Barbarians and Bishops is concerned with two fundamental themes of Late Antiquity: the barbarization of the Roman army, and the interrelation of Church and secular government. The conspicuous role played by barbarian, particularly German, soldiers in the Late Roman state has always been recognized. It still has not been satisfactorily explained. This is not surprising since the development which compelled the Empire to call on foreigners for its defence is a complex one, related to changes in basic structures and attitudes of Roman society. One of these was the triumph of Christianity which required the abandonment of a civic religion closely integrated with secular government. Conflict between representatives of the pagan Empire and major religious leaders was impossible, even unthinkable, but it was only too easy in the Christian Empire within which the Church had an elaborate empire-wide organization which received some support from the Empire but was quite independent of it.
Professor Liebeschuetz illuminates the demilitarization and Christianization through the discussion of narrower themes: Part I deals with Alaric's Goths in the West, who are treated as a federate regiment rather than a migrating tribe; Part II describes how the civilian authorities at Constantinople maintained control over the largely German army in a conflict which culminated in the Gainas rising; and Part III discusses how the same authorities came into conflict with John Chrysostom, the bishop of Constantinople, and had him deposed. Two appendices supplement the text, one dealing with the identity of Typhos in Synesius' De Providentia, and the second with the Column of Arcadius, which is illustrated with 7 black and white plates.
Publisher: Oxford University Press