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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.