Peter Brown has been a pioneer of the study of the late Roman / Early Medieval world for 50 years.
His books in the 1960s and 70s are credited with bringing a new coherence to the study of the period, and a new attitude which saw it not as a story of inevitable decline and fall, but as a period of surprising vigour and innovation – as a much more complex, rich and fascinating period than had previously been thought.
Brown helped to bury the term ‘Dark Ages’ – which is now generally deprecated – and bring about the recategorising of the period as the ‘Early Middle Ages’, now generally defined as 500 to 1000 AD.
The World of Late Antiquity was published in 1971 as an extended essay or meditation on the earlier part of this period, from roughly 250 to 750 AD. It was published by…