The deal of the decade just got better, The Barrington Atlas app is on sale for $14.99 (#AIAAPA)

Barrington iconIn celebration of the joint meeting of the American Philological Association and the Archaeological Institute of America, we’ve lowered the price of The Barrington Atlas app to $14.99. It will only be on sale through January 8, so don’t wait. After January 8, the price will return to $19.99 (which is still a steal given the print book costs $395.00).

New Ancient World Catalog!

Be among the first to browse and download our new ancient world catalog!

Of particular interest is the new Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World App for iPad. Hailed by the New York Times as “the best geography of the ancient world ever achieved” and deemed by classicist Bernard Knox to be “an indispensable tool for historians concerned with ancient times” as well as “a source of great pleasure for the amateur,” the unsurpassed Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World is now available in digital form as a full-featured app for the iPad. Including all the content of the $395 print edition of the Barrington Atlas, the app makes this essential reference work more portable and affordable than ever before possible.

In 102 interactive color maps, this app re-creates the entire world of the Greeks and Romans from the British Isles to the Indian subcontinent and deep into North Africa. Unrivaled for range, clarity, and detail, these custom-designed maps return the modern landscape to its ancient appearance, marking ancient names and features in accordance with modern scholarship and archaeological discoveries. Geographically, the maps span the territory of more than seventy-five modern countries. Chronologically, they extend from archaic Greece to the Late Roman Empire.

A must-have for scholars, this app will also appeal to anyone eager to retrace Alexander’s eastward marches, cross the Alps with Hannibal, traverse the Eastern Mediterranean with Saint Paul, or ponder the roads, aqueducts, and defense works of the Roman Empire. Designed exclusively for the iPad, the app uses the latest technology and is available for iPad 2 and above.

Also be sure to note new and forthcoming books in the catalog including the compelling 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline, the richly illustrated Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World by Michael Scott, and the fascinating Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities by James Turner.

Even more foremost titles in ancient world can be found in the catalog. You may also sign up with ease to be notified of forthcoming titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/. Your e-mail address will remain confidential!

If you’re heading to the American Philological Association and Archaeological Institute of America annual joint meeting in Chicago, IL January 2nd-5th, come visit us at booth 105 to enter the raffle for the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World App for iPad.

Also follow #AIAAPA and @PrincetonUnivPress on Twitter for updates and information on our new and forthcoming titles throughout the meeting. See you there!

Peter Brown Wins 2013 Philip Schaff Prize

Peter Brown – Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD
Winner of the 2013 Philip Schaff Prize, American Society of Church History

The Philip Schaff Prize is an award in the amount of $2,000 to the author of the best book published in the two previous calendar years, originating in the North American scholarly community, which presents original research on any period in the history of Christianity, or makes a significant synthesizing scholarly contribution.  According to Dr. Keith Francis, Executive Secretary of ASCH, “The members of the committee described Through the Eye of a Needle as a ‘tour de force,’ a ‘magisterial study,’ and a ‘work of astonishing erudition.’  High praise indeed!  I was even more impressed by the comment that you had written ‘a brilliant synthesis of other scholars’ work as well as the harvest of your own five-decade career.” The prize will be awarded at ASCH’s next business meeting in Washington DC on January 4, 2014. For more information, click here.

k9807Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world’s foremost scholar of late antiquity.

Peter Brown, the world’s foremost scholar of late antiquity, examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty and called avarice the root of all evil. Drawing on the writings of major Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Brown examines the controversies and changing attitudes toward money caused by the influx of new wealth into church coffers, and describes the spectacular acts of divestment by rich donors and their growing influence in an empire beset with crisis. He shows how the use of wealth for the care of the poor competed with older forms of philanthropy deeply rooted in the Roman world, and sheds light on the ordinary people who gave away their money in hopes of treasure in heaven.

Through the Eye of a Needle challenges the widely held notion that Christianity’s growing wealth sapped Rome of its ability to resist the barbarian invasions, and offers a fresh perspective on the social history of the church in late antiquity.

Peter Brown is the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. His many books include The World of Late Antiquity, The Rise of Western Christendom, and Augustine of Hippo.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day either…

[Update: the app is now available in the iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/barrington-atlas-greek-roman/id767575157]

Greatness is taking longer than expected, so we have to delay the availability date for The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World for iPad by a few days. The new availability date is December 2, 2013.

We are striving to make sure the app is as perfect as possible before we make it available to the public. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy this rather Apple-esque video highlighting even more features of the app.

Peter Brown Receives Honorable Mention for the 2013 Cundill Prize

Peter Brown – Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD
Honorable Mention for the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, McGill University

“The Cundill Prize in Historical Literature at McGill is the world’s most important international nonfiction historical literature prize.”

Six books have moved on to the shortlist; the winner will be announced on November 20th in Toronto. Peter Brown’s book did not make the shortlist, but was recognized by the jury with an honorable mention (one of only two books so honored).

For more information about this award and event, click here.

Through the Eye of the Needle

 Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world’s foremost scholar of late antiquity.

Peter Brown examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty and called avarice the root of all evil. Drawing on the writings of major Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Brown examines the controversies and changing attitudes toward money caused by the influx of new wealth into church coffers, and describes the spectacular acts of divestment by rich donors and their growing influence in an empire beset with crisis. He shows how the use of wealth for the care of the poor competed with older forms of philanthropy deeply rooted in the Roman world, and sheds light on the ordinary people who gave away their money in hopes of treasure in heaven.

Through the Eye of a Needle challenges the widely held notion that Christianity’s growing wealth sapped Rome of its ability to resist the barbarian invasions, and offers a fresh perspective on the social history of the church in late antiquity.

Peter Brown is the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. His many books include The World of Late Antiquity, The Rise of Western Christendom, and Augustine of Hippo.

How Not to Run A Country

 

As our government shuts down today and our leaders fail to find the common ground necessary to settle their differences, they would do well to be reminded of the words of the Roman statesman Cicero:

“In politics it is irresponsible to take an unwavering stand when circumstances are always evolving and good men change their minds. Clinging to the same opinion has never been considered a virtue among statesmen.”

I doubt old Marcus Tullius would think this is any way to run a country. To find out how he thought one should be run and what we might learn from him check out How to Run a Country.

 

How to Run a Country

Patrick E. McGovern’s study is the first to prove using chemical analysis that the Etruscans taught the French Celts in Lattara how to produce wine

Dr. Pat

A cartoon from Dr. Pat’s page on the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s website.

Patrick E. McGovern, author of Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculturespearheaded the research that further confirms Etruscans from Italy heavily influenced wine production in Lattara, an ancient harbor city in the south of France. There had been ancient documents and archaeological findings that already strongly suggested Etruscans presented wines to the Celt dwellers of France at trading stations in Lattara. McGovern and team’s findings only strengthen this notion.

Using biomolecular analysis, McGovern and researchers discovered that fifth century Etruscan pots used for transportation, known as amphorae, had traces of wine imbued with rosemary, basil, and thyme. McGovern’s research also establishes that the Celts living in Lattara began producing the wine at the close of the fifth century.

The team of researchers stumbled upon another fresh discovery: In the past, it was generally understood that limestone presses in Lattara were used to press olives. Using biomolecular anaylsis, just as they did with the amphorae, the group found that the presses were actually used for grapes.

To establish that the compressor was utilized to squash grapes, the researchers obtained consent to carve off a tiny portion of a limestone wine press. The sample was mailed to the University of Pennsylvania Museum, where procedures embracing mass spectrometry were employed to separate and classify chemical compounds present in the rock and earthenware.

The study was printed in the May 1 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read the original article on The Sacramento Bee’s website: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/12/5488741/archaeologists-affirm-frances.html#storylink=cpy

Interested in channeling the local fifth century Gallic people with a little home winemaking? Check out this informative how-to video made by YouTube user martiwf0:

Watch the video via YouTube: http://youtu.be/HjHwC75meuw

Ancient Wine
Patrick E. McGovern

Coming of Age in Second Life by Tom BoellstorffThe history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive and up-to-date account of the earliest stages of vinicultural history and prehistory, which extends back into the Neolithic period and beyond. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, Ancient Wine opens up whole new chapters in the fascinating story of wine and the vine by drawing upon recent archaeological discoveries, molecular and DNA sleuthing, and the texts and art of long-forgotten peoples.

Patrick McGovern takes us on a personal odyssey back to the beginnings of this consequential beverage when early hominids probably enjoyed a wild grape wine. We follow the course of human ingenuity in domesticating the Eurasian vine and learning how to make and preserve wine some 7,000 years ago. Early winemakers must have marveled at the seemingly miraculous process of fermentation. From success to success, viniculture stretched out its tentacles and entwined itself with one culture after another (whether Egyptian, Iranian, Israelite, or Greek) and laid the foundation for civilization itself. As medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies, and society. As an evocative symbol of blood, it was used in temple ceremonies and occupies the heart of the Eucharist. Kings celebrated their victories with wine and made certain that they had plenty for the afterlife. (Among the colorful examples in the book is McGovern’s famous chemical reconstruction of the funerary feast–and mixed beverage–of “King Midas.”) Some peoples truly became “wine cultures.”

When we sip a glass of wine today, we recapitulate this dynamic history in which a single grape species was harnessed to yield an almost infinite range of tastes and bouquets. Ancient Wine is a book that wine lovers and archaeological sleuths alike will raise their glasses to.

 

The “Gate to Hell” Unearthed

Italian scientists have reportedly found the “Gate to Hell” among ancient ruins in southwestern Turkey. The discovery was recently announced at an archeology conference in Istanbul, Turkey, according to Discovery News. Commonly called “Pluto’s Gate,” or Plutonium in Latin, the cave was understood to be the portal to the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology, with its entrance filled with lethal vapors. According to the discovery team’s head, Francesco D’Andria, this extraordinary finding helps to confirm and clarify what we know from ancient literary and historic source material.

Plutonium is documented in the description of ancient Hierapolis within Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (1976), which notes:

Adjoining the temple on the SE is the Plutoneion, which constituted the city’s chief claim to fame. It was described by Strabo (629-30) as an orifice in a ridge of the hillside, in front of which was a fenced enclosure filled with thick mist immediately fatal to any who entered except the eunuchs of Kybele. The Plutoneion was mentioned and described later by numerous ancient writers, in particular Dio Cassius (68.27), who observed that an auditorium had been erected around it, and Damascius ap. Photius (Bibl. 344f), who recorded a visit by a certain doctor Asclepiodotus about A.D. 500; he mentioned the hot stream inside the cavern and located it under the Temple of Apollo. There is, in fact, immediately below the sidewall of the temple in a shelf of the hillside, a roofed chamber 3 m square, at the back of which is a deep cleft in the rock filled with a fast-flowing stream of hot water heavily charged with a sharp-smelling gas. In front is a paved court, from which the gas emerges in several places through cracks in the floor. The mist mentioned by Strabo is not observable now. The gas was kept out of the temple itself by allowing it to escape through gaps left between the blocks of the sidewalls.

D’Andria and his team are currently creating a digital reconstruction of the ancient site. In the meantime, we thought it might be useful to brush up on our own ancient world knowledge. Here’s a quick reading list to get you going:

k235When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth
Elizabeth Wayland Barber & Paul T. Barber
Check out Chapter 1

Myth and History in Ancient Greece: The Symbolic Creation of a Colony
Claude Calame, Translated by Daniel W. Berman
Read Chapter 1

The Mythic Image
Joseph Campbell
One of Princeton University Press’s Notable Centenary Titles

k6773Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God
Amos Nur, With Dawn Burgess
Here’s the Introduction

Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World
Edited by Richard J. A. Talbert
Winner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Multivolume Reference Work in the Humanities
One of Princeton University Press’s Notable Centenary Titles

Pope Francis and Through the Eye of a Needle

Since the ascension of Pope Francis, there has been much debate over the new pontiff’s concern for the poor, social justice, and his desire for a simple life. Executive Editor Rob Tempio sees this discussion as at the very heart of the debate within the Church over wealth between Augustine and the followers of Pelagius detailed in Peter Brown’s award-winning magnum opus, Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550AD:

In his Palm Sunday homily to mark the start of Holy week, Pope Francis enjoined the faithful throngs to lead “simple lives” and reminded them that Christian joy isn’t to be found in “possessing lots of things.” He also relayed something his grandmother used to tell him in Argentina “burial shrouds don’t have pockets” or as he put “you can’t take it with you.” The sentiment in these admonitions echoes Jesus’s claim that no sooner could a rich man enter the gates of heaven, than a camel fit through the eye of a needle.

This teaching of Jesus’s was the centerpiece of a millennia-old internecine struggle within the early Christian Church over the renunciation of wealth. This struggle came to a head in the battle between Bishop of Hippo, St. Augustine, and the followers of the British monk Pelagius who preached radical ideas about wealth and advocated its total renunciation as inimical to the Church’s true mission of ministering to the poor. Augustine eventually won this intellectual battle and the Church went on, following the fall of the Roman Empire, to become among the wealthiest institutions in all of Western Europe. This was thanks to, in no small part, the vast amount of alms and charitable donations it received from those seeking expiation for their sins and entry through the proverbial needle. However, the battle was won, or so it was argued, by accepting the wealth in order to better help the poor and those in need.

This struggle for the soul of Christianity and the role of wealth in the formation of the Catholic Church lies at the center of Peter Brown’s “magnificent” and “magisterial” panorama, Through the Eye of a Needle. With the installation of Pope Francis and his calls for people to reject the “consumer culture” of the modern world and to instead lead simple, austere lives–like that of his namesake–so as to refocus the church’s efforts on social justice for the downtrodden and the poverty-stricken, the time is ripe for a clearer understanding of the Church’s historically vexed relationship with wealth.

–Rob Tempio, Executive Editor and Group Publisher in the Humanities, @robtempio

Peter Brown author of ‘Through the Eye of a Needle’ Profiled in The Chronicle

j9807[1]Princeton author Peter Brown is profiled in The Chronicle for his impressive work surrounding ancient Rome and Christianity, which he most recently covered in his book Through the Eye of a Needle. Brown is an accomplished historian who is “deservedly famous” for his originality and style. Critics hailed Through the Eye of a Needle and it won numerous awards including the 2012 R. R. Hawkins Award through the Association of American Publishers, the 2012 PROSE Award- Classics & Ancient History through the Association of American Publishers, and the 2012 PROSE Award- Humanities also through the Association of American Publishers.

Read the profile below.

Roman Yeoman

By Peter Monaghan

Historians and classicists considered the last centuries of the Roman Empire an era of obscurity and decline until Peter Brown led a generation of scholars in illuminating them.

From Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in 1776, until Brown’s first books, in the 1960s, the period from the third century AD to about the eighth, when Christianity thrived in the barbarian kingdoms that swept Rome away, was commonly conceived as an auxiliary Later Roman Empire and even as the Dark Ages. Now, thanks in large part to Brown, those centuries are Late Antiquity, an acknowledgment that Western civilization did, indeed, continue to advance.

With his latest book, the Irish-born Brown, now an emeritus professor of history at Princeton University, provides more compelling evidence about just what those years were like in the increasingly Christian West, and in particular about the role of wealth as institutional Christianity gained ground. The book, released late last year by Princeton University Press, has a title as imposing as the text—540 pages plus 200 more of notes: Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD.

The title, of course, comes from Jesus’ proverb that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Elsewhere, Jesus tells a wealthy man to “sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.”

That posed a problem for wealthy Christians, and even for those of modest means. Brown’s view is that they resolved it by believing they could save themselves from the depredations of money by making the church flush, so that it could provide welfare in an empire in crisis. That transformed Christianity into a worldly power and with that, writes Brown, began Europe’s progress toward the opulent Roman Catholic culture of the Middle Ages.

Brown shows that the concept of righteous giving, while not fully divesting one’s wealth, took hold after an ascetic attitude lost out to a more earthly one, espoused by St. Augustine. He argued that to renounce all material goods thwarted the church’s worldly work. What came to drive donors’ “daily acts of kindness and generosity,” then, was their deep conviction that any generosity to the church “joined heaven and earth.”

Writing in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Kyle Harper, an associate professor of classics and letters at the University of Oklahoma, said that thanks to the “unerring moral balance” Brown brings to his subject, “perhaps for the first time, the problem of wealth in early Christianity is treated in full, with no righteous fury at blatant hypocrisy nor any apology for a church that rationalized its enrichment by feeding the poor.”

“Predictably brilliant,” “a masterpiece,” “vast,” “remarkably readable,” was the estimation of Garry Wills, who has called Brown’s book his favorite of 2012.

Last month the Princeton press received the R.R. Hawkins Award from the Association of American Publishers for “professional and scholarly excellence.” It was not the first honor for Brown; in 2008 he was one of two winners of the Library of Congress’s Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity, and shared its $1-million purse.

Continue reading the full article at The Chronicle.

Beware the Ides of March!

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Rome’s greatest statesman and orator, was elected to the Roman Republic’s highest office at a time when his beloved country was threatened by power-hungry politicians, dire economic troubles, foreign turmoil, and political parties that refused to work together. What did he have to say of the death of Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.? Here’s an excerpt from Cicero’s How to Run a Country on Tyranny:

People submit themselves to the authority and power of another person for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they do it because of goodwill or gratitude for favor shown to them. Sometimes they do it because of the dignity of a person or because they hope to profit from the act. Some people subordinate themselves fearing that if they don’t, the other person will make them submit anyway. Sometimes people surrender their freedom because of gifts or promises. Finally, as has so often been the case in our own country, people submit to the power of another because of outright bribes.

The best way for a man to gain authority over others and maintain it is through genuine affection. The worst way, however, is through fear. Wise Ennius once said: “People hate the man they fear—and whomever they hate, they want to see dead.” Just recently we’ve learned, as if we didn’t know it already, that no amount of power can stand up to the hatred of the people. The death of Caesar, who ruled the state through armed force (and whose legacy still rules us) shows better than anything the terrible price paid by all tyrants. You will have a difficult time finding any despot who doesn’t end up like him. I say it again, using fear to maintain power simply doesn’t work. But the leader who keeps the goodwill of his people is secure.

Those rulers who wish to keep their subjects under control by force will have to use brutal methods, just as a master must when dealing with rebellious slaves. Whoever tries to govern a country through fear is quite mad. For no matter how much a tyrant might try to overturn the law and crush the spirit of freedom, sooner or later it will rise up again either through public outrage or the ballot box. Freedom suppressed and risen again bites with sharper teeth than if it had never been lost. Therefore remember what is true always and everywhere and what is the strongest support of prosperity and power, namely that kindness is stronger than fear. That is the best rule for governing a country and for leading one’s own life.

Eager to read more? Check out Philip Freeman’s Introduction to How to Run a Country. You might also want to have a look at How to Win an Election, Quintus Tullius Cicero’s no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign for his brother Marcus. Here’s the Introduction.

Looking Back at 2012 “Through the Eye of a Needle”

As we come to the end of the holiday season and are almost to the New Year, we take the time to reflect on the magnum opus of the historian of late antiquity Peter Brown: Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD.

2012 has seen reviews of Brown’s important book in the New Republic, the New York Review of Books, and in the UK in BBC History Magazine, The Guardian, The Literary Review, and The Times Literary Supplement, to list just a few.

Why the interest in how Christianity and conceptions of wealth changed over a period of a two hundred years a few millenia ago? With ongoing discussions about how much each of us owes society (whether we’re talking holiday gifts or taxes and the so-called fiscal cliff), the issues around giving and our beliefs couldn’t be more timely–and it certainly can’t hurt that Brown is the top scholar to draw connections between the ancient past and today. As Glen W. Bowersock writes in the New Republic:

It is exciting to watch a historian who has already written so extensively on Late Antiquity absorb so much new scholarship, revise his old reviews, and re-imagine the world we thought we knew from him. . . . Through the Eye of a Needle is a tremendous achievement, even for a scholar who has already achieved so much. Its range is as vast as its originality, and readers will find everywhere the kinds of memorable aperçus and turns of phrase for which its author is deservedly famous. . . . There can be no doubt that we are in the presence of a historian and teacher of genius.

In his piece “A Masterpiece on the Rise of Christianity” in the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills (who also selected the title as his book of the year in the Chicago Tribune) says:

To compare it with earlier surveys of this period is to move from the X-ray to the cinema….Every page is full of information and argument, and savoring one’s way through the book is an education. It is a privilege to live in an age that could produce such a masterpiece of the historical literature.

Writing in his five-star online review at Christianity Today, Peter Leithart affectionately calls the book “deliriously complicated,” and goes on to write:

As usual, Brown leaves no stone unturned in his search for insight and evidence. … He paints a colorful social setting for early church debates about theology and ethics without becoming reductively sociological, and often overturns accepted mytho-history in the process. He quietly draws on contemporary theory but typically lets ancients speak for themselves because his aim is to introduce us to an exotic world. Through it all, he focuses on the masses of details by treating attitudes, beliefs, and practices about wealth as a ‘stethoscope’ to hear the heartbeat of late Roman and early Christian civilization. … Brown has captured the rough texture of real history. It is testimony to the success of Brown’s subtle, provocative, and beautifully written book.

Across the pond, Tom Holland champions Peter Brown and the book in History Today, BBC History Magazine, and Twitter. In History Today, Holland calls Brown the “greatest living historian of late antiquity.” He goes on in BBC History Magazine:

Through the Eye of a Needle is the crowning masterpiece of Peter Brown, the great historian who virtually invented late antiquity as a periodisation. The book’s theme might seem specialised: the evolution of attitudes towards wealth in the last century and a half of the Roman empire in the west, and the century that followed its collapse. In reality, like so many of Brown’s books, it gives us a world vivid with colour and alive with a symphony of voices. It is not only the most compassionate study of late antiquity in the west ever written, but also a profoundly subtle meditation on our own tempestuous relationship with money.

Meanwhile, Peter Thornemann of the Times Literary Supplement calls it “[O]utstanding. . . . Brown lays before us a vast panorama of the entire culture and society of the late Roman west.” And at The Guardian, Tim Whitmarsh writes,”His sparkling prose, laced with humour and humanity, brings his subjects to life with an uncommon sympathy and feeling for their situation.”

Through the Eye of the Needle has also been selected as a best book of the year at the Institute of Public Affairs blog, among others. Doubtless, the interest in the origins of how society balances faith and finances will continue well into 2013 and we would do well to heed the fascinating lessons of Brown’s much-lauded work.

To learn more about the author and his latest book:

bookjacket

Through the Eye of a Needle
Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD
By Peter Brown