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Publisher's Summary

Beginning with the reign of Diocletian in A.D. 284 and ending at the death of Justinian in 565, the Roman Empire completes a transition from paganism to Christianity which is one of the most remarkable events in history. How was it possible to alter an ancient civilization which had existed for millennia, and yet to maintain social and political order? As events unfolded, one part of the empire managed the process successfully, while the other part spiraled out of control. Two halves of the same empire...two completely different outcomes. Why?

In this brilliant analysis, historian Glanville Downey dissects the social and economic conditions of the late Roman Empire and shows how the military tumult of the dreadful third century led to the reforms of Diocletian, one of the greatest of Roman Emperors. It was Diocletian's stabilizing reforms which were to give Constantine the Great his opportunity. For, with Constantine's conversion, a new era in European history begins.

This erudite chronicle will tell you how Christianity triumphed over the existing social order, and describe the leaders of the church who made it possible. Follow the convoluted path of acrimonious theological disputes that led to the division of the church into sharply differing Greek and Latin components. Hear how both dealt with innumerable heresies that threatened serious social unrest. Discover the reason why the Latin West developed a distinctive civilization very different from that of Byzantium in the Greek-speaking East. This is a fascinating tale of events whose echoes can still be heard clearly today.

(P)2005 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Greene
  • CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States
  • 11-01-08

Gained Insight

This is a good audio book. The reader is clear and goes at a good pace. I found myself many times saying "aahhhh very interesting". I think the author does a fantastic job of explaining this fascinating period of change. There is a lot of discussion of the Pagan vs. Christian battle that explains how the Church gained certain power and influence. I found the entire production and content to be execeptional!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Adam
  • Carrollton, TX, USA
  • 01-21-06

Very good book

I loved this book. I love Roman history in general, but this book was unbelievable. The narrator has somewhat of an amusing way of narrating. My only complaint was that it wasn't longer than only a few hours. I learned a lot from this book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mario
  • Vallejo, CA, United States
  • 10-01-12

Great Expectations (not met)

What would have made The Late Roman Empire better?

I was looking for a more in-depth description of the rulers of the late roman empire and did not find it in this book. The book dealt more in generalities than detail of the chaos of the late empire in the west.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Dry and unimaginative

Perhaps this makes a good read on the page, but as an audio book it is almost unlistenable. The author simply recounts a bunch of dry facts, stringing them together without painting a picture. It’s clear that the writing was never intended to be heard out loud, as this listener found herself lost on many occasions when the narration went on too long without reference to the subject. The narrator sounds like an annoyingly odd mix of good ‘ol southern boy crossed with a fake British accent and his loping inflections make the text even more inaccessible.

1 of 12 people found this review helpful