The Fate of Rome

Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire

Author: Kyle Harper

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400888913

Category: History

Page: 440

View: 9728

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A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition. Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague. A poignant reflection on humanity’s intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered and endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit—in ways that are surprising and profound.
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The Oxford Illustrated History of the World

Author: Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191067199

Category: History

Page: 448

View: 8916

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Imagine the planet, as if from an immense distance of time and space, as a galactic observer might see it—with the kind of objectivity that we, who are enmeshed in our history, can ́t attain. The Oxford Illustrated History of the World encompasses the whole span of human history. It brings together some of the world's leading historians, under the expert guidance of Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, to tell the 200,000-year story of our world, from the emergence of homo sapiens through to the twenty-first century: the environmental convulsions; the interplay of ideas (good and bad); the cultural phases and exchanges; the collisions and collaborations in politics; the successions of states and empires; the unlocking of energy; the evolutions of economies; the contacts, conflicts, and contagions that have all contributed to making the world we now inhabit.
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The Science of Roman History

Biology, Climate, and the Future of the Past

Author: Walter Scheidel

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400889731

Category: History

Page: 280

View: 800

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How the latest cutting-edge science offers a fuller picture of life in Rome and antiquity This groundbreaking book provides the first comprehensive look at how the latest advances in the sciences are transforming our understanding of ancient Roman history. Walter Scheidel brings together leading historians, anthropologists, and geneticists at the cutting edge of their fields, who explore novel types of evidence that enable us to reconstruct the realities of life in the Roman world. Contributors discuss climate change and its impact on Roman history, and then cover botanical and animal remains, which cast new light on agricultural and dietary practices. They exploit the rich record of human skeletal material--both bones and teeth—which forms a bio-archive that has preserved vital information about health, nutritional status, diet, disease, working conditions, and migration. Complementing this discussion is an in-depth analysis of trends in human body height, a marker of general well-being. This book also assesses the contribution of genetics to our understanding of the past, demonstrating how ancient DNA is used to track infectious diseases, migration, and the spread of livestock and crops, while the DNA of modern populations helps us reconstruct ancient migrations, especially colonization. Opening a path toward a genuine biohistory of Rome and the wider ancient world, The Science of Roman History offers an accessible introduction to the scientific methods being used in this exciting new area of research, as well as an up-to-date survey of recent findings and a tantalizing glimpse of what the future holds.
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Environment and Society in the Long Late Antiquity

Author: N.A

Publisher: BRILL

ISBN: 9004392084

Category: History

Page: 408

View: 3859

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Environment and Society in the Long Late Antiquity brings together scientific, archaeological and historical evidence on the interplay of social change and environmental phenomena at the end of Antiquity and the dawn of the Middle Ages, ca. 300-800 AD.
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