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Late Roman Spain and Its Cities

Paperback
, 510 pages

8 halftones, 14 line drawings

ISBN:
9780801898327
August 2004
$45.00

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Late Roman Spain and Its Cities

Winner of an Honorable Mention in the Association of American Publishers’ Professional and Scholarly Publishing Awards in Classics and Archeology

The history of Spain in late antiquity offers important insights into the dissolution of the western Roman empire and the emergence of medieval Europe. Nonetheless, scholarship on Spain in this period has lagged behind that on other Roman provinces. Michael Kulikowski draws on the most recent archeological and literary evidence to integrate late antique Spain into the broader history of the Roman empire, providing a definitive narrative and analytical account of the Iberian peninsula from A.D. 300 to 600.

Kulikowski begins with a concise introduction to the early history of Roman Spain, and then turns to the Diocletianic reforms of 293 and their long-term implications for Roman administration and the political ambitions of post-Roman contenders. He goes on to examine the settlement of barbarian peoples in Spain, the end of Roman rule, and the imposition of Gothic power in the fifth and sixth centuries. In parallel to this narrative account, Kulikowski offers a wide-ranging thematic history, focusing on political power, Christianity, and urbanism.

Kulikowski's portrait of late Roman Spain offers some surprising conclusions. With new archeological evidence and a fresh interpretation of well-known literary sources, Kulikowski contradicts earlier assertions of a catastrophic decline of urbanism, finding that the physical and social world of the Roman city continued well into the sixth century despite the decline of Roman power. This groundbreaking study will prompt further reassessments of the other Roman provinces and of medieval Spanish history.

Michael Kulikowski is a professor and head of the Department of History at Pennsylvania State University.

"This book will result in a significant re-evaluation of the way we view late and post-Roman Spain."

"Late antiquity is emerging as a field in its own right, and an earlier review... noted three essential works. Kulikowski's is a fourth."

"This book makes a valuable contribution with its vivid presentation and synthesis of recent Spanish archaeological research."

"Kulikowski has succeeded in laying the foundations for ever more detailed enquiries about the history of a period which scholars are less and less ready to characterize as 'of limited interest' and 'transitional.'"

"Kulikowski's book is one of extraordinary sweep, vision, and scholarship... Provides a comprehensive picture of Roman urban institutions and society in Spain, as well as a detailed examination of their transformation into the Christian world of the early Middle Ages in a fashion that is at once accessible, informed, and illuminating."

"A valuable and fascinating contribution... which shows us how the history of this period should be written."

"This thought-provoking and stimulating study demands a fundamental reappraisal of some of the long-standing assumptions of social and urban transformation: not only in Spain, but in the western empire as a whole."

"Well-produced and easy to use... Extremely useful."

"A powerful and important contribution to debates about the nature of the peninsula at this time."

"Has the merit of introducing the Anglophone reader reader to the most recent archaeological research from Spain and Portugal, a subject he knows very well."

"A narrative history of Spain from AD 400 to 500, the establishment of a Gothickingdom in the early 6th century and what this meant for the mechanics and institutions of town and city life, complete the work."

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