Late Antiquity

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Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed a period between the second and eighth centuries. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century (c. 235284) to the re-organization of the Eastern Roman Empire under Heraclius and the Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century.

The Roman Empire underwent considerable social, cultural and organizational change starting with reign of Diocletian, who began the custom of splitting the Empire into Eastern and Western halves ruled by multiple emperors. Beginning with Constantine the Great the Empire was Christianized, and a new capital founded at Constantinople. Migrations of Germanic tribes disrupted Roman rule from the late 4th century onwards, culminating in the eventual collapse of the Empire in the West in 476, replaced by the so-called barbarian kingdoms. The resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman, Germanic and Christian traditions formed the cultural foundations of Western Europe.

The general decline of population, technological knowledge and standards of living in Western Europe during this period, became the archetypal example of societal collapse for writers from the Renaissance until recent times. As a result of this...
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