History/Medieval Studies 303
Jones, Constantine and the Conversion of Europe
Students writing a paper should compose an essay (5 pages) to present cogent arguments on a suggested issues (or a combination of suggested issues). Student may assume a PRO or CON position, and so judge how successful was the Roman state and society in the fourth and fifth centuries. Reports should meet with me about their particular case. Students who are not presenting a paper are expected to attend discussion session and to join in class discussion.
Students writing papers may wish additional readings. The main narrative account of the fourth century comes from the last pagan historian of Rome, Ammianus Marcellinus, translated in abridged edition as The Late Roman Empire, by W. Hamilton (Penguin, 1986). The study by A. H. M. Jones, Later Roman Empire 3 vols (Oxford, 1964) has a wealth of information on all aspects of Roman society from Diocletian (284-305) to Heraclius (610-641). For introductions, consult either J. Vogt, The Decline of Rome, trans. by J. Sondheimer (London, 1967) or Averil Cameron, The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity 395-600 (New York/London, 199 3. For the late Roman bureaucracy and court consult the works by Ramsay MacMullen, Constantine (NewYork, 1969) and Corruption and the Decline of Rome (New Haven, 1988). For the role of ceremony, see S. MacCormack, Art and Ceremony in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 1981), and K. W. Harl, Civic Coins and Civic Politics in the Roman East A.D. 180-275 (Berkeley, 1987), with the latter stressing the role of Greek provincials. The reforms of Diocletian are discussed in S. Williams, Diocletian and the Roman Recovery (New York, 1985). Finances and taxes are well treated by R. MacMullen, Roman Government’s Response to Crisis (New Haven, 1972). For currency, see the relevant chapters by K. W. Harl, Coinage in the Roman Economy 300 B.C. to A.D. 700. (Baltimore, 1996). Studies on the army include E. Luttwak, Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (Baltimore, 1977) and A. Ferrill, The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Military Explanation (London, 1986). The role of German generals (magistri militum) in politics during the fifth century is the them of J. M. O’Flynn, Generalissimos of the Western Roman Empire (Edmonton, 1983). Many of the main themes of the fourth century can be followed in detail in Egypt (due to the wealth of documents surviving on papyri); see the widely ranging study by R. S. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity (Princeton, 1993).
Among the many fine works on early Christianity, a concise survey is H. Chadwick, The Early Church (Penguin, 1969); a more comprehensive one is by W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity (Philadelphia, 1984). The impact of the Persecutions is the theme of the masterful W. H. C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (London, 1961), but consult K, Hopkins, “ Murderous Games,” in Death and Renewal (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 1-30, for the pagan perspective. The best discussion of religious divisions, and their political repercussions, in the fifth century is J. Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Division, 431-681 (Crestwood, N.Y., 1989). On the issue of conversion, see R. MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire 100-400 (New Haven, 1984). For the role of bishops in society, see P. Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity Madison, 1992). The transformation of religious beliefs and cultural attitudes are brilliantly discussed by P. Brown, The Making of Late Antiquity (Cambridge, Mass, 1977).. The best study on asceticism and major intellectual developments in Christianity is P. Brown, The Body and Society in Late Antiquity (New York, 1988). For pagan beliefs, see R. MacMullen, Paganism in the Roman Empire (New Haven, 1981), and the opening chapters in S. R. F. Price, Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge, 1984). For changes in aesthetics and arts, start with H.-P. L’Orange, Art Forms and Civic Life in the Later Roman Empire (Princeton, 1965) and E. Kitzinger, Byzantine Art in the Making (Cambridge, Mass., 1977).
Procopius, Secret History
The recovery of imperial power and the cultural achievements under Justinian (527-565) are regarded as the turning point in the early Medieval world. The efforts of Justinian to restore the Roman order can be discussed for either a PRO or CON position. Reporters and the class should consider the wisdom of Justinian’s policies. It is also necessary to judge the reliability of Procopius’ criticisms in his Secret History.
The best introductions for the period are Av. Cameron, The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity 395-600 (London, 1993) and J. Herrin, The Formation of Christendom (Princeton, 1987). The biography of J. Barker, Justinian and the Later Roman Empire (Madison, 1966) must be used with care, for it is full of factual errors. The campaigns waged in the name of Justinian as well as religious policies are discussed in the fine old narrative by J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire 2 vols (London, 1889; reprinted in 2 vols for the period of 395- 565 by Dover, New York, 1958). The wars in Italy are discussed from a Gothic perspective by T. S. Burns, A History of the Ostrogoths (Bloomington, 1984). Tactics and recruitment for the army of Justinian can be found in the relevant chapters of A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 3 vols. (Oxford, 1964). Consult also the relevant essays of E.A. Thompson, Romans and Barbarians (Madison, 1982). For the finances and currency, see the relevant chapters by K. W. Harl, Coinage in the Roman Economy 300 B.C. to A.D. 700 (Baltimore, 1996).
The artistic developments are masterfully treated by E. Kitzinger, Byzantine Art in the Making (Cambridge, Mass, 1977). The religious issues of era are best approached through W. H. C. Frend, Rise of the Monophysite Movement (Cambridge, 1977) and J. Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Division, 431-681 (Crestwood, N.Y., 1989). For the asectic tradition, see P. Brown, Body and Society in Late Antiquity (New York, 1988). For the miracles of Byzantine saints there is the translation of lives by E. Dawes, trans., Three Byzantine Saints (Oxford, 1948); the life of St. Theodore of Sykeon (an expert exorcist of demons) is a must.
The complete works of Procopius are translated in seven volumes of the Loeb Classical Library Series by H. B. Dewing (Cambridge, Mass, 1914). Select passages of Justinian’s Digest are available in C. F. Kolbert, trans., The Digest of Roman Law: Theft, Rapine, Damage and Insult (Penguin, 1979)--a definite must for all. For the importance of the capital, see G. Downey, Constantinople in the Age of Justinian (Norman, 1940).
Michael Psellus, Fourteen Byzantine Emperors
The dramatic collapse of Byzantine political and military power in the
eleventh century is linked to wider changes in society and economy.
Some historians argue that there was no economic decline in the tenth and
eleventh century. All reports should consider when decline became
irreversible and how well could the empire have faced the new foes of the
Normans and Seljuk Turks. Students should choose ONE of the major
causes listed below and argue for its significance as a cause of the decline
of imperial power.
A fine narrative of the period is found in R. Jenkins, Byzantium, The Imperial Centuries (London, 1966), pp. 301-74. The case for economic and social decline is argued by P. Charanis, “The Byzantine Empire in the Eleventh Century,” in A History of the Crusades, ed. by K. Setton, (Madison, 1969), vol. 1, pp. 177-219. A. Harvey, Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire, 900-1200 (Cambridge, 1989), argues for economic growth despite territorial losses after 1071. For the motives behind imperial land legislation, see S. Runicman, The Emperor Romanus Lecapenus (Cambridge, 1929), chapters 11 and 13. For the external threats, see R. S. Lopez, “The Norman Conquest of Sicily,” and C. Cahen, “The Selchukids,” in History of the Crusades, ed. by K. Setton, vol. 1, pp. 54-67 and 135-174, respectively.
Anna Comnena, Alexiad
Alexius I (1081-1118) appealed for Western aid to recover the lost themes
of Anatolia, but the Western Crusaders had different aims and motives.
How much did mutual suspicions, cultural and religious differences, and
prejudices contribute to the failure of Crusaders and Byantines to cooperate?
Were the Byzantines or Crusaders most responsible? This discussion
will concentrate on the two crucial Crusades, the First and the Fourth,
as a means of determining why cooperation failed.
The best narrative account of the Crusades is the superbly written work by S. Runciman, The History of the Crusades 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1951-54); the first volume on the First Crusade is recommended. More current is J. Riley-Smith, The Crusades (New Haven, 1987) who writes from a Western viewpoint. Byzantine policy is discussed by R.-J. Lille, Byzantium and the Crusader States 1096-1204, trans. by J. C. Morris and J. E. Ridings (Oxford, 1993). The main issues of the Comnenian state are treated by P. Madgalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos 1143-1180 (Cambridge, 1993). For economic life, see A. Harvey, Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire, 900-1200 (Cambridge, 1989).
The military achievement of the First Crusade is discussed by J. France,
Victory in the East (Cambridge, 1994). For the motives of Crusaders,
see J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Philadelphia,
1985). For the defense of the Holy Land and tactics of Crusaders,
see R. Smail, Crusading Warfare 1097-1193 (2nd ed., Cambridge, 1995) and
K. Setton, in A History of the Crusades (Madison, 1969), vol. 1, pp. 368-462.
The relationship of Venice and Byzantium is discussed by D. M. Nicol, Byzantium
and Venice (Cambridge, 1988). For the Fourth Crusade, still recommended
is D. Queller, The Fourth Crusade (Philadelphia, 1977), and also consult
K. Setton, A History of the Crusades, vol. 2, pp. 123-86.
|Dr. Kenneth W. Harl
Office: History 211 (504)862-8621
Fax: (504) 862-8739