Stewart's monograph is an attempt to nuance the broad scholarly consensus that the triumph of Christianity almost completely revised Roman culture and cultural values along Christian lines. His specific topic is the enduring importance of conceptions of masculinity defined by military service or prowess from the late fourth through the seventh centuries C.E. Although sensitive to the ways in which Christianity affected the development of Roman culture, Stewart contends that the story of Roman masculinity, especially the public masculinity communicated in literature and imperial iconography, was one of continuity rather than change.

Stewart's first chapter, the introduction, argues for the connection between Romanitas, political legitimacy, and conceptions of masculinity. It...

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