Bryan Ward-Perkins is an archaeologist and historian of the later Roman Empire and early Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the transitional period between those two eras, an historical sub-field also known as Late Antiquity. Ward-Perkins is a fellow and tutor in history at Trinity College, Oxford. The son of historian John Bryan Ward-Perkins, he was born and raised in Rome and spoke Italian from childhood.
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Ward-Perkins' published work has focused primarily on the urban and economic history of the Mediterranean and western Europe during Late Antiquity. His 2005 book, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization, included statements addressing what he saw as an over-correction in the approaches of modern historiography to late Roman history. Using primarily archaeological evidence, Ward-Perkins takes issue with what he says is the "fashionable" idea that the western Roman Empire did not actually fall but instead experienced a mostly-benign transformation into the Christian kingdoms of medieval Europe. In his contrasting view, "the coming of the Germanic peoples was very unpleasant for the Roman population, and the long-term effects of the dissolution of the empire were dramatic."
Ward-Perkins' contributions to fourteenth volume of The Cambridge Ancient History were praised by Jan Willem Drijvers and Geoffrey Greatrex, with the latter declaring that Ward-Perkins' chapters on the economy of the late Roman Empire were "among the finest of the volume".
Awards and honours
- 2006 Hessell-Tiltman Prize, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization
- 1984: From Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages: urban public building in Northern and Central Italy AD 300-850 . Oxford: Clarendon Press ISBN 0-19-821898-2
- 1998: "The Cities", in The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. XIII: 337-425
- 2000: "Why Did The Anglo-Saxons not Become More British?" (English Historical Review, June 2000)
- 2001: The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. XIV: 425-600 (edited with Averil Cameron and Michael Whitby). Cambridge University Press
- 2005: The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-280564-9
- Bryan Ward-Perkins Archived March 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Trinity College, University of Oxford, 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- "A personal (and very patchy) account of medieval archaeology in the early 1970s in northern Italy" Archived 2014-05-18 at the Wayback Machine by Bryan Ward-Perkins in European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies, Vol. 1, 2011.
- Ward-Perkins, Bryan (2005). The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280728-5.
- Jan Willem Drijvers, 'Reviewed Work: The Cambridge Ancient History XIV. Late Antiquity: Empire and Successors, AD 425–600 by Averil Cameron, Bryan Ward-Perkins and Michael Whitby', Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 56, Fasc. 2 (2003), p. 242.
- Geoffrey Greatrex, 'Reviewed Work: The Cambridge Ancient History XIV. Late Antiquity: Empire and Successors, AD 425–600 by Averil Cameron, Bryan Ward-Perkins and Michael Whitby', Phoenix, Vol. 57, No. 1/2 (Spring - Summer, 2003), p. 183.
- Staff profile at University of Oxford History Faculty
- A joint interview with Bryan Ward-Perkins and Peter Heather at Oxford University Press
- Podcast Bryan Ward-Perkins on the Fall of the Roman Empire
- Interview about The Fall of Rome for Historically Speaking. (archived from the original)