Historiography and Space in Late Antiquity

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Peter Van Nuffelen
Cambridge University Press, Aug 29, 2019 - History - 226 pages
The Roman Empire traditionally presented itself as the centre of the world, a view sustained by ancient education and conveyed in imperial literature. Historiography in particular tended to be written from an empire-centred perspective. In Late Antiquity, however, that attitude was challenged by the fragmentation of the empire. This book explores how a post-imperial representation of space emerges in the historiography of that period. Minds adapted slowly, long ignoring Constantinople as the new capital and still finding counter-worlds at the edges of the world. Even in Christian literature, often thought of as introducing a new conception of space, the empire continued to influence geographies. Political changes and theological ideas, however, helped to imagine a transferral of empire away from Rome and to substitute ecclesiastical for imperial space. By the end of Late Antiquity, Rome was just one of many centres of the world.

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About the author (2019)

Peter Van Nuffelen is Professor of Ancient History at Universiteit Gent, Belgium, where he leads an ERC-funded team on late ancient historiography. His recent publications include Rethinking the Gods: Philosophical Readings of Religion in the Post-Hellenistic Period (Cambridge, 2011), Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012), and Penser la tolérance durant l'Antiquité tardive (2018).

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