Late Antiquity: A.D. 267-700

by Alison Frantz

Athenian Agora XXIV
156 pp, 76 pls
9" x 12"
Cloth, ISBN: 978-0-87661-224-8
Publication Date: Nov 1988
Status: Out of Print


This book collects for the first time the archaeological and historical evidence for the area of the Athenian Agora in Late Antiquity, a period which spans the last flourishing of the great philosophical schools, the defeat of classical paganism by Christianity, and the collapse of the late Roman Empire. Although the primary focus of this volume is the material uncovered by the Agora excavations, the study also takes into account past and current discoveries elsewhere in the city. The author draws on archaeological, epigraphical, and literary evidence to present a comprehensive account of the history and topography of the city in the years before A.D. 700. The course of Athenian construction and destruction is traced from the mid-3rd century, through the Herulian invasion, to the period of recovery in the 3rd and 4th centuries (ending with the invasion of the Visigoth, Alaric, in A.D. 396). The 5th century is described, which saw the closing of the schools of philosophy by Justinian and the first Christian churches, and the gradual decline of the city until the Slavic invasion of the 580s, when Athens began an accelerated slide into oblivion. Special attention is paid to questions surrounding the history of the philosophical and rhetorical schools, the establishment of Christianity, and the removal of works of art from Athens to Constantinople.