A trustworthy guide to all students of Christian antiquity, Peter Brown is Princeton University's Rollins Professor Emeritus of History. Born in Dublin in 1935, Brown was influenced early on by the L’École des Annales, a group who took its name from their work in the journal Annales d'Histoire Economique et Sociale. These forward-thinking scholars sought to break from traditional historiography in order to pay attention to all levels of society, taking into account not so much a seemingly monolithic doctrine, which emerges only retrospectively, but the collective concerns of a larger and more complex society. L’École des Annales formed Brown in such a way that he has helped generations of academics pay attention to more than just major players and canonical doctrines. Rather, they read the traditional narratives in the contexts of wider cultural, economic, demographic, religious and familial concerns, mundane matters unavoidably shaping how any group of persons thinks of historical issues. He accordingly opens this gargantuan work by admitting his debt to modern French historiography—singling out the sociologist and philologue, Louis Gernet (d. 1962)—who stressed how the memorable and well-cataloged aspects of a people actually invent nothing. Rather, Gernet asserted, the elite portion of any given people reflects and thus captures what the many below hold dear. Given this lifelong influence, it is no surprise that Brown would eventually turn his erudition into a study on a common universal that instantaneously unites as well as divides, one that characterizes both elite and plebe alike—money.