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Imperial Rome AD 284 to 363

The New Empire

Jill Harries

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This book is about the reinvention of the Roman Empire during the eighty years between the accession of Diocletian and the death of Julian. How had it changed? The emperors were still warriors and expected to take the field. Rome was still the capital, at least symbolically. There was still a Roman senate, though with new rules brought in by Constantine. There were still provincial governors, but more now and with fewer duties in smaller areas; and military command was increasingly separated from civil jurisdiction and administration. The neighbours in Persia, Germania and on the Danube were more assertive and better organised, which had a knock-on effect on Roman institutions. The achievement of Diocletian and his successors down to Julian was to create a viable apparatus of control which allowed a large and at times unstable area to be policed, defended and exploited.

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Maps and illustrations
Chapter 1, The Long Third Century
Chapter 2, Four lords of the world, AD 284-311
Chapter 3, The Empire renewed
Chapter 4, The Return of the Old Gods
Chapter 5, The victory of Constantine
Chapter 6, Towards the sunrise: Constantine Augustus
Chapter 7, Constructing the Christian emperor
Chapter 8, The sons of Constantine
Chapter 9, Warfare and Imperial Security AD 337-361
Chapter 10, Church and Empire
Chapter 11, Images of women
Chapter 12, Rome and Antioch
Chapter 13, Julian Augustus
Chapter 14, The funeral director
Guide to Further Reading
Bibliography of Modern Works Cited

About the Author

Jill Harries is Professor of Ancient History and head of school at the University of St Andrews. Her books include Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of Rome (Oxford University Press, 1994) and Law and Empire in Late Antiquity (Cambridge University Press 1999, paperback 2001).


This elegant and exciting book offers a fresh approach to understanding "early" late Antiquity. The breadth of vision is impressive. Jill Harries' triumph is to place Constantine and his promotion of Christianity in the context of a fully-rounded history of the Roman Empire from Diocletian to Julian.
- Dr Christopher Kelly, University of Cambridge
Harries' impressive work highlights the benefits of assessing imperial religious policy not as a unique field of enquiry, but within a holistic view of the emperor's relationship with his empire.
- Richard Flower, University of Sheffield, The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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