enough to interest even the most particular historian, but will catch the interest of the beginer also. Browns conclusions are well thought out, and are based on an extensive, and acurate picture of the period. The documentation is incredible, hundreds of documents are quoted, and carefully indexed, in a book under 200 hundred pages, so the most nitpicky readers can see exactly where Brown is comming from. This should be the model for broad view scholarly work, this is truly an excellent work.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on August 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
From an Age of Equipoise to an Age of Ambition- the Poisoning of the Classical Spirit
I found this book to be an extremely clear and well-written explanation of the decline of classical Greco-Roman civilization. The period from the second to the fourth centuries, from the Antonines to Constantine, is covered. The author makes a very good case that the cause for this decline in the classical world was primarily due to a concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. He shows this to be true in economic, political, cultural, and most especially, religious spheres. He also shows the obvious parallels with our own age without being heavy handed.
First he shows the grand show of power and tradition in the age of the Antonines to be primarily an empty hollow thing. It was the gigantism that precedes decline even if the players of the time could not see it. The societal restraints and governors that constrained individual ambition began to erode. The old code of civic virtue, of demonstrating your greatness by contributing to the benefit of the society, the polis, crumbled. Wealth was concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. The common people were forced off of the land. Bankruptcy became commonplace across the empire. Politically, power concentrated into a smaller and smaller circle centered on the court in Rome, and then Constantinople, and away from the provincial towns and capitals. Culturally and scholarly, all status depended on ones mastery of polished Greek and the ability to quote precisely from the classics (i.e. scholarship depended more on the size of your library than the size of your intellect.)
It is in the religious and spiritual sphere that this tendency to place all authority in the hands of an elite becomes the most insidious, and the most damaging.
Read more ›
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