Envoys and Political Communication in the Late Antique West, 411–533

Envoys and Political Communication in the Late Antique West, 411–533

Examining the role of envoys from the establishment of the first "barbarian kingdoms" in the West, to the eve of Justinian's wars of reconquest, this study reveals how Roman imperial administration influenced new patterns of political interaction in the earliest medieval states. Close analysis of sources with special interest in embassies offers insight into a variety of genres: chronicles, panegyrics, hagiographies, letters, and epitaphs. The study will make a significant contribution to the developing field of ancient and medieval communication.


"...well produced in every way...[a] most useful contribution to the political history of a complicated if not badly documented era...a worthy publication." Edward N. Luttwak, Center for Strategic and International Studies

" [A] well written and most useful contribution." Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Not only a very scholarly book, but one which is remarkable for the clarity and thoughtfulness of its subject matter and approach." - Mouseion David F. Buck, University of Prince Edward Island

"The great strength of this book is precisely that Gillett's topic does not confine him to a single event or set of documents. The result is that it overturns comfortable assumptions about the prevalence of political communication in this period. Gillett has demolised the cheif one, that is rarely occurred, and has put forth an important corollary: if political communication was, in fact, more common than assumed, then scholars have also erred by assigning too much importance to embassies that do receive mention in the sources...There is less chance taht this mistake will be made in the future, thanks to this book." - H.A. Drake, University of California, Santa Barbara