History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641
Beginning with the accession of the emperor Diocletian, this book presents a historical survey of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, from ad 284 to 641. The historical origins of medieval and modern Europe and of the Islamic world can be traced back to this period, during which the Roman Empire underwent huge political and religious transformations. This volume contains a substantial narrative of political and military events, highlighting major episodes such as the conversion of Constantine, the creation in the East of the pious Christian state, and the resurgence of Roman ambition under the emperor Justinian. In a group of thematic chapters, the book considers the nature of the late Roman state, the emergence and character of the western barbarian kingdoms, the epochal religious changes of late antiquity, and major aspects of economy and society. The final chapters address the decline of the empire by examining the period between the outbreak of the Great Plague of 542 and the eclipse of Roman power in the Near East in the seventh century, resulting from a final great war with the Persian Empire and the emerging power of Islam among the Arabs. Chronological tables, maps, and charts of important information are included to help orient the reader, and a bibliographical survey supports further study and research.