TROY—After a decade of research and hard work, Troy University history professor Allen Jones can hold his accomplishment in his hand.
Published by the Cambridge University Press, “Social Mobility in Late Antique Gaul” isn’t a casual read but rather aimed at historians and students interested in exploring late fifth- and sixth-century Gaul.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing my book with Cambridge University Press,” he said. “Now, holding this thing and looking at that ‘Cambridge’ on the spine and cover – it’s the realization of a dream.”
Dr. Jones, who earned a masters degree and doctorate from the University of South Carolina after completing his undergraduate degree at Francis Marion College, said his book constitutes a “mature rendering of ideas” began while studying late ancient history at USC.
“It’s taken a decade while I’ve been at TROY to establish a critical image of late ancient Gallic society that I can call my own,” he said.
The book explores the situation of the non-elite living in the late fifth and sixth centuries. Drawing especially on evidence from Gregory of Tours’ writings, Dr. Jones formulates a social model based on people of all ranks who were acting ways that were socially advantageous to them, such as combining resources, serving at court and participating in ostentatious religious pursuits.
Viewing the society as a whole, and taking into account specific social groups such as impoverished prisoners, paupers active at churches, physicians, and wonder-working enchanters, Dr. Jones creates an image of Barbarian Gaul as an honor-driven, brutal and flexible society defined by social mobility. The work also addresses topics such as social engineering and competition, magic and religion, and the cult of saints – including St. Martin of Tours.
The book, which opened sales in August, will be available on Oct. 15 in the Barnes & Noble College Bookstore on the Troy Campus. A book signing event is slated from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.