Curriculum building

Note: The VCLA is grateful for the generous input of Professor Charlotte Roueché of King’s College London, who suggested that we develop this area, and whose bibliographies will inform many of our topics.

We will be developing materials within a range of topics on an ongoing basis, and these will be hyperlinked as content becomes available. If you wish to make any suggestions, please feel free to get in touch.

The following is a programme of work currently in the pipeline, which is intended to provide a broad overall survey of late antiquity:

A Postclassical World, c.200-c.450

  • The Roman Empire Transformed: From the Severans to the Tetrarchs
  • Central Authority and Provincial Leadership from Constantine to the Theodosians
  • The Rise of the Sasanian Regime
  • Central Authority and Regional Elites in the Sasanian Empire
  • Roman and Sasanian Relations with ‘Barbarians’
  • Production and Exchange in the Roman Mediterranean
  • The Persian Gulf Trade and the Silk Roads
  • Social Relations: Agrarian Society
  • Social Relations: The World of Cities
  • Public Religion and Private Salvation
  • Religious Leadership and the Rise of Monasticism
  • A Contest of Ideas: Education from Plotinus to Augustine
  • Education in the Sasanian Empire

The Sundering of the West, c.350-600

  • End of Empire: Endogenous, Exogenous and Natural Forces
  • The Formation of Successor-Kingdoms
  • Western Economies: The Rise of Localization and Simplification
  • Production and Social Relations in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries
  • Rulers and Ruled in the Kingdoms of the West: Assimilation and Adaptation
  • The Reconquests of Justinian
  • The Mediterranean West in the Late Sixth and Early Seventh Century
  • The End of Ancient Christianity in the West: Augustine to Gregory the Great
  • Learning and Letters from Augustine to Isidore of Seville

Byzantium and Persia: The Transformation of the Late Antique State

  • The Rise of the Empire of Constantinople
  • The Byzantine Empire in the Age of Justinian and Heraclius
  • The Arrival of the Avar Khaganate
  • Iranshahr: Religion, State and Commonwealth
  • The Sasanian Empire from Khosrau I to Khosrau II
  • Persia and its Neighbours

Economy and Society in the Mediterranean World and Central Asia

  • The Transformation of Urban Life in the East
  • Production and Exchange in Early Byzantium
  • The Sasanian Economy from the Fifth to Early Seventh Centuries
  • The Evolution of Long-Distance Trade: South Asia and the Far East
  • Social Transformation: The Free and Unfree
  • Social Transformation: Patterns of Leadership
  • Ways of Life: Childhood, Sexuality, Marriage, Money, Mortality
  • Prosperity and the Challenges of Climate and Disease
  • The Rise of Islam and the Impact on Seventh-Century Trade

Religion and Culture

  • The Search for Orthodoxy in Byzantium
  • Zoroastrianism in Late Antiquity
  • Judaism in Late Antiquity
  • The Spread of Manichaeism: A Late Antique Counter-Culture
  • Philosophy in Late Antiquity
  • The Transformation of Art in Late Antiquity
  • Everyday Objects in Late Antiquity
  • The Evolution of Greek and Persian Literature
  • The Rise of New Literatures: Syriac, Coptic and Others

The Rise of Islam

  • The World of Muhammad (I): Tribe, Empire and Trade
  • The World of Muhammad (II): Religion and Society
  • The Unification of Arabia
  • Caliphates and Conquest: The Rashidun and Early Umayyad Regimes
  • The Near East and Central Asia in the Seventh Century
  • North Africa in the Seventh Century
  • Muslims and Non-Muslims under Early Caliphal Rule
  • The Beginning of Islamic Art and Architecture