Published on

The Inheritance of Rome


title: "The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000" author: Chris Wickham


"The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000" by Chris Wickham offers a comprehensive overview of the transformation of Europe between 400 and 1000 AD, challenging the traditional narrative that views this period as a dark age of civilization. Instead, Wickham presents it as a time of significant change, continuity, and development, contributing to the foundations of modern Europe.

Key Themes

  • Transformation of the Roman World: Wickham explores how the fall of the Roman Empire led to the formation of new political, social, and economic structures across Europe.
  • Continuity and Change: The book delves into the continuity of Roman traditions and institutions in the so-called Dark Ages, alongside the changes that paved the way for the emergence of medieval Europe.
  • Cultural and Religious Developments: It examines the role of Christianity in shaping European identity and the cultural interchange between the emerging Islamic world and Christian Europe.
  • Economic Transformations: The shift from a Roman economic system to feudalism and the impact of these changes on European societies are thoroughly analyzed.


Wickham's work challenges the misconception of the Dark Ages as a period of decline, emphasizing instead the era's role in laying the groundwork for the Renaissance and the modern age. Through a detailed examination of political, cultural, and economic developments, "The Inheritance of Rome" illuminates the complexity and dynamism of this pivotal period in European history.