Warfare and dislocation are obvious features of the break-up of the late Roman West, but this crucial period of change was characterized also by communication and diplomacy. The great events of the late antique West were determined by the quieter labours of countless envoys, who travelled between emperors, kings, generals, high officials, bishops, provincial councils, and cities. This book examines the role of envoys in the period from the establishment of the first 'barbarian kingdoms' in the West, to the eve of Justinian's wars of re-conquest. It shows how ongoing practices of Roman imperial administration shaped new patterns of political interaction in the novel context of 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 epitaph. This study makes a significant contribution to the developing field of ancient and medieval communications.

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