Europe After Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000

by Julia Smith

Paperback, 2007



Call number




Oxford University Press (2007), Paperback, 384 pages


The 500 years following the collapse of the Roman Empire is still popularly perceived as Europe's 'Dark Ages', marked by barbarism and uniformity. Julia Smith's masterly book sweeps away this view, and instead illuminates a time of great vitality and cultural diversity. Through a combination of cultural history, regional studies, and gender history, she shows how men and women at all levels of society ordered their world, and she allows them to speak to the reader directly in their. own words. This is the first single-author study in over fifty years to offer an integrated appraisal of all asp

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Julia Smith takes a new approach to an old question: what was Europe like in the centuries after the prevailing power -- Rome -- went away? Rome disappeared as a political entity in the west; the conventional date of 476 CE marks the year of the deposing of the last western Roman Emperor . Rome's
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powerful influence in Europe in the subsequent centuries was tempered and altered by the flowering of a new diversity, as local cultural phenomena proliferated and interacted with established practices and traditions. If the notion of the Dark Ages were not already moribund, Professor Smith dispels any remaining doubt.

What is truly new here is the methodology. This book is a cultural account, an anthropology of the post-Roman period. Its reads more like ethnography than history. It takes as its focus power structures, regional studies, gender history, and religious, social and cultural meanings. The result is a fresh, erudite reappraisal and vivifying of what was once seen as a barren inactive period. In Professor Smith's hands, we see it as anything but.
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Physical description

384 p.; 9.13 inches


0192892630 / 9780192892638

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