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  • From the Editor
  • Ralph Mathisen

I have just been informed that our subscription list is over 350 and rising. Most of these are private individuals, so we still have a long way to go in encouraging additional library subscriptions. Even in these days of straitened economic times for universities, this surely is a journal that belongs on almost every university library shelf!

It always has been our desire for JLA to be an international journal, albeit an English language one, of late antique studies, and that goal is certainly manifested by our article and review authors in this volume, with representatives not only of five American universities, but also of institutions in the United Kingdom (four, no less), Switzerland (two), Canada, and Israel.

We begin this issue with a series of four contributions, by Peter Heather, Mark Vessey, Stefan Rebenich, and Neil McLynn, followed by a synthesis from Bryan-Ward Perkins, relating to the barbarian invasions of Gaul in the early fifth century and deriving, in the words of Mark Vessey, from “a somewhat impromptu workshop,” subtitled “Crisis of Empire, Charter of Christendom,” presented at the 2007 Oxford Conference on Patristic Studies in order to commemorate the sixteen-hundredth anniversary of the barbarian invasion of Gaul. This group of contributions is the first such set of studies derived from focused conference sessions to be published in JLA: the SLA-sponsored sessions at the annual Kalamazoo Medieval Studies conference and the biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity conferences promise to provide many more. The organizers of other conference panels zeroing in on particular aspects of late antique studies are invited to propose “themed” groups of contributions for consideration for JLA.

The next two contributions continue to play with the theme of imperial decline. Edward Watts looks at the decline of the western empire from the perspective of four eastern ecclesiastical authors. And a study by Christine Shepardson of how Julian’s legacy was used and recast in light of Valens’ defeat and death at Adrianople keeps the focus on the consequences of barbarian invasion and on Christian interpretations of secular history.

The next two articles attest to the importance of Augustine of Hippo for late antique studies. Michael Richter uses evidence from Augustine, Jerome, and others to elucidate the nature and significance of singing in the late Roman Christian church, and Peter Iver Kaufman, with much attention to Augustine, takes a bold comparative look at late Roman Donatist and Caecilianist moderates and extremists vis-à-vis their suggested modern-day Islamic counterparts. Finally, we turn to Ostrogothic Italy, returning to the theme of decline, [End Page 1] this time with Shane Bjornlie investigating the effect of the fall of Ostrogothic Italy on Cassiodorus’ compilation of the Variae.

Readers also will have noticed that our cover illustration is rather more elaborately documented and discussed than those of previous issues. This is in keeping with a desire to give our cover illustrations a more independent identity, and to use them as a means of visually introducing additional aspects of late antique studies. Thus, if any of our readers own the rights to any illustrations that might be suitable for one of our covers, please let us know.

In conclusion, I would again like to thank our contributors and to encourage our readers to continue to submit their scholarship for publication. In addition, the journal’s sponsor, the Society for Late Antiquity, wishes to remind readers that the next incarnation of our biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity conferences, on the theme “Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity,” will be held 2–5 April 2009, at Indiana University (see ). [End Page 2]



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