Recommend to your Librarian

From Rome to Byzantium AD 363 to 565

The Transformation of Ancient Rome

A. D. Lee

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Between the deaths of the Emperors Julian (363) and Justinian (565), the Roman Empire underwent momentous changes.  Most obviously, control of the west was lost to barbarian groups during the fifth century, and although parts were recovered by Justinian, the empire's centre of gravity shifted irrevocably to the east, with its focal point now the city of Constantinople.  Equally important was the increasing dominance of Christianity not only in religious life, but also in politics, society and culture. 

Doug Lee charts these and other significant developments which contributed to the transformation of ancient Rome and its empire into Byzantium and the early medieval west.  By emphasising the resilience of the east during late antiquity and the continuing vitality of urban life and the economy, this volume offers an alternative perspective to the traditional paradigm of decline and fall.

Key features:
• Provides a clear analytical narrative of pivotal political, military, and religious developments
• Complements this with an examination of overarching trends in urban life and the economy
• Gives particular attention to the dynamics of political and religious power and of Roman-barbarian relations during the fifth century


List of Maps
List of Illustrations
Series Editor’s Preface
Author’s Preface
1. The Constantinian Inheritance
Part I: The Later Fourth Century
2. Emperors, Usurpers and Frontiers
3. Towards a Christian Empire
4. Old Rome, New Rome
Part II: The Long Fifth Century
5. Generalissimos and Imperial Courts
6. Barbarians and Romans
7. Church and State, Piety and Power
8. Anastasius and the Resurrection of Imperial Power
9. Rome’s Heirs in the West
Part III: Longer-Term Trends
10. Urban Continuity and Change
11. Economic Patterns
Part IV: The Age of Justinian
12. Justinian and the Roman Past
13. Justinian and the Christian Present
14. Justinian and the End of Antiquity
Lists of rulers
List of bishops of Rome
A guide to further reading
Select bibliography of modern works

About the Author

Doug Lee is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Information and Frontiers: Late Roman Foreign Relations (1993), Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook (2000), and War in Late Antiquity: A Social History (2007), as well as contributing chapters to the Cambridge Ancient History.


The book has many virtues. Accuracy, as Housman remarked, is a duty not a virtue, but Lee is extremely accurate in comparison to some of his competitors. University students must surely comprise the majority of the target audience and Lee does not forget the book’s didactic purpose... A fine achievement.

- Gavin Kelly, University of Edinburgh , Bryn Mawr Classical Review

This rich, clear analytical narrative of two centuries of dramatic change unravels the complexities of seismic religious transformation, major cultural realignment as well as the political and military changes that shifted Europe’s focus from Rome to Byzantium and that still influence the shape of Europe. An excellent overview of the period.

- Michael Whitby, University of Birmingham

Lee not only provides his readers with the most up-to-date Anglophone scholarship, but also takes note of key publications in French, German and Italian, thus transcending this book's primary target audience of students — many of whom will rarely have mastered all relevant languages — and making it just as valuable for scholars... As it stands, this is the most thorough yet accessible overview of Imperial Rome's twilight centuries since Ernst Stein's Histoire du Bas-Empire. The present reviewer could think of no higher endorsement.

- Jeroen Wijnendaele, Ghent University, Acta Classica

Inspection Copy

You must log in or register to request an inspection copy.

Also in this series