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The Value of 476: Charting the end of the Western Roman State

Campbell-Moffat, Thomas; (2023) The Value of 476: Charting the end of the Western Roman State. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The subject of my thesis is when the western Roman state came to an end. The initial impulse for this question was the consideration that the apocryphal ‘end’ of the western empire – the deposition of Romulus Augustulus by Odovacer in 476 – lacked a great deal of explanative power. In fact, the concept of ‘empire’ is itself a little nebulous, making it difficult to determine what specifically ended. To that end, I have taken a five-point model for the early state derived from Chris Wickham’s Framing the Early Middle Ages (2005). The criteria are as follows: I) The centralisation of legitimate enforceable authority II) Stable and independent resources for rulers III) A class-based system for surplus extraction and stratification IV) The specialisation of governance, and a system of office-holding that outlasted the individual officeholders themselves V) The concept of a public power, or an ideological system separable from the rulers and ruled. The aim is to take each of these criteria, apply them to the western Roman state, and to determine if, when, and how each could be said to have ended: essentially, what changed, when did it change, what were to consequences of that change. The primary objective is to offer a more factually accurate and historically compelling date than the traditional ‘end’ in 476. The secondary objective is to determine how each criterion fits into the overarching culturalist/structuralist debate that animates the field, as it is becoming increasingly clear that we are talking about separate things.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Value of 476: Charting the end of the Western Roman State
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10178937
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