This book examines the age of Attila, roughly the fifth century CE, an era in which western Eurasia experienced significant geopolitical and cultural changes. The Roman Empire collapsed in western Europe, replaced by new 'barbarian' kingdoms, but it continued in Christian Byzantine guise in the eastern Mediterranean. New states and peoples changed the face of northern Europe, while in Iran, the Sasanian Empire developed new theories of power and government. At the same time, the great Eurasian steppe became a permanent presence in the European world. This book treats Attila, the notorious king of the Huns, as both an agent of change and a symbol of the wreck of the old world order.
Michael Maas is Professor of History and Classical Studies at Rice University, Houston. The focus of his research is late antiquity. His publications include The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian (Cambridge, 2005), Exegesis and Empire in the Early Byzantine Mediterranean (by Mohr Siebeck, translated by Michael Maas, 2003) and Readings in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook, 2nd Edition (2010).
Part I. The Roman Empire: 1. Reversals of fortune: an overview of the age of Attila Michael Maas; 2. Government and mechanisms of control, east and west Geoffrey Greatrex; 3. Urban and rural economies in the age of Attila Peter Sarris; 4. Mediterranean cities in the fifth century: elites, Christianizing, and the barbarian influx Kenneth G. Holum; 5. Big cities and the dynamics of the Mediterranean during the fifth century Raymond Van Dam; 6. Dynasty and aristocracy in the fifth century Brian Croke; 7. Military developments in the fifth century Hugh Elton; 8. Law and legal culture in the age of Attila Caroline Humfress; 9. Romanness in the age of Attila Jonathan P. Conant; Part II. Attila and the World around Rome: 10. The steppe world and the rise of the Huns Etienne de la Vaissiere; 11. Neither conquest nor settlement: Attila's empire and its impact Christopher Kelly; 12. The Huns and barbarian Europe Peter Heather; 13. Captivity among the barbarians and its impact on the fate of the Roman Empire Noel Lenski; 14. Migrations, ethnic groups, and state building Walter Pohl; 15. Kingdoms of North Africa Andy Merrills; 16. The reinvention of Iran: the Sasanian Empire and the Huns Richard Payne; Part III. Religious and Cultural Transformation: 17. Ascetics and monastics in the early fifth century Susanna Elm; 18. Religious doctrine and ecclesiastical change in the time of Leo the Great Susan Wessel; 19. Christian sermons against pagans: the evidence from Augustine's sermons on the new year and on the sack of Rome in 410 Michele Renee Salzman; 20. Mediterranean Jews in a Christianizing empire Joseph E. Sanzo and Ra'anan Boustan; 21. Ordering intellectual life Edward Watts; 22. Real and imagined geography Scott Fitzgerald Johnson.