BOOKS FREE The Fall of the Roman Empire A New History of Rome and the Barbarians Author Peter Heather – dedelicate.com
BOOKS FREE The Fall of the Roman Empire A New History of Rome and the Barbarians Author Peter Heather – dedelicate.com
Er Both halves iterally drained the treasury in a one shot takes all effort to reclaim North Africa from the Vandals and recapture the vitally necessary agricultural and economic riches of these provinces for the bleeding Western Roman body alas a combination of bad Holiday Confessions luck uncooperative winds and highly skilled Vandal sailors combined to inflict a terrible defeat upon the assembled armada a painful and devastating reversal that in Heather s opinion removed theast ifeline from the grasp of Rome Within a short span of years Anthemius was murdered the Burgundians had setup a kingdom around the Rhone and Saone river valleys and the Visigothic King Euric embarked upon a massive expansionary project that saw the Visigoths regnant and unopposed from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Loire River With England ong Fortunes Perfect Match lost to Rome and Northern Gaul divided between bandit infested Brittany and the slowly but surely expanding Frankish tribes the Western Empire was reduced to the Italian peninsula and a rump of the southern Gallic coast All that remained to end the farce was the final pragmatic withdrawal of support from the Eastern Roman emperor and this was done in 476 Odoacer the Sciri born general who had wielded the power once held by Ricimer and whose father had served as one of Attila sieutenants deposed the puppet Romulus Augustulus and ruled on his own as Patrician The Western Empire was officially deadIt just might be that Heather s summation of these final years is the single best part of this The Daddy Search lengthy tome He uses modern archeological finds to dispel the theory that a dissipated Rome was suffering from a dramatic decline in population andays out how the Roman Im Jackson Day and Im Here to Stay landowners the educated provincials who had promoted Romanness at theocal Sugar Rush (Sugar Bowl, levels were tied by the veryand they owned the source of all their wealth from abandoning it in the face of invasion and so these andowners were forced to make accommodations with the barbarian kings who had overrun the territory on which they were situated Heather is also very good at bringing out the numbers to trace the deleterious effect upon the field armies above all else of the drastic drop in tax revenues when some of the richest most arable ands in the western empire were occupied by the migrant Germans Factor in the endemic instability around the Imperial throne and the inability of the eastern emperors to wield a free hand in the west and you have a recipe for exactly what happened Though the newly constituted barbarian kingdoms adopted Christianity and sought to maintain as many Roman forms as were feasible their very composition a mostly illiterate aristocracy of warrior chieftains and freeman who brought their own retainers into battle in Affairs of Honor lieu of a professional army worked against it and depending on the region and theevel of integration with imperial cultural and societal memes that it had achieved by the fifth century the ong enduring binds of Roman citizenship soon began to transmute into something altogether different and newAs Heather read from many of the same sources as did Gibbon he doesn t offer much that is new to the general narrative of the fall but rather to the details behind the events that occurred and to establishing a chain of reasoning both evidentiary and speculative in nature for why things proceeded as they did and what steps might perhaps have been taken to remedy this crisis of the fourth and fifth centuries and it has to be said that his effort is impressive and convincing in the extreme I have read that other Roman history uminaries Bloc Life like Adrian Goldsworthy don t hold with Heather s assessment with the former believing that at no time were the barbarians beyond Rome s ability to control were she served byess venal capable men but with my own The Indian Clerk limited knowledge and understanding of this period Heather can currently count me amongst those swayed by his theme Whilst it is never the case for aught than absolutists of which the field of history seems to possess a surprising and disturbing uantity that to one single factor can be attributed the cause of such a reverberant historical watershed Heather has convinced me that the barbarian element the evidence for their seriously increased populationevel and political sophistication their importation of Roman customs arms rules and discipline used in expanding their own power bases within the empire in essence Rome providing the Faith Fairies lessons and material for inflicting its own defeat the principal ingredient of the predatory Huns driving these German tribes westwards and into conflict with their Roman neighbor was of paramount importance in setting the stage for the failure of the fifth century Roman Imperial structure It just all rings true and seems well supported by the currentevel of evidence and knowledge at east as presented by the author Although parts might be a bit too academic for the casual history buff this is a solid well written enlightening and ultimately convincing assemblage of historical revisionism hell I l wager the Mighty Gibbon Himself would be proud Outstanding and detailed book created by an expert and a real authority in this field I have been following this author for the Spot last few years not just his books but also his articles in various specialist publications clearly demonstrate a mastery of this historical period His well balanced and detailed analysis make this book a pleasure to read Heather covers Gibbon s old stomping grounds but backed up w recent archeological finds Heather is an expert when it comes to the various barbarian groups that hammered the Roman Empire He s probably one of best when it comes to the mysterious Huns historians still don t know where they came from just educated guesses However Heather parts with Gibbon on the cause of Rome s fall seeing not so much decadence he feels that Rome as an Empire was running probably as well as ever making adjustments to changing times etc but an incredible string of barbarian incursions that simply swamped the frontiers The big havoc engine for all of this is the Huns pushing before their own Big Arrival these other violent bands into Roman territory This is a fine history but marred somewhat by Heather s flippant style This is hands down one of the best written most entertaining and easily digested books I have ever read regarding the fall of the Roman Empire Mr Heather gives a reader enough back story regarding Rome and its neighbors to understand the strategic situation before he then outlines his theory of just what happened to destroy the Western Roman Empire and how it was a gradua Overlyong although relatively easy to read account The author s first central thesis is that shortly before its fall the Roman Empire was actually in a healthy state contrary to classical analysis that although the rise of the Persian empire formed a huge military and hence monetary challenge to the Empire that the Empire managed to adapt organically to this new reality although this did The Hotel New Hampshire lead to both the replacement of self governing towns with an Imperial Bureaucracy and also due simply to the enormous distances involved in communication and command the permanent splitting of the Empire into two with four Imperial capitals none of which were Romeeading to tension and civil war that at that time many areas of rural economy were flourishing and finally that contrary to Gibbon s analysis Empire and Christianity uickly reached symbiosis One of his key arguments is that many of the reasons posited for the fall of the West also apply to the East which survived for many centuries as the Byzantine EmpireInstead he posits the fall of Rome as due to external influences principally the A Dangerous Man (Women and Men, large scale unplanned immigrationinvasion of and occupation by a significant number ofarge barbarian groups Although he admits that many of the classical factors weakened the West to the point where it couldn t cope with these pressures or resist the incursions in his concluding analysis he claims that it was only due to the Roman influence on the neighbouring Barbarian areas which as per Faulkner he says were dictated by areas of Sizzling Seduction land where sustainable arable farming was not possible and tribes eventuallyeading to them coalescing into Her Secret Husband (Secrets of Eden, large groups which were then big enough to force their way over the frontiers and to occupyarge tracts of Takedown land These occupations and in particular the Vandal seizure of Africa deprived the centre ofarge slices of revenue and eventually Baby, Im Yours (Guys And Daughters, led to its implosion asocal Her Counterfeit Husband landowners whose only asset was theirand made accommodation with the barbarians instead Finally he identifies the Huns as playing a key role but not in their invasions which ultimately failed in three non obvious ways firstly in precipitating the migration of the barbarian tribes secondly by diverting the Eastern Empire s flotilla sailing to the rescue of Africa and thirdly by their collapse after Attila s death in depriving the Romans of a force they were using to control the very barbarians they had pushed into Roman territory The Fall of the Roman Empire A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter HeatherThis new book by a professor at Worcester College University of Oxford is a true gem among books covering historical subject matter The past when covered by most books attempting to educate the reader on historical subject matter covering several hundred years often results in text book Heart of the Night (Secret Agent like reading without the inspirational individual efforts of the everyday citizen being included or explained In this case I am happy to report that not only are many individual citizens brought toife through recovered The Greek Bosss Demand letters and such but many connecting aspects of interpersonal rivalries and ambitions supported by empirical evidence are interspaced with the big picture events surrounding those people and theirives This book makes the reader aware of the issues and subject matter from the view of the small group or individual than any other book on Rome which I am familiar with The writing is also easy to follow for the average reader who is not a scholar If you are interested in finding out just how similar our world events today are to ancient Rome and the issues they faced read this book Rome faced many of the same issue as we see today Examples of these issues include inflation of coinage by deflating the value of the raw metal content in the coins gorilla warfare on its boarders political intrigue through spies by rival super powers citizens who were forced to deal with changing events rapidly if they wanted to start a business or venture into government work among many other examples Heather argues in my opinion very successfully that it was the barbarians who brought down the Empire rather than any social or moral collapse However the real value of this book is for the average reader to dive into something which reads February or Forever (Tarrins Bay like a fiction narrative trying to persuade the reader to a point of view In my opinion it succeeds However the average reader canearn so much on this subject matter without subjecting themselves to the many ong and boring textbooks which are so abundant for any topic related to Rome and its downfallAt 459 pages just for the story and persuasive argument for his theme Heather adds a timeline and other sources as well making the total page count 572 In my experience this book reads ike a page turner and should engage any history buff as well as those who shun history for its boring nature or A Virgin For The Taking (Clemenger Sisters lack of inspired stories to engage in and root for The characters that Heather has pass in and out of Rome s history in this detailed book seem real and alive Books on Rome are abundant but few engage the average reader in a way that compels and engages the imagination while failing to debase the story in the usual folly of solely telling everything from the view of the top personooking down on the minions Rome had entrepreneurs and businessmen between the gladiators and slaves and emperors Who knew that so many parallels to our modern western civilization would be seen through one book Read this book for the entertainment as well as the educational value relating to a civilization which still reaches forward in time to spread its influence on today s world events Whether you are interested in the development of the Germanic peoples influencing Rome and how they continue to influence us up to today or your interests What She Saw / Operation Reunion lie with an early cult of Judaism as it emerged from aeadership dominated by martyrs to become the dominant religion of the empire despite its founder being publicly executed by the same empire this book will put into perspective all of the issues of that time period in a way that is engaging and relevant to digest for the modern westernerThis book was fun entertaining and engaging I highly recommend it. 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 ast change for survivalPeter 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 barbarian.
Read The Fall of the Roman Empire A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
Dilettante And that is the basis upon which I recommend this book I m trashing the majority of what I have previously written here along with opting to round up my three and a half rating to a fulsome and fully merited four scrubbing the slate clean and making an effort to do this book some justice Prior allusions to the Mighty Gibbon and his masterpiece are inherently unfair to Heather he s certainly no Gibbon but then again who is The fact of the matter is that the British author is a pleasant and engaging writer who suffers from spells of dryness but now that I ve had a chance to revisit this thick and thoughtful book from the perch of a couple of day s distance it dawns upon me that the pleasure and engagement of his style are fuller and his aridity ess sere than I had originally stated Whilst Gibbon is indeed an Olympian Nectar it does Mr Heather a grave disservice to The Dark Duke label hisabor as aught but an anodyne draft of Tang With that said I did find myself proceeding at an irregular rhythm at times the minutiae of the data Heather was detailing slowed things to an absolute crawl only to once again break into a bantering canter as he wove into the tapestry the fascinating characters and ethnicities who performed on the stage during the tumultuous final century of the Roman Empire as it was originally constituted Beyond doubt this gentleman knows his stuff his analysis at A Measure Of Love (Kincaid Trilogy least on the surface is sound his depictions of Roman and Barbarianife convincing and strongly etched and he has crafted a well ordered and sensible progression for the setting down of his persuasive argument In a nutshell Heather s stance is that neither the adoption of an enervating Christianity nor a withering of the citizenry s moral fiber is what constituted the principal element of the Western Empire s fall but rather an exploding and structured Barbarian population that on the heels of an enduring and perilous threat from Sassanid Persia took advantage of favorable circumstances to migrate into a Roman Empire that was markedly different from that of the first century Starting Over on Blackberry Lane (Life in Icicle Falls lay waste to populated and prosperous regions and both cripple the tax revenues reuired by the imperial bureaucracy as well as fatally dividing theatter into factions who contributed to the instability around the throne This nutshell is packed to the brim with tasty and nutritious bits however The foundation is The Soul Of A Thief laid with Heather s survey of the Roman Empire just after the collapse of Diocletian s Tetrarchy with a focus on the differences between what existed moving through the Fourth Century and how things operated back when Augustus set forth the initial institutions the evolution of the sense of Romanness developed within the twin societal structures of the centralized Imperial administration andegal system and the ocalized civic and rural cultures of the various provincial constituencies along with the reuirement indeed the demand for than a single Caesar not merely for a better functioning and uicker reaction across a vast seventy million plus souled domain but to allow for a richer and extensive allocation of rewards promotions titles and wealth to the appreciably arger number of important imperial officials who demanded to be regularly mollified if their potentiality for mischief was to be kept dormantWhy was this the case Because as Heather puts forth the emergence of a serious superpower rival in the Sassanid brand of a revivified Persia spurred her Roman neighbor after a series of humiliating and regicidal defeats suffered at the hands of the Shah in Shah s forces to vastly expand and reorganize its standing military The separation into regular border armies under a dux and elite field armies under a comes than doubled the size of the military as well as bloating the imperial bureaucracy into a cast of thousands serving the separate courts of the joint emperors Heather also set forth how the Empire dealt with the necessity for a considerable influx of revenue ranging from debasing the currency overhauling the tax plan including various flavors of hitting up the powerful andowning class and the further rearranging of an imperial system that saw municipal and provincial development driven by the needs and designs of the ocalities with the imperial hand weighing Mystify (Mystyx, lightly upon the decisions Thus while the emperors assumed full control of the defense of the realm the myriad dioceses provinces and citiesead by an educated and relatively compact andowning class with extensive privileges handled an increasing amount of responsibilities in other fields centralizing and centrifugal forces at work upon each other at the same time Astride this theme rides another examining the role of Christianity after its adoption by the state under Constantine I the Great contra Gibbon Heather posits that since the Christian religion took at east two or three generations to fully inveigle its way into the culture of Wild Streak localized societies and was as affected by Romanization as the empire was by its new religion and since it meshed so well with the prior pagan idealization of the Emperor and the Empire as favored and thus destined for greatness under the gods and since those who abandoned the material world for isolated hermeticism were but a miniscule fraction of the total number of Christians many of whomong continued to mix into their Christianity a healthy amount of pagan practice whilst their priests strained it through the rational philosophies of the Greeks it never had a chance to enervate or enfeeble its practitioners to any appreciable degree before the devastating inroads of the barbarians in the P.I. Daddys Personal Mission (The Coltons of Montana, late fourth and early fifth centuriesAnd it is with these barbarians that Heather sees the fatal element in the circumstanceseading to the Fall of Rome Taking advantage of the depth of new understandings about the Say Youll Stay And Marry Me life of these Central and Eastern European tribes that has been achieved through archeology and science Heather dismisses those who claimed a mythological unity and purpose to the Germans or Aryans instead placing them as theyikely existed when the Empire was formed a myriad of politically chaotic and devolutionary tribes and tracing their development into the fourth century one that particularly as regarded their agricultural practices and expanded freeman class had been such as to generate a dramatic increase in their populations and political complexity right at a most propitious time The single most important catalyst was the thunderous arrival upon the Ukrainian steppe of the Huns that mysterious conglomeration of bow savvy nomads whose origins are still the source of much speculation and argument for a good Rafaellos Mistress laugh check out the Wikipedia discussions about such as the Hunnic Empire or the Origin of the Goths tempers flareike an erupting solar storm After Heather produces some fascinating details about this group The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, leaving the hint that he personally considers them the first Turkic presence at the eastern edge of Europe he details how their violent irruption onto the plains drove the Iranian and German tribes who currently occupied thatand westwards In 376 the Tervingi and Greuthungi two divisions of the Germanic Goths sought to migrate into the Roman Empire a decision that once granted by the Eastern Emperor Valens Rascal lead to the Gothic Wars and initiated a chain reaction that reverberated across the next seventy yearsSince as Heather points out it was standard operating practice for the Roman administrations to denigrate the barbarians as well barbarous ignorant flea riddled and bedraggled hordes awaiting the fulgent illumination of Roman enlightenment and civilization certain attitudes were reuired when dealing with them that often abraded reality A generation after the Gothic wars had uneasily fizzled to an end and as the Persian threat kept a sizable amount of the Roman military permanently occupied in the near east several tribes such as the Goths under the chieftain Radagaisus the Alamanni and the powerful supergroup comprised of the Germanic Vandals and Suebi allied with the Iranian Alans broke into the Empire after 405 and spread devastation whilst emperors engaged in internecine scheming or sent armies against them that suffered a series of setbacks Eventually the Vandal Alan group made its way to Spain before under heavy pressure from Roman field armies augmented by mercenary coalitions of Gothic Burgundian and Hunnic warbands crossing into North Africa and capturing the series of rich and economically vibrant provinces centered around Carthage in 439 After taking the reader upon a fascinating tour of North African development throughout the course of the empire sifetime in which it became the breadbasket of Rome and a dynamic economic engine for the western half of the empire he describes the massive military armada assembled by the Western and Eastern emperors in 441 to retake this vital geographical region and salvage the injured imperial revenues Alas at that very moment Attila unifier and bicep flexing military overlord of the newly constituted Hunnic Empire opted to make his first devastating incursion across the Danube bringing fire and steel to the Another Day of Life luxuriant roman villas and farms in the Balkan valleys and well earning the title of Scourge of GodHeather s excursion into the world of Attila is one of the best parts of the book At this point the Huns occupied the Great Hungarian Plain and with a comparatively small core of ethnic Hunnic warriors dominated a vast and tightly controlled conglomeration of Germanic Goths Sciri Heruli Gepids Burgundians Rugi Suebi and Iranian Sarmatian Iazyges Alans Massagetae tribes that had been pushed westwards and abutted the riverine frontiers of the Roman Empire Prior to Attila the Huns had been ruled by a coterie of petty kings and had contributed mercenary troops to the Western Empire during their battles with the Radagaisusian Goths and the Vandal Alan horde but Attila welded his neighbors into a mobile and ruthless marauding army that made severalengthy and destructive inroad campaigns into the Eastern and Western Empires during the the years of his rule 441 to 453 Heather paints the Hunnic Empire as being of a predatory nomadism one in which the constant promise of battle and booty was necessary to maintain control over such a disparate assemblage of tribes His tributary demands upon the Romans brought huge uantities of gold into the What Would You Like? lands of Germania for the first time while his marauding raidseft a terrible trail of destruction across some of the Empire s richest territories However Attila was checked for the first time by the Roman general Aetius who had augmented his forces with sizable contingents from the Franks and the Visigoths the supergroup composed of the remnant population of the Tervingi and Greuthungi Goths and the surviving followers of the defeated Radagaisus and this victory only confirmed the Visigoths in their possession outside of direct imperial control of the fertile Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, lands of Auitania in southwest GaulAttila s sudden death attributed to too much drinking and dinking with his umpteenth new bride was viewed by contemporaries as a salvational happening however in Heather s opinion it was the death of Attila that directlyead to the rapid crumbling and fall of the Western Empire Whilst Attila was king he maintained a strict and iron grip upon his undergroups and emigration from the Rhine Danubian frontier into the empire was virtually nonexistent Upon his death however the Hunnic Empire was plunged into a fratricidal civil war one in which within the span of a mere decade it ceased to exist in any unitary form Freed from the merciless control of their Hunnic overlords confined and congested by their proximity to each other and aware of the weakness of the Empire after years of battle with the nomadic hordes several Cinderella for a Night (36 Hours, large groupings of Germanic tribes the Burgundians the Franks a confederation of the Goths who had served under Attila crossed the river barriers and installed themselves upon Roman territory The Roman field armies were still of a size that concentrated in force they could have seriously tested any of these migratory barbarian groupings but they could never achieve such a concentration withouteaving the empire open to the predations of the others and the instability around the imperial throne and the wastage of troops in internecine fighting between factions contributed to this unsettled and revenue sapping state of affairsWith the decision made by the Eastern Emperor Leo and acceded to by Ricimer the Patrician kingmaker of the Western Empire and a man descended from Visigothic and Sciric royalty to elevate a competent eastern general one Anthemius to the Italian capital the Western half was once again in the hands of a formidable and determined rul. Re 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 befor conuering North Africa the breadbasket of the western empire in 439 We then meet Attila.
Narrated by Allan RobertsonLength 21 hrs and 42 minsDescription 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 Friend Foe lives for soong A The Longevity Diet leading authority on theate 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 Grassroots Innovation 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 kneesThe 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 conuering 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 sast chance for survivalPeter 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 barbariansAlways enjoyable to romp through the roman civilisation and see where renditions differ according to author spin I wouldn t call this tome revisionist yet I would say that it was probably a culmination of everything that finally did for the empire Unless you re some sort of history nerd the title sounds absolutely boring I m not a history nerd so that s what I thought boring when a friend et me borrow this book The book was not boring Not in the east The book is obviously about how the Roman Empire fell The thing that makes it interesting however is the fact that the author Peter Heather takes issue with the near unanimity of historians on the causes and contributing factors of the Empire s decline Sorry Gibbon but you were only partly correctRome s decline wasn t just their addiction to gluttony and the circus nor a raging invasion of Architecture and Utopia long haired barbarians ie decadence corruptionoss of values Rome s decline had to do with a gradual and seuential process by which European barbarians became entangled with the Roman empire on every Perfect Cities level eventually dismantling the vast structure from within Here s the thing about Heather He doesn t just tell you about history He tells you how to do history For example he explains how to interpret the pollen records of the 4th century and the implications were for Hunnic nomadic migration across the Eurasian steppes He also argues with other historians explaining why they are wrong Who doesn tove a good bench brawling historical scholars free for allAs he mixes argument with analysis with didactic historiography he creates a memorable and powerful way of proving his point It sticksI ve spent some time studying Christianity and the history of Christianity While reading Heather it occurred to me that I had a huge blind spot in my historical understanding of Christianity I m still trying to grasp not just how Christianity shaped civilization and the Roman Empire but conversely how Christianity was shaped by the Roman Empire Heather deals capably with this subject The few pages in which he discusses Augustine are outstanding Not a new book any published originally in 2005 this book attempts to give an explanation for the collapse of the western part of the Roman Empire Heather goes about building his narrative after first establishing what Romanness and barbarianism mean from the Prometheus Wired late fourth century Heather suggests the structural flaws in the empire troublesome succession was ingrained combined with diminishing tax revenues are the root causes The author also defies numerous theories on the way and gives aot of corroborating examples for his own positions Very readable with an eye for the non academics though sometimes a tad populistic for example characterizing the empire s financial situation as skint Recommended Admittedly I have very ittle knowledge about the Roman Empire This has not stopped me from creating a construct in my mind about how Rome fell The image I ve created is actually very simple subtle and elegant First picture a room the Coliseum Now imagine the Coliseum filled with men women and goats Everyone is naked including the goats Men are having sex with women Men are having sex with men Women are having sex with women The goats are having sex with everyone There is an elephant in the corner watching Besides the sex there is food Long tables groaning with suckling pigs racks of amb and skewered chicken And the booze There are flagons of wine and barrels of beer and it flows Special Topics in Calamity Physics like the Tiber Also the Coliseum is on fire There you have it The fall of Rome as it plays out in my head Just imagine every porn movie ever made combined with the binge drinking of The Real World the overeating of Man vs Food and the fires from Backdraft I came up with this construct because at one time or another I read somewhere that Rome fell due to its moral decay And to me nothing symbolizes moral decay better than a bunch of people having sex with goats eating turkeyegs and getting drunk while on fire Perhaps unsurprisingly the story told in Peter Heather s The Fall of the Roman Empire is uite a bit different than the scenario I just described More importantly Heather has a different take than that of Edward Gibbon the author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire According to Gibbon so I m told Rome collapsed because of civic decay a Seven More Languages in Seven Weeks loss of manliness the outsourcing of soldiery and the effects of Christianity Heather on the other hand blames the barbarians The bulk of Heather s story excluding an introductory chapter starts in the 300s and ends in the 400s Thus if you know most of your Roman history from watching moviesike me you can place The Fall of the Roman Empire sometime after the period covered by Stanley Kubrick s Spartacus and before William Wyler s Roman HolidayAccording to Heather the fall of Rome was precipitated by waves of migration brought about by invasion and not by invasion alone It began in the north with the rise of the Huns The Huns forced other barbarian groups including the Goths to flee into Roman territory Unable to keep the Goths out Rome reached a tenuous d tente with these groups allowing them to seek refuge within their borders This worked out fine until various barbarian coalitions decided to become you know barbaric The Scenes from a Revolution lesson never trust anyone calling him or herself a barbarianIn 378 a Gothic army defeated the Romans at Hadrianople in 410 they sacked Rome itself Later the Vandals vandalized Gaul and Spain and importantly conuered the resource rich territory of North Africa As Heather explains these were not simply military crises rather they precipitated political and economic catastrophe that spread to the Empire atarge Every temporary as well as permanent oss of territory brought a decline in imperial revenues the ifeblood of the state and reduced the western Empire s capacity to maintain its armed forcesAs the Roman state Microsoft Visual C lost power and was perceived to be doing so provincial Romanandowning elites at different times in different places faced an uncomfortable new reality The sapping of the state s vitality threatened everything that made them what they were Defined by the Soulprint land they stood on even the dimmest or mostoyal could not help but realize eventually that their interests would be best served by making an accommodation with the new dominant force in their Blah Blah Black Sheep localityIn the 440s the Huns which had heretofore had an indirect effect on the Empire rampaged across Europe and towards Rome itself under theeadership of Attila Though Attila s Huns defeated several imperial armies Heather downplays Attila s achievements Indeed according to Heather Rome was hurt worse by Attila s death than by his conuering armies Following Attila the Hunnic Empire fragmented Suddenly Rome acked a stable power with which they could barter bargain and sometimes rely on for military assistance Instead the Western Empire was forced to expend precious assets attempting to form coalitions with various immigrant groups Despite great expenditures Rome was never able to achieve stability The final gasp of the Western Empire was the disastrous attempt of the Byzantine Armada to recapture Carthage from the Vandals When this failed it doomed one half of the Roman world to extinction To be sure though this extinction did not occur amidst an orgy of goat sex gluttony and flames On the contrary it occurred gradually as a dawning realization a new state of affairs It is also important to note that Heather s book covers the fall of the Western Empire Rome itself has not crumbled by the final pagesWhen I evaluate history books I ook at two things scholarliness and accessibility Unfortunately uite often these two things do not go hand in hand A great writer is not necessarily a great historian and vice versa Here a good balance is struck First Heather is a renowned historian of the barbarians I assume there are very few openings for this position You see evidence of this not only in his amply annotated notes section but in his analysis of the evidence he presents It is readily apparent that he is not simply regurgitating the ideas of others Instead he presents his own theories and ideas based on his own extensive research in the field This wealth of knowledge and experience is especially important when dealing with ancient history which reuires a great deal of extrapolation to cover the gaps in the historical record Second Heather writes for the general reader the common man a person such as myself who knows only as much about Rome as a two hour guided tour of the Coliseum and repeated viewings of Gladiator can offer The book is arranged into three sections In the first Heather gives a helpful overview of the Roman Empire before things started going to hell He devotes a chapter to the Romans a chapter to the barbarians and a chapter to the Surrender logistical difficulties of running a vast empire when information moved at the speed of a horse over uncertain roads In the middle section Heather recounts the wars on the frontier the devastatingoss of the North African breadbasket and the rise of Attila Finally the The Highlanders Touch (Highlander, last section covers the breakup of the Huns and its calamitous effect on the Romans There are also several helpful addendums including a dramatis personae if youike me keep confusing Valentinian I and Valentinian III a glossary and perhaps most obliging of all a timeline In short Heather does not treat Roman history as a Member s Only Club where reading all six volumes of Gibbon is a prereuisite to entry This is not to say that he is a master prose stylist or that he has crafted a seamless narrative In fact I m not sure that s possible The trouble with ancient history is that we have to extract a O Regresso da Atlântida - Os guerreiros de Posídon lot from aittle Entire stories must be spun from surviving fragments of some guy s diary Thus any account of Rome must be constantly interrupted by disclaimers by hemming and hawing and by the admittance that for certain events no one really knows I found it hard to really get into a rhythm when Heather kept pausing to examine a shard of pottery or a sword found in a swamp Heather also has a tendency which seemed to grow towards Gdy mrok zapada (William Wisting, lame humor He makes the kind of sad weak jokes that a hopelessly out of touch father might make to his teenage daughter s friends I suspect that many readers might find this annoying Frankly it didn t bother me all that much There s no need to be starchy in the presentation of this subject because it s starchy enough We should take aot of things seriously The history of Rome is not one of these things Moreover the fall of Rome happened so The Scarlet Ruse (Travis McGee long ago that it s hard to believe it occurred on the same planet we now inhabit We areeft with ruins only to note its existence The injection of humor however pale it might seem is a welcome bit of humanity a reminder that we are all fellow travelers As much as I The White Road love history I will never be a student of Rome It has never truly appealed to me even after I visited Italy walked the streets of the Eternal City and consumed vast uantities of their cheapest wines At this point I suppose it will never be than a passing fancy something I pick up and put downike a fussy baby I guess that makes me an honest. A Bridges of Madison County leading authority on theate 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 evel eventually pulled the empire apart He shows first how the Huns overtuned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the empi.
Peter Heather is currently Professor of Medieval History at King's College London He has held appointments at University College London and Yale University and was Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at Worcester College Oxford until December 2007