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Historian Traina, a professor at the University of Rouen, offers a series of snapshots of Roman history in a decidedly average year when the challenge was primarily to keep the grand imperial machinery running smoothly even as the empire's future was precarious. Although Traina's approach is wooden, he introduces a cast of people-pagan and Christian, military and civilian, male and female-who characterize this ambiguous and "complex period of transition." Tensions within Christianity become clear from the story of Nestorius, a Syrian monk elected bishop of Constantinople in 428 only to be condemned three years later as a heretic for his views on the full divinity of Christ. By 428, questions about imperial unity dominated discussions between Rome and Constantinople as the Goth and Hun forces knocked on both the eastern and western doors of the empire. Traina's succinct traversal of the empire provides a glimpse of this transitional moment in Rome's history. Maps. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.