This chapter begins with a review of the methods used to examine social conflicts in the sixth century. It then outlines the analytical framework used in the study. This is followed by some concluding reflections. The chapter suggests that the empire survived, in increasingly grim times, due to the underlying strengths of the post-Tetrarchic state; the toughness and flexibility of the imperial regime under Justinian; its refusal to act, as under Anastasius and later Justin II, primarily as the agent of the upper classes; and its now militant Christian ideology. Social and urban conflicts are also discussed.
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