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A continuing city

07 November 2011

old book Web

The impact of a book from Late Antiquity and its lasting impact on human society is the focus of a public lecture at Cardiff University.

Professor emerita Gillian Clark of the University of Bristol will give a keynote address on the subject of Augustine’s City of God on Wednesday 16th November 2011. The event is hosted by the Centre for Late Antique Religion and Culture in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

In the lecture Professor Clark will trace the journey of cultural works from Antiquity to Late Antiquity. She will argue that although many of the cultural treasures of Antiquity were lost, Late Antiquity was an age of books, which transmitted learning and reflection to later ages.

The focus of her lecture will be Augustine’s City of God as an enduring resource for reflection on human nature, culture and society, a text that challenges us, just as the age in which it was produced, to consider what matters most in human history.

Some of the works mentioned by Professor Clark in her lecture, including an incunabula of Augustine’s City of God will be on display alongside the event. The works are from the Cardiff Rare Books and Music Collection, a major collection of international significance which includes many items which are extremely rare, and some of which are unique.

Among the strengths and highlights of the collection are its incunabula, its cross-section of Renaissance and Reformation literature, its rare Bibles and atlases, a world-class collection of English Restoration drama, a broad range of Shakespearian material, significant sections on natural history, topography and travel, and an extraordinary set of British private press books from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Professor Clark is a Senior Research Fellow in Ancient History. She is the author of many influential books on Late Antiquity including Women in Late Antiquity (1993) and Christianity and Roman Society (2004). Among her most recent publications is Late Antiquity: A Very Short Introduction (2011).

The lecture starts at 5.10pm on Wednesday 16th November in the Arts and Social Studies Library, Lower Ground Floor (Wolfson Floor), Special Collections Reading Room. The event is free and places can be reserved by emailing