Peter Brown: Inventor of Late Antiquity

April 20, 2017

The fall of the Roman Empire ushered in a dark age, replete with decay and barely worth studying. Or so scholars thought until history professor emeritus Peter Brown invented the field of late antiquity, which spans 250–800 A.D.

“Looking at the late antique world, we are caught between the regretful contemplation of ancient ruins and the excited acclamation of new growth,” he wrote in his 1971 book The World of Late Antiquity.

Brown’s discovery of the era’s dynamism has driven his career. Specializing in the transition from ancient to medieval times, as well as the rise of Christianity, he has authored a dozen books, garnered numerous honors, and earned international acclaim.

“Peter Brown is surely one of the great historians of our time,” said history professor Helmut Reimitz. “He changed the ways that we think about the end of the Roman world and the beginning of the medieval and European and, if you like, Western society and civilization.”

Read more at The Daily Princetonian.