28 Jun 2022


Late Antiquity: A History of the Period from the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian

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Late Antiquity is described by the historians as the time of transitions from classical antiquity to the middle ages in Europe. During that transition period, the Roman Empire reign was begging to decline due to the various social, economic and political issues that were affecting it. It led to rising of small, powerful nations in the region which were trying to overthrow the reign of empire. Also, the period is marked by the rise of Muslims who ended the unity of the ancient regimes in the 7 th -9 th century (Brown, 2010). The Roman empire underwent a great transition in their social, cultural and organization changes starting Diocletian’s reigns, who is believed to have begun the customs of splitting the western empire into the eastern halved rules by multiple empires. 

In the 4 th century, the Roman Empire activities were disrupted by the on growing Muslims empires in the region. Most of the Muslim states wanted to convert the region to be Muslim based empires. However, they were not successful in their quest as the Christianity religion had already dominated the region. But they managed to conquer the Roman Empire in the west in 476, which was replaced by the so-called Barbarian kingdoms. The result culture fusion of Greco-Roman, Christian and Germanic traditions led to the formation of the subsequent culture of Europe. Most of the people adopted different cultures which led to the formation of new cultures and religion in the region. Due to that, the late Antiquity came to an end with the fall of the Roman Empire. 

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Researchers argue that if the Roman Empire remained social, political and economic stable, the Antiquity period would not have come to an end. The Rise of other smaller Empires that replaced the Roman Empire disrupted the religious activities of the people. As such, many people were still considered of which religion should dominate the regions. 

According to the history of Europe, the Middle Ages began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and lasted from 5 th to 15 th century. The Middle Age is considered as the middle period between three divisions of Western history which include: the medieval period, classical antiquity and the modern period. Some of the issues such as population decline, invasion, counter urbanization and movements of people, which had begun in the late Antiquity period, continued in the middle ages. The Roman Empire had prevented such issues from happening since they had dominated over the smaller regions. As such, most of their rules were being followed by all the smaller Empires. Philosophers argue that if the Roman Empire had not collapsed, the Middle Age period would not have existed. 

Large scale movements which were also known as the migration period formed new kingdoms in what remained as the Western Roman Empire. During the 7 th century, the Middle East and North Africa came under the rule of an Islamic state conquest by Muhammad's successors (Boardman & Rogers, 2009). The change brought about social structures which transformed the Middle Age period. However, some people who belong to the North Africa community still rebelled and remained Christians. However, their religion becomes weaker as the majority of the people came under the rule of the Islam leader. Based on that, the Middle Age period begun after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. 


Boardman, J., & Rogers D. Spotswood Collection. (2009). Greek sculpture: The late classical period and sculpture in colonies and overseas. New York, N.Y: Thames and Hudson. 

Brown, P. (2010). Late antiquity. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Late Antiquity: A History of the Period from the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian.


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