| Late Antiquity ： ウィキペディア英語版|
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 historian Peter Brown proposed a period between the 2nd and 8th centuries AD. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century (c. 235 – 284) to, in the East, the re-organization of the Eastern Roman Empire under Heraclius and the Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century, or an earlier point. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Medieval period typically placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the Western edges of the empire.
The Roman Empire underwent considerable social, cultural and organizational changes starting with the 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 foundations of the subsequent culture of Europe.
The general decline of population, technological knowledge and standards of living in Europe during this period became the archetypal example of societal collapse for writers from the Renaissance until recent times. As a result of this decline, and the relative paucity of historical records from Europe in particular, the period between the fall of the Empire and the Middle Ages became known as the Dark Ages, a term displaced in most current periodisations by the introduction of "Late Antiquity".
The term "Spätantike", literally "late antiquity", has been used by German-speaking historians since its popularization by Alois Riegl in the early 20th century.〔A. Giardana, "Esplosione di tardoantico," ''Studi storici'' 40 (1999).〕 It was given currency in English partly by the writings of Peter Brown, whose survey ''The World of Late Antiquity'' (1971) revised the post-Gibbon view of a stale and ossified Classical culture, in favour of a vibrant time of renewals and beginnings, and whose ''The Making of Late Antiquity'' offered a new paradigm of understanding the changes in Western culture of the time in order to confront Sir Richard Southern's ''The Making of the Middle Ages''.〔Glen W. Bowersock, "The Vanishing Paradigm of the Fall of Rome" ''Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences'' 49.8 (May 1996:29-43) p 34.〕
The continuities between the later Roman empire, as it was reorganized by Diocletian (r. 284–305), and the Early Middle Ages are stressed by writers who wish to emphasize that the seeds of medieval culture were already developing in the Christianized empire, and that they continued to do so in the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire at least until the coming of Islam. Concurrently, some migrating Germanic tribes such as the Ostrogoths and Visigoths saw themselves as perpetuating the "Roman" tradition. While the usage "Late Antiquity" suggests that the social and cultural priorities of Classical Antiquity endured throughout Europe into the Middle Ages, the usage of "Early Middle Ages" or "Early Byzantine" emphasizes a break with the classical past, and the term "Migrations Period" tends to de-emphasize the disruptions in the former Western Roman Empire caused by the creation of Germanic kingdoms within her borders beginning with the ''foedus'' with the Goths in Aquitania in 418.〔A recent thesis advanced by Peter Heather of Oxford posits the Goths, Hunnic Empire, and the Rhine invaders of 406 (Alans, Suevi, Vandals) as the direct causes of the Western Roman Empire's crippling; ''The Fall of the Roman Empire: a New History of Rome and the Barbarians'', OUP 2005.〕
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