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Late Roman Spain and Its Cities (Ancient Society and History)by Michael Kulikowski
Synopses & Reviews
"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." — American Historical Review
Book News Annotation:
Kulikowski (history, U. of Tennessee) rests his history of late Roman Spain on the propositions that recent source criticism requires a fundamental reevaluation of political and institutional history, that continuity is commonly underestimated in evaluating the transition from early Roman days to late antiquity, and that literary sources must be evaluated on the basis of the material archaeological evidence. He examines the establishment of the cities, the institutions to which they gave rise, and their continuity into late antiquity. The impact of the Diocletianatic reforms on Spain's place within the empire is the subject of a chapter of its own. Kulikowski further offers a revision of the political history from A.D. 400 to circa 500 and considers the evidence for Christianity during this time period.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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.
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History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General