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Peter Heather the Fall of the Roman Empire- A New History of Rome and the Barbarians 2010

Peter Heather The Fall of the Roman Empire- A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
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    PETER HEATHER    THE FALL OF THEROMAN EMPIRE   PAN BOOKS    C ONTENTS    List of Maps Acknowledgements I  NTRODUCTION P ART   O NE PAX ROMANA 1. R  OMANS 2. B ARBARIANS 3. T HE  L IMITS OF  E MPIRE P ART   T WO CRISIS 4. W AR ON THE  D ANUBE 5. T HE  C ITY OF  G OD 6. O UT OF  A FRICA 7. A TTILA THE  H UN P ART   T HREE FALL OF EMPIRES 8. T HE  F ALL OF THE  H UNNIC  E MPIRE 9. E  ND OF  E MPIRE 10. T HE  F ALL OF  R  OME D RAMATIS  P ERSONAE T IMELINE G LOSSARY  N OTES B IBLIOGRAPHY I  NDEX  I NTRODUCTION  T HE  R  OMAN  E MPIRE  was the largest state western Eurasia has ever known. For over four hundredyears it stretched from Hadrian’s Wall to the River Euphrates, transforming the lives of all theinhabitants within its frontiers and dominating landscapes and peoples for hundreds of kilometres beyond. Interconnected fortress systems, strategic road networks and professional, highly trainedarmies both symbolized and ensured this domination, and Roman forces were not averse tomassacring any neighbour who stepped out of line. The opening scenes of the 2000 blockbuster  Gladiator   are based on the victories of Marcus Aurelius over the Marcomanni, a Germanic tribe of south-central Europe, in the third quarter of the second century. Two hundred years later, the Romansere still at it. In 357, 12,000 of the emperor Julian’s Romans routed an army of 30,000 Alamanni atthe battle of Strasbourg.But within a generation, the Roman order was shaken to its core and Roman armies, as onecontemporary put it, ‘vanished like shadows’. In 376, a large band of Gothic refugees arrived at theEmpire’s Danube frontier, asking for asylum. In a complete break with established Roman policy,they were allowed in, unsubdued. They revolted, and within two years had defeated and killed theemperor Valens – the one who had received them – along with two-thirds of his army, at the battle of Hadrianople. On 4 September 476, one hundred years after the Goths crossed the Danube, the lastRoman emperor in the west, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed, and it was the descendants of thoseGothic refugees who provided the military core of one of the main successor states to the Empire: theVisigothic kingdom. This kingdom of south-western France and Spain was only one of several, all based on the military power of immigrant outsiders, that emerges from the ruins of Roman Europe.The fall of Rome, and with it the western half of the Empire, constitutes one of the formativerevolutions of European history, and has traditionally been seen as heralding the end of the ancientorld and the start of the Middle Ages. Like the Renaissance, the Reformation and the IndustrialRevolution, it changed the world for ever.Starting with Gibbon’s multivolume epic published during 1776–88, there have been the oddhundred or two studies devoted to the subject, or to particular aspects of it, with as yet no sign of let-up. In the 1990s, the European Science Foundation funded a five-year project to investigate ‘TheTransformation of the Roman World’, and its volumes continue to appear. As has always been thecase, historians fall a long way short of general agreement, either on the big issues or – where youmight more expect it – on matters of detail. Argument has always focused on what it was, exactly, thatcaused Rome to fall. Since they provided the military muscle behind the new kingdoms, armedoutsiders – ‘barbarians’ – obviously had something to do with it. But historians both before and after Gibbon have felt that a power as great as Rome could not have been brought low by illiterates whoseculture – political, social, economic, artistic – did not even begin to rival the sometimes astonishingly precocious levels of the Roman world. The Romans had central heating, a form of banking based on


Jul 23, 2017
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