Aurelian and the Third Century

Aurelian and the Third Century

Aurelian and the Third Century

Aurelian and the Third Century

Synopsis

Aurelian and the Third Century provides a re-evaluation, in the light of recent scholarship, of the difficulties facing the Roman empire in the AD 260s and 270s, concentrating upon the reign of the Emperor Aurelian and his part in summoning them.With introduction examining the situation in the mid third century, the book is divided into two parts:* Part 1: deals chronologically with the military and political events of the period from 268 to 276* Part 2: analyzes the other achievements and events of Aurelian's reign and assesses their importance.A key supplement to the study of the Roman Empire.

Excerpt

For too long the mid-third century has suffered from academic neglect. Though perhaps somewhat understandable, in view of the nature of the sources, this neglect is regrettable because of the importance of this period to our understanding of the history of the Roman empire as a whole. Recently, however, new information and new research has made possible a better informed and more balanced appraisal of this period and its overall importance in the development of Roman and indeed European history.

Few individuals more clearly epitomize this age or have a more justifiable claim to have influenced its course than Aurelian. But this book is not, and is not intended to be, a biography of Aurelian in the conventional sense of the term. Such an undertaking would be impossible. The evidence we possess does not permit us to draw a portrait of Aurelian the man, to investigate his personal life, or to get inside his thoughts. The literary sources present us with very little reliable information regarding Aurelian as an individual, and what is said about his character is somewhat suspect. We are told he was married, but all we know about his consort, Ulpia Severina, including even her name, is gleaned from the coins and inscriptions.

Nevertheless, a portrait of Aurelian’s age, and the central role that he himself played in it, is not only possible, and indeed desirable, but long overdue. At the beginning of the twentieth century two substantial studies of Aurelian appeared, one in German (Groag 1903) and the other in French (Homo 1904). Since that time an ever-growing number of articles and monographs have appeared, each treating one or another aspect of his reign or of the period in general. No satisfactory full-length treatment of Aurelian has yet attempted to collate the information from these disparate secondary sources into an assessment of Aurelian’s reign and its place in the history of the period. It is the fresh synthesis of this scholarship,

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