This chapter summarizes the preceding discussions and presents some concluding thoughts from the author. The question posed at the beginning of this book was why people began to worry about peasant rebellion in the fourth century, a concern displayed in the North African case by the polemics against the Donatist circumcellions. To reconstruct what was happening to rural populations, a wide range of disparate sources, both textual and archaeological, were considered, in such a way as to discover their “hidden transcripts”—the perspective and agency of the peasants themselves. The examination and interpretation of these sources has led to the conclusion that the rural populations were not rebelling against the Roman way of life in the fourth and fifth centuries, but involving themselves in it on a scale unattested before. Their involvement is what increased social tensions, as it transgressed the boundaries that divided rustici and urbani. The book traces this crossing of boundaries in three different areas of Roman life: the economic, the political, and the ideological.
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