The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395 (The Routledge History of the Ancient World)

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9780415100588: The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395 (The Routledge History of the Ancient World)
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David S. Potter's comprehensive survey of two critical and eventful centuries traces the course of imperial decline, skillfully weaving together cultural, intellectual and political history.

Particular attention is paid throughout to the structures of government, the rise of Persia as a rival, and the diverse intellectual movements in the empire. There is also a strong focus on Christianity, transformed in this period from a fringe sect to the leading religion.

Against this detailed background, Potter argues that the loss of power can mainly be attributed to the failure in the imperial elite to respond to changes inside and outside the empire, and to internal struggles for control between different elements in the government, resulting in an inefficient centralization of power at court.

A striking achievement of historical synthesis combined with a compelling interpretative line, The Roman Empire at Bay enables students of all periods to understand the dynamics of great imperial powers.

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The Roman Emipre at Bay is an excellently written, well-documented, clearly structured, very complete and extensive book. Extremely well furnished with numismatic and prosopographical evidence and including the latest scholarship, it cannot be ignored by future scholars of the third and fourth centuries and will certainly take the place of many previous works on the subject.
–David Engels , University of Aachen , Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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