The period between the accession of Marcus Aurelius in AD 161 and the death of Constantine the Great in 337 is often seen as little more than a protracted interval between the glories of the ancient world and the genesis of medieval Europe. This book shows a much more creative picture of this time - despite internal strife and wars along vast frontiers, there was a stupendous military achievement which preserved the Empire for several centuries. This overal stability allowed Roman civilization to flourish, combining "an artistic, literary, spiritual and political brilliance with unparalleled lavishness". In these two centuries Michael Grant finds the climax of "a terrible but marvellous age".
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