The World of Late Antiquity (CLA3108)
The puzzle of what brought the Roman empire to its eventual end is the most hotly debated question in the history of history. In this module, you will be given the opportunity to add your own answer to the many that have been proposed over the centuries, as we explore how the unified, pagan Roman world of the first and second centuries A.D. came to fall apart and be replaced by the many different Christian kingdoms of the early Middle Ages. There is, however much more to the study of late antiquity than the (admittedly fascinating) enigma of the end of empire: more written material survives from this period than from any other within the ancient world, and we will be using it not only to illuminate political history, but also as a window into a variety of literary, cultural, religious and social aspects of the period from c. A.D. 284 to 565. In doing so, you will be invited to explore the development of new power structures and forms of cultural expression that took place during this period, as well as considering the major interpretive questions concerning continuity versus change and competing grand narratives for the end of the ancient world.