Roman Perspectives: Studies in the Social, Political and Cultural History of the First to Fifth Centuries
by John Matthews
ISBN-13: 978-1-905125-39-5 ISBN-10: 1-905125-39-9, hardback, 350p, 2009, GB£50
The fifteen papers in this volume discuss issues of Roman social, cultural and political history from the foundation of the Principate to the age of barbarian settlements of the west. Working imaginatively from within the diverse evidence, they show the institutional continuity of the Roman empire between its early and later periods, and reveal the roots of political behaviour in social practice. Five of the papers, including three of the most substantial, are previously unpublished; others have appeared in collections which are now difficult to find. The author has edited the whole to bring out thematic connections as well as for consistency of presentation.


"the reader profits immensely from Matthews’s erudition and wide range of interests...The author is to be commended for successfully uniting these essays around a common theme and for presenting his arguments in clear and compelling prose. Indeed, this volume reveals a truly impressive level of learning..."

John F. Donahue - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

1. Gibbon and the Later Roman Empire: causes and circumstances
2. The nature of power in the ancient world - a three-cornered dialogue: Thucydides, Thomas Hobbes, Tacitus
3. Ronald Syme, Constantine the Great and the Second Roman Revolution
4. Tacitus, Acta Senatus, and the inauguration of Tiberius
5. Six tales of the Equestrian Order
6. A Last Will and Testament
7. Travel, diplomacy and the diffusion of ideas in the Roman Mediterranean and Near East
8. Reading the mind of a traveller; the cultural landscape of the Bordeaux Itinerary
9. The Letters of Symmachus
10. Four weddings and a funeral: this world and the next in fourth-century Rome
11. Roman law and Roman history
12. Ammianus on Roman law and lawyers
13. Interpreting the Interpretationes of the Breviarium of Alaric
14. Roman law and barbarian identity in the late Roman west
15. Macsen, Maximus, Constantine