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

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Dec 1, 2005 - History - 608 pages
61 Reviews
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.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
26
4 stars
23
3 stars
10
2 stars
2
1 star
0

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

User Review  - Louise - Goodreads

Heather tells the complex story of the Fall of the Roman Empire in a writing style so accessible that you feel like he is talking to you. He clearly presents his thesis (oversimplification: there was ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Ross - Goodreads

This is a very big book which told me a lot of interesting things I had not known about concerning the Roman Empire during the 1st to 5th centuries leading to the end of the Western portion of the ... Read full review

Contents

IV
3
V
46
VI
147
VII
149
VIII
195
IX
255
X
302
XI
351
XIII
433
XIV
463
XV
483
XVI
490
XVII
497
XVIII
539
XIX
555
Copyright

XII
387

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

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.

Bibliographic information