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How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower

How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower
Autor: Adrian Goldsworthy
Data publikacji: 2010-09
ISBN: 9780300164268
Wydawca: Yale University Press
Język: angielski
Wymiary: 15.2 x 4.1 x 23.1 cm
Oprawa: miękka
Liczba stron: 540
87.00 zł
Ilość:


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Opis produktu:
In AD 200, the Roman Empire seemed unassailable, its vast territory accounting for most of the known world. By the end of the fifth century, Roman rule had vanished in western Europe and much of northern Africa, and only a shrunken Eastern Empire remained. In his account of the fall of the Roman Empire, prizewinning author Adrian Goldsworthy examines the painful centuries of the superpower s decline. Bringing history to life through the stories of the men, women, heroes, and villains involved, the author uncovers surprising lessons about the rise and fall of great nations.This was a period of remarkable personalities, from the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius to emperors like Diocletian, who portrayed themselves as tough, even brutal, soldiers. It was a time of revolutionary ideas, especially in religion, as Christianity went from persecuted sect to the religion of state and emperors. Goldsworthy pays particular attention to the willingness of Roman soldiers to fight and kill each other. Ultimately, this is the story of how an empire without a serious rival rotted from within, its rulers and institutions putting short-term ambition and personal survival over the wider good of the state. "

About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy is a preeminent historian of the ancient world. His many acclaimed works include Caesar, a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the Society of Military History's Distinguished Book Award for Biography. Goldsworthy, who received his doctorate at Oxford, lectures widely and consults on historical documentaries produced by the History Channel, National Geographic, and the BBC.

Reviews

At only 40 years of age, British historian Goldsworthy's (Caesar) ninth Roman history offers the same high level of scholarship, analysis and lucid prose as the previous eight. After a superb survey of Roman politics and civilization, Goldsworthy begins with the death in A.D. 180 of emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose reign is traditionally viewed as the apex of Roman power. During the disastrous century that followed, emperors rarely ruled more than a few years; most were murdered, and civil wars raged, though there was some stability during the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine. Invasions slowly chipped away at the empire until it vanished in A.D. 476 with the abdication of the last Western emperor. Goldsworthy makes sense of 300 years of poorly documented wars, murders and political scheming. Highly opinionated, he presents surviving documents and archeological evidence to back his views such as that Constantine became Christian because Roman leaders traditionally believed that divine help won battles, and the Christian god seemed to Constantine like the front-runner. This richly rewarding work will serve as an introduction to Roman history, but will also provide plenty of depth to satisfy the educated reader. Illus., maps. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

These two fine books about late Roman history bring to mind the current discussion of the worldwide economic debacle's impact on empire. Goldsworthy's popular history traces the three centuries leading up to the final collapse of the Western Empire in 476 C.E. In the shorter, more academic 428 AD, Traina follows a single year across the late empire from Egypt to Britannia. While Goldsworthy pursues large-scale trends over centuries, Traina describes life on the ground (as far as the historical record allows) through the leading figures of the day, including generals, emperors, and clerics. Goldsworthy convincingly argues that the Roman state collapsed from within, showing that internal disorder and the ballooning bureaucracy (rather than barbarian invasion or Christianity) created the conditions leading to fall. Traina's focus on a single year, a half-century before the end of the Western Empire, reveals a world already more like the medieval period than ancient times, with Christian bishops arguing over heresy, ascetic monks perched atop columns, and Germanic tribes occupying much of Gaul and Spain (and preparing to invade Africa). The authors' complementary perspectives lead to similar conclusions: the empire's ever-so-slow collapse was almost unnoticeable to the Romans, for whom the concept of mighty Imperial Rome endured despite the reality simply because there was nothing to take its place. Unusual for a popular historian, Goldsworthy always takes the time to share with readers his interpretive process with source materials, and he is more explicit than Traina about present-day parallels. Goldsworthy's book would satisfy any reader, while Traina's scholarly work makes a good follow-up for serious students.-Stewart Desmond, New York Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"Goldsworthy . . . claims the empire''s fatal move was to make the centre of authority-Rome and its experienced senatorial government-irrelevant. . . . Goldsworthy''s expertise guarantees his clearly and powerfully articulated thesis will open up the debate all over again." -- Peter Jones "Telegraph" (06/07/2009)



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