Skip to content

Online ordering will be unavailable from 0800 on 09/12/2023 to 1700 on 10/12/2023 GMT.

To place an order, please contact Customer Services.

UK/ROW +44 (0) 1223 326050 | US 1 800 872 7423 or 1 212 337 5000 | Australia/New Zealand 61 3 86711400 or 1800 005 210, New Zealand 0800 023 520

Register Sign in Wishlist

The Roman West, AD 200–500
An Archaeological Study


Award Winner
  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316625644


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book describes and analyses the development of the Roman West from Gibraltar to the Rhine, using primarily the extensive body of published archaeological evidence rather than the textual evidence underlying most other studies. It situates this development within a longer-term process of change, proposing the later second century rather than the 'third-century crisis' as the major turning-point, although the latter had longer-term consequences owing to the rise in importance of military identities. Elsewhere, more 'traditional' forms of settlement and display were sustained, to which was added the vocabulary of Christianity. The longer-term rhythms are also central to assessing the evidence for such aspects as rural settlement and patterns of economic interaction. The collapse of Roman imperial authority emphasised trends such as militarisation and regionalisation along with economic and cultural disintegration. Indicators of 'barbarian/Germanic' presence are reassessed within such contexts and the traditional interpretations questioned and alternatives proposed.

    • Discusses and explains a wide range of archaeological evidence
    • Covers a large geographical area - the Iberian peninsula, Gaul, the Rhineland
    • Synthesises up-to-date work in French, German, Portuguese and Spanish as well as English
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Esmonde Cleary begins by declaring his intention to 'emancipate archaeology from the role of servant'. In this, he can consider himself successful … [his] achievement is to put the two types of evidence on a level-footing, showing that they should be interrogated according to their own merits, rather than expected to fit into pre-determined, often incompatible, frameworks … As such, while this book will be greatly appreciated by experienced archaeologists, it is also a good guide for non-archaeologists who want to use the discipline to strengthen their work, but who might be hampered by the changing schools of thought or misled by the generalisations of earlier works.' Steven Spiegl, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    '… this is indispensible …' Choice

    '… an extremely useful combination of a large quantity of the most current data and bibliography, and a generally balanced, nuanced and cautious history.' Douglas Underwood, The Classical Review

    'This is a major work that is welcome not only in the field of late antique studies but in Roman archaeology as a whole. It presents a valuable synthesis of archaeological material from different areas in Western Europe, crossing boundaries of geography and scholarly tradition, but also offers important discussion and analysis. Its scale and emphasis on archaeology rather than history, though it is also dotted with sections of historical narrative, makes it an important addition to the field … undoubtedly a major resource … an important contribution and is very accessible and well presented.' Adam Rogers, Britannia

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316625644
    • length: 550 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 171 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.96kg
    • contains: 95 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Prologue: the 'third-century crisis'
    2. The military response: soldiers and civilians
    3. Christianity and the traditional religions
    4. Reshaping the cities
    5. Emperors and aristocrats in the late Roman West
    6. Rural settlement and economy in the late Roman West
    7. The economy of the late Roman West
    8. Breakdown and barbarians
    9. The fifth century and the disintegration of the Roman West
    10. Epilogue: AD 200–500, a coherent period?

  • Author

    Simon Esmonde Cleary, University of Birmingham
    Simon Esmonde Cleary is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Birmingham. His particular area of interest in Roman archaeology has always been the later Roman period and the transition to the Middle Ages, and he has excavated on several sites of this period in Britain and southwest France. He is the author of The Ending of Roman Britain (1989) and, with Ray Laurence and Gareth Sears, The City in the Roman West, c.250 BC–c.AD 250 (2011).


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

Related Books

also by this author

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.