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The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians

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The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians Cover

ISBN13: 9780195325416
ISBN10: 0195325419
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long.

A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart. He shows first how the Huns overturned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers, to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the Empire. This prompted two generations of struggle, during which new barbarian coalitions, formed in response to Roman hostility, brought the Roman west to its knees. The Goths first destroyed a Roman army at the battle of Hadrianople in 378, and went on to sack Rome in 410. The Vandals spread devastation in Gaul and Spain, before conquering North Africa, the breadbasket of the Western Empire, in 439. We then meet Attila the Hun, whose reign of terror swept from Constantinople to Paris, but whose death in 453 ironically precipitated a final desperate phase of Roman collapse, culminating in the Vandals' defeat of the massive Byzantine Armada: the west's last chance for survival.

Peter Heather convincingly argues that the Roman Empire was not on the brink of social or moral collapse. What brought it to an end were the barbarians.

Review:

"A rich and dramatic synthesis....What Mr. Heather offers is not easy analogies but a realization of the complex strangeness of the past — the achievement of a great historian." New York Sun

Review:

"Like a late Roman emperor, Heather is determined to impose order on a fabric that is always threatening to fragment and collapse into confusion; unlike most late Roman emperors, he succeeds triumphantly." The Times (UK)

Review:

"Deftly covering the necessary economic and political realities of decline and fall, Heather also presents the stories and the characters of this tumultuous epoch, in a colorful and enthralling narrative." The Independent (UK)

Review:

"The outcome is a conclusion Heather finds pleasing...that Roman imperialism was ultimately responsible for its own demise." Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge

About the Author

Peter Heather teaches at King's College, London. A leading authority on the barbarians, he is the author of The Goths, Goths and Romans, and The Huns.

Table of Contents

Introduction

PART I

Chapter 1: Romans

Chapter 2: Barbarians

Chapter 3: The Limits of Empire

PART II

Chapter 4: War on the Danube

Chapter 5: The City of God

Chapter 6: Out of Africa

Chapter 7: Attila the Hun

Chapter 8: The Fall of the Hunnic Empire

PART III

Chapter 9: End of Empire

Chapter 10: The Fall of Rome

Notes / Bibliography

Dramatis Personae

Timeline / Glossary

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Pam Brills, July 2, 2009 (view all comments by Pam Brills)
Having recently returned from my first trip to Rome, I was curious to learn more about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. A natural start would be Edward Gibbon's 12 volume "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"--a seminal work that for the past two hundred years pretty well dictated the story. However, Peter Heather's 2006 book has a distinctively different take. While the convention wisdom has been that Rome fell due to its own internal decay, corruption, political machinations and intrigue, this author tells it differently. As an expert on the "barbarians", he paints a picture of the fourth and fifth century Roman empire as having done a great job of either making permanent enemies of its barbarian opponents by enslaving or slaughtering some of them or taking them in and putting them into the Roman army--sometimes doing both with a defeated enemy, depending on their position or rank. Thus, within the Roman empire itself, the seeds of decline had been planted. Over the two centuries, various assaults were made by barbarian groups, prominent among them were the Goths and those pesky Huns led by Attila. These barbarian attacks succeeded in chipping away at the empire, thus causing Rome to lose the tax revenue from its far-flung holdings which it required to sustain itself and its army--the troops were not going to work for free. Eventually, the empire could no longer defend itself and remain a cohesive entity. This is a very well documented and detailed history of this period. It is well written in an informative and even personal way. If you are ready to update your view on what caused the end of the Roman empire, give this book a serious look.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780195325416
Author:
Heather, Peter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Peter
Subject:
Ancient - Rome
Subject:
History, World | Ancient | Roman
Subject:
History
Subject:
Rome
Subject:
Rome - History - Germanic Invasions, 3rd-
Subject:
Rome History Empire, 284-476.
Subject:
World History-Ancient Near East
Subject:
Medieval
Publication Date:
20070631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 halftones, 10 maps
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
6.1 x 9.2 x 1.6 in 1.9 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Ancient Rome
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient Near East
History and Social Science » World History » Classical

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians New Trade Paper
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$19.95 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195325416 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A rich and dramatic synthesis....What Mr. Heather offers is not easy analogies but a realization of the complex strangeness of the past — the achievement of a great historian."
"Review" by , "Like a late Roman emperor, Heather is determined to impose order on a fabric that is always threatening to fragment and collapse into confusion; unlike most late Roman emperors, he succeeds triumphantly." (UK)
"Review" by , "Deftly covering the necessary economic and political realities of decline and fall, Heather also presents the stories and the characters of this tumultuous epoch, in a colorful and enthralling narrative." (UK)
"Review" by , "The outcome is a conclusion Heather finds pleasing...that Roman imperialism was ultimately responsible for its own demise."
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