If you've been watching "The Roman Minute," you may have noticed several mentions of the "later Roman period," or "later empire," or something along those lines. You already know that Rome was divided into three major periods--Monarchy, Republic, and Empire--but what's less well-known is that the later Empire (around 285 to 476 AD) has enjoyed much less attention than the glory days of Rome, which include celebrities such as Julius Caesar and Augustus.
Thanks to the work of one British scholar, however, the field of the Later Roman Empire has begun to receive much-needed attention. Peter Brown work has opened up an entirely new field of study. Now, historians don't just research the depressing Fall of Rome. They study Late Antiquity, which is much more upbeat and encouraging.
Peter Brown is still alive today. You can write him a letter and thank him. But before you do, read up on him in this Princetonian article, "Peter Brown: Inventor of Late Antiquity."