The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000

Front Cover
Penguin, Jul 30, 2009 - History - 688 pages
"The breath  of reading is astounding, the knowledge displayed is awe-inspiring and the attention quietly given to critical theory and the postmodern questioning of evidence is both careful and sincere."--The Daily Telegraph (UK)

"A superlative work of historical scholarship."--Literary Review (UK)

A unique and enlightening look at Europe's so-called Dark Ages; the second volume in the Penguin History of Europe

Defying the conventional Dark Ages view of European history between A.D. 400 and 1000, award-winning historian Chris Wickham presents The Inheritance of Rome, a work of remarkable scope and rigorous yet accessible scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of new material and featuring a thoughtful synthesis of historical and archaeological approaches, Wickham agues that these centuries were critical in the formulation of European identity. From Ireland to Constantinople, the Baltic to the Mediterranean, the narrative constructs a vivid portrait of the vast and varied world of Goths, Franks, Vandals, Arabs, Saxons, and Vikings. Groundbreaking and full of fascinating revelations, The Inheritance of Rome offers a fresh understanding of the crucible in which Europe would ultimately be created.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - le.vert.galant - LibraryThing

The reviews I read of this book were not promising; however, I found it to be readable, interesting, and as comprehensive a survey of this vast stretch of time as could be hoped for. The author's ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Just to be clear: Chris Wickham does not believe that he can explain anything. He repeats this over and over, so you'll not get the wrong idea. Let's be very, very clear: nothing in history is ... Read full review

Selected pages


List of Maps
The Weight of Empire
Culture and Belief in the Christian Roman World
Crisis and Continuity 400550
Merovingian Gaul and Germany 500751
Spain and Italy 550750
From Abbasid Baghdad to Umayyad Córdoba 7501000
Eastern Mediterranean Exchange Networks 6001000
The Carolingian Century 751887
Intellectuals and Politics
The Tenthcentury Successor States
Carolingian England 8001000
Outer Europe

Britain and Ireland 400800
Culture Belief and Political Etiquette 550
Wealth Exchange and Peasant Society
Material Culture and Display from Imperial
Byzantine Survival 550850
The Crystallization of Arab Political Power 630750
Byzantine Revival 8501000
Aristocrats between the Carolingian and the Feudal Worlds
The Caging of the Peasantry 8001000
Trends in European History 4001000
Illustrations Notes and Bibliographic Guides
Index of Names and Places

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Chris Wickham is Chichele Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College. His book Framing the Middle Ages won the Wolfson Prize, the Deutscher Memorial Prize and the James Henry Breasted Prize of the American Historical Association. He lives in Oxford, England.

Bibliographic information