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Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation by Thomas F. X. Noble

Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation

by Thomas F. X. Noble


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Unabridged Edition
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18 Hrs.
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Edward Gibbon's stirring Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire painted an unforgettable portrait of the Roman Empire in a long, debilitating slide to oblivion, culminating in an agonizing death at the hands of barbarian savages. But two centuries after Gibbon, historians have reevaluated this picture to create a radically different understanding of the period, which they now call "late antiquity."

This new view posits several fundamental changes:

-"Barbarians" were not all one people; they weren't particularly barbaric; and they entered the empire mostly by invitation or migration—not by invasion.
-The sack of Rome by Visigoths in 410 was effectively a looting spree. Churches were spared and there was no slaughter of the population.
-The "fall" of the western Roman Empire in 476 was hardly noticed by people at the time. It was only long after the fact that it was seen as a cataclysmic event.
-Contrary to Gibbon's view of Christianity as a cause of Rome's decline, much of the empire's legacy lived on through the institutions of the church.
-Far from being a period of decline and fall, late antiquity marked one of history's great turning points. The fundamental reordering of the Roman Empire that took place spawned three great civilizations: Medieval Europe, the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic Caliphate. This startling transformation survives to the present day in many of the political, cultural, and religious traditions spanning the region from the British Isles to the Middle East—traditions that have spread their influence around the planet.

Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation takes you through five momentous centuries that link the Classical world with the modern, in 36 half-hour lectures by distinguished medieval historian Dr. Thomas F. X. Noble, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame.


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