Violence in Late Antiquity: Perceptions and Practices

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Harold Allen Drake
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006 - History - 395 pages
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'Violence' is virtually synonymous in the popular imagination with the period of the Later Roman Empire - a time when waves of barbarian invaders combined with urban mobs and religious zealots to bring an end to centuries of peace and serenity. All of these images come together in the Visigothic sack of the city of Rome in A.D. 410, a date commonly used for the fall of the entire empire. But was this period in fact as violent as it has been portrayed? A new generation of scholars in the field of Late Antiquity has called into question the standard narrative, pointing to evidence of cultural continuity and peaceful interaction between barbarians and Romans, Christians and pagans. To assess the state of this question, the fifth biennial 'Shifting Frontiers' conference was devoted to the theme of 'Violence in Late Antiquity'. Conferees addressed aspects of this question from standpoints as diverse as archaeology and rhetoric, anthropology and economics. A selection of the papers then delivered has been prepared for the present volume, along with others commissioned for the purpose and a concluding essay by Martin Zimmerman, reflecting on the theme of the book. Rhetoric, and Religious Violence are each introduced by a theme essay from a leading scholar in the field. While offering no definitive answer to the question of violence in Late Antiquity, the papers in this volume aim to stimulate a fresh look at this age-old problem.
  

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Contents

Gauging Violence in Late Antiquity I
1
Religious Violence
8
Perceptions of Barbarian Violence
15
Violence in the Barbarian Successor Kingdoms
37
The Inn as a Place of Violence and Danger in Rabbinic Literature
57
Violence Victims and the Legal Tradition in Late Antiquity
85
Violence in the Process of Arrest and Imprisonment in Late Antique
103
Coercion Resistance and The Command Economy in Late
113
Teaching Violence in the Schools of Rhetoric
197
The Thessalonian Affair in the FifthCentury Histories
215
Epiphanius of Cyprus and the Geography of Heresy
235
Cyclic Violence and the Poetics of Negotiation in PreIslamic Arabia
253
Rethinking PaganChristian Violence
265
Transforming a Pagan Rite
287
Conflict over Panhellenic
309
Acceptable or Unacceptable Violence?
333

Imperial Government Strategies
127
Violence Purification and Mercy in the Late Antique Afterlife
147
Shared Victory in the
167
Bibliography
359
Index
391
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

H. A. Drake is Research Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Constantine and the Bishops (2000). Drake has written extensively on issues related to the transition from a Roman to a Christian empire in Late Antiquity, including political theology and religious violence. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Annenberg Research Institute.

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