The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization

The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization


By (author) Bryan Ward-Perkins

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 193mm x 15mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 7 September 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0192807285
  • ISBN 13: 9780192807281
  • Illustrations note: 40 integrated halftones
  • Sales rank: 51,249

Product description

Why did Rome fall? Vicious barbarian invasions during the fifth century resulted in the cataclysmic end of the world's most powerful civilization, and a 'dark age' for its conquered peoples. Or did it? The dominant view of this period today is that the 'fall of Rome' was a largely peaceful transition to Germanic rule, and the start of a positive cultural transformation. Bryan Ward-Perkins encourages every reader to think again by reclaiming the drama and violence of the last days of the Roman world, and reminding us of the very real horrors of barbarian occupation. Attacking new sources with relish and making use of a range of contemporary archaeological evidence, he looks at both the wider explanations for the disintegration of the Roman world and also the consequences for the lives of everyday Romans, in a world of economic collapse, marauding barbarians, and the rise of a new religious orthodoxy. He also looks at how and why successive generations have understood this period differently, and why the story is still so significant today.

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Author information

Bryan Ward-Perkins is a lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in History at Trinity College. Born and brought up in Rome, he has excavated extensively in Italy, primarily sites of the immediate post-Roman period. His principal interests are in combining historical and archaeological evidence, and in understanding the transition from Roman to post-Roman times. A joint editor of The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. XIV, his previous publications include From Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, also published by Oxford University Press.

Review quote

Teasingly stimulating, acutely critical, abundantly constructive, and certain to unleash endless debate. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of Civilizations and Millennium This hard-hitting and beautifully written assessment will, I am delighted to say, cause a great deal of trouble. The Sunday Telegraph

Table of contents

1. Did Rome Ever Fall? ; PART ONE: THE FALL OF ROME ; 2. The Horrors of War ; 3. The Road to Defeat ; 4. Living Under the New Masters ; PART TWO: THE END OF A CIVILIZATION ; 5. The Disappearance of Comfort ; 6. Why the Demise of Comfort? ; 7. The Death of a Civilization? ; 8. All for the Best in the Best of All Possible Worlds? ; Appendix: From Potsherds to People ; Chronology ; Notes ; Bibliography