The Christianization of the Roman world lies at the root of modern Europe. Peter Brown's fascinating study examines the factors that proved decisive and the compromises that made the emergence of the Christian conception of existence possible: how the old gods of the Roman Empire could be reinterpreted as symbols to further the message of the Church. Peter Brown also shows how Christian holy men were less representative of a triumphant faith than negotiators of a working compromise between the new faith and traditional ways of dealing with the supernatural worlds.