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Ruling the Later Roman Empire


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Prologue: First Thoughts Part I. The Bureaucrat's Tale Introduction: John Lydus: A Man and His Book 1. All the Prefect's Men 2. The Competition for Spoils Part II. Rulers and Ruled Introduction: Passages from the Principate to Late Antiquity 3. Standing in Line 4. Purchasing Power 5. Autocracy and Bureaucracy Epilogue: Last Judgments Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Christopher Kelly is University Reader in Ancient History, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge.


The Roman empire created the most remarkable administrative machines of all time. Its men and its workings are the theme of Christopher Kelly's book, compelling and enlightening for all who live under a bureaucracy and wonder how it works, and why it is as it is...Kelly [provides] a general examination of power, influence and money in the administration of the empire. The resonances with our own times are self-evident...Kelly restores the voices of the Roman dead. Here, in the 21st century, we would be wise to listen. -- Michael Bywater Telegraph 20050115 [A] rich, scholarly and highly informative book. -- Peter Jones Sunday Telegraph 20050123 Kelly sets out to examine how the much extended and professionalized bureaucracy of the Late Roman Empire actually worked...A stimulating and perceptive essay on the presumptions and procedures that informed the government of the Late Empire. -- Fergus Millar Times Literary Supplement 20050325 This book has been awaited since Kelly's contributions on the subject to the Cambridge Ancient History and Bowersock, Brown and Grabar's guide to late antiquity...Ruling the Later Roman Empire deals chiefly with the administrative and bureaucratic elites of the late empire...[Kelly] searches to find the personal and affective side of Roman bureaucracy, with great success: this is a fundamentally humane book...As one would expect from Kelly's earlier treatments of late Roman bureaucrats, there is much of value here...Kelly's book is destined for much approving citation in the coming years, and deserves it...That Ruling the Later Roman Empire can elicit questions fundamental to understanding the trajectory of Roman history as a whole is testament to its success. Rather than the last word on its subject, the book should be the first on many others. -- Michael Kulikowski Bryn Mawr Classical Review 20050212 In Ruling the later Roman Empire Christopher Kelly focuses on late Roman bureaucracy and its influence on the functioning of the empire's government...His view from the "inside" gives a unique insight into the world of late Roman bureaucrats, a world characterized by increasing complexities of the bureaucratic apparatus and an inaccessibility for those from the outside...Kelly is quite successful in his attempt to "capture something of what it was like to rule and to be ruled" in the later Roman Empire. He has skillfully managed to show the human side of late Roman bureaucracy which often seemed so impenetrable. The book will clearly be indispensable for the study of late Roman administration: it has opened up avenues that had not previously been explored. -- Danielle Slootjes Ecclesiastical History

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