Classics/History 222

The Later Roman Empire

Spring 2009

207 481 Main Street

TR 11:30-12:45

Required Texts (all also on reserve):

Ammianus Marcellinus The Later Roman Empire
St. Augustine Confessions
Early Christian Lives
Eusebius The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine
Gregory of Tours A History of the Franks
Procopius The Secret History

Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity AD 150-750
Stephen Mitchell, A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641: the Transformation of the Ancient World

Recommended Texts (on reserve):

Averil Cameron, The Later Roman Empire, AD 284-430
A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284-602
Ernest Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire

You can find an interesting overview of the period at this link

And at this site a Narrative: Gallienus to Theodosius I

List of Roman Emperors from Augustus to Heraclius

The very useful De Imperatoribus Romanis

General Bibliography

Ancient Sources

There are translated texts of many of the early church fathers as well as Eutropius' Breviarium and some of the orations of Julian and Libanius, letters from Libanius to Julian, Eunapius of Sardis Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists, Ammianus Marcellinus, and Zosimus at
Lacus Curtius has a variety of texts and other features
Paul Halsall's Internet Medieval Sourcebook also contains a variety of texts relating to the end of the classical world and Byzantine history

Some brief advice on research projects

What to read before each class: read for the date listed all ancient sources (given first) and modern literature, whether the textbook or journal articles. Everything listed before the entry "Possible topics" is required of all students. In addition, choose one or more items from the bibliography (or bibliographies) listed below the topics and read it/them, making notes. Write up a short analysis of this extra reading and send me an electronic report at least once a month. You can paste it into the body of an e-mail or send as an attachment; if an attachment, my computer is not happy with .docx, only with .doc.

In the bibliographies, most periodicals are listed by abbreviation, not full name. To decipher the abbreviation, look in L'Année philologique, the bibliographic database for ancient studies, in the beginning of any recent volume. You can find this in the reference room (Z7016 .A56); there is another copy at 481 Main Street room 207. This bibliographical resource lists all books published about classical themes, and where, if anywhere, the books have been reviewed. It is also a veritable treasure house of information on articles in learned journals, many of which can be found in the UVM library. Instructions on using L'Année philologique

Items in the bibliographies that are journal articles and followed by a seven-digit number (e.g., 48-09577) cannot be found in the UVM library; the numbers provided are L'Année philologique accession numbers, useful to know if you want to order one or more of these through interlibrary loan (e.g., for your research projects). The first two numbers are the volume number of L'Année philologique, the last five are the entry (not page) number: see instructions at the link above.

Office hours:  Tuesday 9:00-10:00, Thursday 10:00-11:00 and by appointment

13  Introduction to the importance of being Trajan

Two files you should look at:
Bad Emperors
SHA chart
Start reading Eusebius; finish by 10 February
15 Trajan: optimus princeps?
Pliny Panegyricus (if you can find a copy in English) and Epistles Book 10 and books 1.5 (III), 9.13 (CI)
Pliny's Letters

Richard T. Bruère. "Tacitus and Pliny's Panegyricus," CPh 49 (1954) 161-79
K. H. Waters. "Traianus Domitiani Continuator," AJPh 90 (1969) 385-405
Barbara Scardigli. "Da Traianus optimus princeps a Traianus optimus Augustus," QUCC 18 (1974) 57-103 (I have a xerox)
Andrew Wallace-Hadrill. "The Emperor and His Virtues," Historia 30 (1981) 298-323
Mark P.O. Morford. "Iubes esse liberos: Pliny's Panegyricus and liberty," AJPh 113 (1992) 575-93
Nicole Méthy. Éloge rhétorique et propagande politique sous le Haut-Empire: l'exemple du Panégyrique de Trajan," MEFRA 2000 112(1) 365-411
Andrew Berriman and Malcolm Todd. "A Very Roman Coup: The Hidden War of Imperial Succession, AD 96-98," Historia 50 (2001) 312-331.
Roger Rees. "To be and not to be: Pliny's paradoxical Trajan," BICS 45 (2001) 149-168
Carlos F. Noreña. "The Communication of the Emperor's Virtues," JRS 91 (2001) 146-168
Stanley E. Hoffer. "Divine Comedy? Accession Propaganda in Pliny, Epistles 10.1-2 and the 'Panegyric''," JRS 96 (2006) 73-87

Recommended also:

Schowalter, Daniel Neal. The Relationship between the Emperor and the Gods: Images from Pliny's Panegyricus and Other Sources from the Time of Trajan. Harvard Univ. Cambridge, Mass., 1989. 268 p. DA 50 (1989-1990) 2533A. (Dissertation Abstracts Z5053 .D57) (Saint Mike's has the book by this name published in 1993)
Siat, Jeannine. "La persécution des chrétiens au début du IIe s. d'après la lettre de Pline le Jeune et la réponse de Trajan en 112," LEC 1995 63 (2) : 161-170.
Carlos F. Noreña. "The Social Economy of Pliny's Correspondence with Trajan," AJPh 128 (2007) 239-277.
Bennett, Julian. Trajan, Optimus Princeps: a Life and Times. DG294 .B46 1997
Fell, Martin. Optimus Princeps? Anspruch und Wirklichkeit der imperialen Programmatik Kaiser Traians. DG294 .F45 2001
20 The provinces
Brown chapter I

Pick a province from the list. Find out basic things about this province: what is this area now called? when and how did the Romans become involved there and when did it becomes a province? what are some basic things about the peoples in the province (major cities, if any, language(s), customs, religions)? The best place to find concise information is Brill's New Pauly: encyclopaedia of the ancient world, which can be found in the Reference Room of the library, call number DE5 .N4813 2002.
List of Provinces

Here is a Map of the Roman Provinces to get you started thinking. Not all of these will necessarily be on the list which you will see in class, because the numbers and sometimes names of the provinces changed from time to time. For example, if you click on Sicily (Sicilia) on this map you get the province Italia, into which Sicily was incorporated after Italy was treated like the rest of the empire.

What to do with this assignment: tell me by the end of next week (i.e. 23 January) what province you have chosen. You do not need to make a presentation or hand in anything but may be called on at any time to provide basic information on your province.

22 Late antiquity: reality or perception?

Brown chapter II, Mitchell chapters 1-2

Frank M. Clover and R. Stephen Humphreys, "Toward a Definition of Late Antiquity," in Tradition and Innovation in Late Antiquity 3-19
Peter Brown and others. "'The World of Late Antiquity' Revisited," SO72 (1997) 5-30
Bryan Ward-Perkins, "The Making of Late Antiquity," in J. Drinkwater and B. Salway, edd., Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected: Essays Presented by Colleagues, Friends, and Pupils. London 2007. DG311 .W63 2007. Pt. 1

27 Diocletian and Maximian

Panegyric of Maximian (289 CE), In Praise of Later Roman Emperors 41-75; Eutropius 9.18-28; Aurelius Victor Liber de Caesaribus 38-39; Gregory of Tours 1.32-35

Mitchell chapter 3.47-62

Possible topics:
Iovius and Herculius
Carausius in Britain
Dyarchy and tetrarchy
Sviatoslav Dmitriev. "'Good Emperors' and Emperors of the Third Century," Hermes 132 (2004) 211-224
Bill Leadbetter. "Best of Brothers: Fraternal Imagery in Panegyrics on Maximian Herculius," CPh 99 (2004) 257-266 and "'Patrimonium indivisum'? the Empire of Diocletian and Maximian, 285-289," Chiron 28 (1998) 213-228. APh 69-10045

29 Diocletian and the Tetrarchy

The Price Edict (translation), distributed in class; Eumenius, For the Restoration of the Schools, In Praise of Later Roman Emperors 145-177; Epitome de Caesaribus 38-40

Gunnar Ellingsen. "Some Functions of Imperial Images in Tetrarchic Politics," SO 78 (2003) 30-44.
Roger Rees. "Images and Image: a Re-Examination of Tetrarchic Iconography," G & R 40 (1993) 181-200.

Possible topics:
Diocletian's Edict on Maximum Prices and reform of the currency
Retirement of Diocletian and Maximian
Maintaining the tetrarchy
An image of tetrarchic unity

Some bibliography relating to Diocletian and the tetrarchy
Some bibliography pertaining to Diocletian and finances; mostly relating to the Edict on Maximum Prices

3 Christians in the Roman Empire and the Last Persecution
Eusebius book 7, Lactantius De Mortibus Persecutorum 1-24
Those who are interested can find translations of the early churchfathers at the Early Church Fathers site; the letters of Cyprian, a valuable source for the third century, are in Volume V of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

Mitchell chapter 7; Brown chapters IV-V

James Boykin Rives. "The Decree of Decius and the Religion of Empire," JRS 89 (1999) 135-154

Possible topics:
The Decian persecution
The last great persecution: Diocletian or Galerius?
Some bibliography relating to the early Christian church and Rome
5 Constantine and Christianity, Religion and Politics
Panegyrics of Constantine (310 and 313), In Praise of Later Roman Emperors 211-253, 288-333; Lactantius De Mortibus Persecutorum 25-52; Eusebius Life of Constantine 1.15-40 (see links here; there are several choices); Eutropius 10.1-8; Liber de Caesaribus 40-42; Epitome de Caesaribus 41-44; Gregory of Tours 1.36-38; Excerpta Valesiana first part

Mitchell chapter 3.62-70, chapter 8.257-263; Brown chapters VI-VII

Ramsay MacMullen. "What Difference Did Christianity Make?" Historia 35 (1986), 322-43
Claudia Rapp. "Imperial Ideology in the Making: Eusebius of Caesarea on Constantine as 'Bishop.'" JThS 49 (1998) 685-95

Possible topics:
Constantine's vision of Apollo
Maximian and Constantine
Constantine and Crispus
Constantine's religion
Constantine's vision of the cross
The reign of Constantine in Aurelius Victor, Eutropius and the Anonymus Valesianus
Religious symbolism on Constantine's coinage

Some bibliography relating to Christians and pagans, especially after 312
Recent bibliography on Constantine

10 Constantine's successors
Ammianus books 14-19; Eutropius 10.9-18

Mitchell chapter 3.70-79

Possible topics:
The massacre after Constantine's death
Territorial problems of Constantine II, Constans, Constantius II
The revolt of Silvanus
The court of Constantius II
Gallus Caesar
12 Julian
Claudius Mamertinus Gratiarum Actio, In Praise of Later Roman Emperors 393-436; Ammianus books 20-25

Mitchell chapter 8.263-267

James J. O'Donnell. "The Demise of Paganism," Traditio 35 (1979) 45-88

Possible topics:
Julian's tenure in Gaul: military and civil activities
Julian's treatise Against the Galileans
Julian's Caesares
17 Saints' Lives; Monasticism
Athanasius Life of Antony

Brown chapter VIII
Peter Brown. "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity," JRS 61 (1971) 80-101
Peter Brown. "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity, 1971-1997," JECS 6 (1998) 353-376
Garth Fowden. "The Pagan Holy Man in Late Antique Society," JHS 102 (1982) 33-59
Brian Brennan. "Athanasius' 'Vita Antonii'. A Sociological Interpretation," VChr 39 (1985) 209-227
Philip Rousseau. "Antony as Teacher in the Greek Life" in Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity, edd. Tomas Hägg and Philip Rousseau (Berkeley 2000) 89-109.
Samuel Rubenson. "Philosophy and Simplicity: The Problem of Classical Education in Early Christian Biography" in Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity, edd. Tomas Hägg and Philip Rousseau (Berkeley 2000) 110-137.

19 Valentinian and His Family
Ammianus books 26-30; Ausonius Gratiarum Actio; Epitome de Caesaribus 45-47; Gregory of Tours 1.39-48

Mitchell chapter 3.79-84

Possible topics:
The revolt of Procopius
Death of Theodosius the elder
Elevation of Valentinian II
Valens and the opposition


24 Adrianople; Sassanians
Ammianus book 31

Noel Lenski. "Initium mali Romano imperio: Contemporary Reactions to the Battle of Adrianople," TAPhA 127 (1997) 129-168.

Possible topics:
Why didn't Valens wait for Gratian?
The battle of Adrianople
Roman-Persian negotiations
Bibliography on the Sassanians
Bibliography on Adrianople, causes, and aftermath
26 Christianissimus princeps
Pacatus Panegyric of Theodosius, In Praise of Later Roman Emperors 437-516; Epitome de Caesaribus 48; Symmachus On the Altar of Victory; Ambrose's reply: Ep. 17

Mitchell chapter 2.84-96

Diptych of the Symmachi

Possible topics:
Theodosius and Magnus Maximus
Religious legislation

3 Town Meeting Day

5 Outsiders, including the historian

Brown chapter III

Possible topics:
Ammianus' sympathies
The eastern policy of Stilicho
Stilicho and Alaric
The execution of Stilicho
Bibliography on Ammianus
Bibliography on Stilicho (inter alios)
17 End of the Empire in the West
Sulpicius Severus Life of St Martin of Tours (in Early Christian Lives); Sacred History of Sulpicius Severus; read 2.46 (II.XLVI) to end; Procopius' History: Sack of Rome under Alaric and Vandals under Gaiseric conquer North Africa

Brown chapter X; Mitchell chapter 4.101-120

Possible topics:
Galla Placidia
Reaction to events of 410
19 Rome
Rutilius Namatianus De reditu suo; Gregory the Great Life of Benedict (in Early Christian Lives)

Lellia Cracco Ruggini. "Rome in Late Antiquity: Clientship, Urban Topography, and Prosopography," CPh 98 (2003) 366-382

Possible topics:
The idea of Romanitas
The prejudices of Rutilius Namatianus
24 Senators and Bishops
Sidonius Apollinaris Letters book I.II, IX, XI; III.III; VII.I, VI; VIII.IX

Introduction to the Letters of Sidonius; Brown chapters IX-X

Possible topics:
Sidonius' verse panegyrics
Sidonius' political choices
The bishopric as refuge
26 Barbarians and the Roman army

An English translation of Jordanes History of the Goths

Possible topics:
Aetius and Valentinian III

31 Merovingian Gaul

Gregory of Tours book 2

Brian Brennan. "Venantius Fortunatus: Byzantine Agent?", Byzantion 65 (1995) 7-16 OR (same author) "The Career of Venantius Fortunatus," Traditio 41 (1985) 49-78
Yitzhak Hen. "Clovis, Gregory of Tours, and pro-Merovingian Propaganda," RBPh 71 (1993) 271-276
Brown chapter XI

Possible topics:
Ruricius of Limoges
Venantius Fortunatus


1 By this date, you should have done the following:
Sent me two installments of synopses of outside reading
Chosen a topic for your research paper

2 The Economy

Mitchell, chapter 9; John Drinkwater, "Patronage in Roman Gaul and the Problem of the Bagaudae," in Patronage in Ancient Society (see general bibliography) 189-203

Possible topics:
The Bagaudae
The elements of taxation after Diocletian

7 Augustine
Augustine Confessions books 1-8

Mitchell chapter 8.268-295

Please visit James O'Donnell's web pages on Augustine, Boethius and Cassiodorus
The site devoted to Augustine has many resources, including texts and bibliography

Possible topics:
Augustine on just war and other problems
The kingdom of God

9 Ostrogothic Italy, Vandal Africa

Gregory of Tours books 3-5

Mitchell chapter 6

Possible topics:
Boethius and Theoderic
Justinian's plan to reunite the Roman empire
Procopius and Belisarius
14 Justinian
Procopius Secret History

Brown chapter XII; Mitchell chapter 4.120-148

Possible topics:
The accession of Justin I
Justinian and the silk industry
The Nika rebellion
Closing the philosophical schools at Athens
The end of the consulship
Justinian's pragmatic sanction of 554
Justinian's peace treaty with Persia in 561-2

Archaeology Magazine has an article on the restoration of Hagia Sophia

16 The Franks
Einhard Life of Charlemagne

Mitchell chapter 10

Possible topics:
Gregory of Tours and the Franks
Divine(ly sanctioned) kingship
21 Justinian's successors
Brown chapters XIII-XIV; Mitchell chapter 11


23 The last Persian war

Brown chapters XV-XVI; Mitchell chapter 12

Retrospective or prospective

Possible topics:
Costs of Persian-Roman strife
Heraclius: the first Byzantine emperor?
The theme system

28 West meets East, again

Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona, visited Constantinople as envoy of Otto II near the turn of the first millennium. Here is an account of his visit.

Last updated: 22 April 2009
Send Comments to: Barbara Rodgers,
Copyright © 2009 Barbara Saylor Rodgers
All Rights Reserved.