The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000

Front Cover
Penguin UK, Jan 29, 2009 - History - 688 pages

The idea that with the decline of the Roman Empire Europe entered into some immense ‘dark age’ has long been viewed as inadequate by many historians. How could a world still so profoundly shaped by Rome and which encompassed such remarkable societies as the Byzantine, Carolingian and Ottonian empires, be anything other than central to the development of European history? How could a world of so many peoples, whether expanding, moving or stable, of Goths, Franks, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, whose genetic and linguistic inheritors we all are, not lie at the heart of how we understand ourselves?

The Inheritance of Rome is a work of remarkable scope and ambition. Drawing on a wealth of new material, it is a book which will transform its many readers’ ideas about the crucible in which Europe would in the end be created. From the collapse of the Roman imperial system to the establishment of the new European dynastic states, perhaps this book’s most striking achievement is to make sense of an immensely long period of time, experienced by many generations of Europeans, and which, while it certainly included catastrophic invasions and turbulence, also contained long periods of continuity and achievement.

From Ireland to Constantinople, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, this is a genuinely Europe-wide history of a new kind, with something surprising or arresting on every page.

 

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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

Contents

List of Maps
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
The Roman Empire and its Breakup 400550
The Weight of Empire
Culture and Belief in the Christian Roman World
Crisis and Continuity 400550
The Crystallization of Arab Political Power 630750
v
Byzantine Revival 8501000
v
From Abbasid Baghdad to Umayyad Córdoba 7501000
xvii
Eastern Mediterranean Exchange Networks 6001000
xxxvi
The Carolingian and PostCarolingian West 7501000
iv
The Carolingian Century 751887
v
Intellectuals and Politics
xxv
The Tenthcentury Successor States
xxxix

The PostRoman West 550750
ii
Merovingian Gaul and Germany 500751
ii
Spain and Italy 550750
ii
Britain and Ireland 400800
ii
Culture Belief and Political Etiquette 550750
ii
Wealth Exchange and Peasant Society
ii
Material Culture and Display from Imperial Rome to the Carolingians
ii
The Empires of the East 5501000
iii
Byzantine Survival 550850
iii
Carolingian England 8001000
lvi
Outer Europe
lxviii
Aristocrats between the Carolingian and the Feudal Worlds
xi
The Caging of the Peasantry 8001000
xxvi
Trends in European History 4001000
xl
Index of Names and Places
181
Copyright Page
526
Copyright

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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, which was published in 2005, has won the Wolfson Prize, the Deutscher Memorial Prize and the James Henry Breasted Prize of the American Historical Association. He taught for many years at the University of Birmingham and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

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