I recently finished Stephen Mitchell’s A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641. As I was reading it the thought was in the back of my mind that I might write a review but there are plenty of publicly accessible reviews out there already, ranging from people who are disappointed at the general track he took to those who are very pleased. For me, I’d say I’m fairly pleased. I have a few quibbles with areas he chose/didn’t choose to focus on and I thought he questionably used some sources but it is a good overview, shorter than AHM Jones and I think he covers most of the major issues, excepting a lack of emphasis on the last 40 years which is a bit perplexing.
The reason I want to talk about the book has to do with a small section. If you’re interested in finding English translations of sources for Late Antiquity, Mitchell’s bibliography makes a great starting point. Pages 426-9 (I have the paperback) include a wide variety of sources. What was most useful to me, in particular, was the section sub-headed “Collected Sources in Translation.” When I scan lists for books I might be interested in, titles such as, Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity or Religious Conflict in Fourth-Century Rome don’t scream “Source Collection” to me. I’m at the point where I need to find a table of contents because I may already have many of the sources in these books but that doesn’t keep this from being a very useful method of arranging a bibliography.
While I’m sure Blackwell would love it if you ran out and bought the book (the paperback isn’t too expensive), my suggestion is that if you’re interested in finding English translations of sources but don’t want to read this volume, head to a library or use Inter-Library Loan and photocopy these four pages.
Jones, AHM, The Later Roman Empire, 284-602(2 volumes). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press (1986). ISBN: 978-0-8018-3285-7.
Mitchell, Stephen, A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641. Malden, MA/Oxford: Blackwell Publishing (2007). ISBN: 978-1-4051-0856-0.