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The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians (2005)

av Peter Heather

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,1312413,587 (4.06)27
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.… (mer)
  1. 10
    Rubicon : den romerska republikens uppgång och fall av Tom Holland (kkunker)
  2. 10
    How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower av Adrian Goldsworthy (HarmlessTed)
    HarmlessTed: Where Heather emphasizes the pressure barbarians exercised on the borders of the Roman empire, Goldsworthy`s focus is on internal Roman conflicts, as long-time consequences of the regime-change from republic to principate.
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Heather makes the point that the Western Roman Empire collapsed, not because of some inevitable internal decline, but because of growing pressure from outside by what can be conveniently called 'Barbarians'. This in turn weakened the Empire, which set in motion a vicious circle ending in the dissolution of 476.

This is narrative history at its best. The chatty tone (calling fibulae 'safety pins' for instance) can be a little unsettling at first, but he knows his stuff. He keeps the narrative line uncluttered (East Roman politics, or internal Germanic developments are only mentioned when the are relevant to the main story line. Likewise, people are introduced as and when they are needed to explain the course of events. This makes for a certain back and forth in chronology, but it keeps the main argument easy to follow. ( )
  CharlesFerdinand | May 30, 2021 |
My rating is unfair: this is a very good book, that will appeal to all kinds of readers. Heather's sentences are very readable, he tells a good story, he takes into account pretty much every factor you possibly could to explain the "fall" of the Empire (including the possibility that it wasn't a fall etc...), and he addresses major scholarly debates. His case is well laid out and convincing: the fall of Rome in the west can only be understood in the context of profound changes in other parts of Eurasia, which forced populations to move, alliances to change, and so on.

But honestly, this is far too long. It turns out that taking account of pretty much every factor, and telling a good story about each of them in clear sentences can make a really dull book. Sometimes you don't need a story, you know? Sometimes you don't need to repeat every single fact about the Huns to make the argument that the Huns are important for understanding the fall of Rome.

So I got bored. But if you care about the subject matter, and have a higher tolerance for blow by blow military history than I do (you know what matters about a battle? Who won, and maybe why. Otherwise, please don't tell me about it. It's like describing a football game between two teams the reader doesn't care about), you'll love it. And if you have my very low tolerance, you should still read it, because there are great tales and great arguments. And every dull battle report is followed by something interesting. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Interesting and well written history of the Roman Empire and it's interactions with the barbarians. Includes dramatis personae, timelines and a glossary, which are extremely helpful. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
One of the best history books I have ever read, combining narrative flair with analytical depth. ( )
  pingdjip | Aug 20, 2018 |
while Adrian Goldsworthy's book on the same theme deals Rome's long standing administrational and strategic Issues, Heather's book is far more tactical. The cause of the disappearance by 476 is far more due to mishandling of the empire's relationship with the Hunnic "Empire" stapled together by Attila. There was simply too much stress from the usual level of usurpers, the failing tax base, and the loss of Africa to the Vandals, and a loss of Gaulish revenue, for a central administration to deal with. It is fun to read both of these authorities, consider Walbank's "the Awful Revolution" and of course the prose of Gibbon, and come to one's own conclusion. This is a good book on the tactics. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Dec 2, 2017 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (11 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Heather, Peterprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Cherchi, StefaniaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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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.

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