The Restoration of Rome
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The Restoration of Rome : Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders

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In 476 AD, the last of Rome's emperors, known as "Augustulus," was deposed by a barbarian general, the son of one of Attila the Hun's henchmen. With the imperial vestments dispatched to Constantinople, the curtain fell on the Roman empire in Western Europe, its territories divided among successor kingdoms constructed around barbarian military manpower. But, if the Roman Empire was dead, Romans across much of the old empire still lived, holding on to their lands, their values, and their institutions. The conquering barbarians, responding toRome's continuing psychological dominance and the practical value of many of its institutions, were ready to reignite the imperial flame and enjoy the benefits. As Peter Heather shows in dazzling biographical portraits, each of the three greatest immediate contenders for imperial power--Theoderic, Justinian, and Charlemagne--operated with a different power base but was astonishingly successful in his own way. Though each in turn managed to put back together enough of the old Roman West to stake a plausible claim to the Western imperial title, none of their empires long outlived their founders' deaths. Not until the reinvention of the papacy in the eleventh century would Europe's barbarians find the means to establish a new kind of Roman Empire, one that has lasted a thousand years. A sequel to the bestselling Fall of the Roman Empire, The Restoration of Rome offers a captivating narrative of the death of an era and the birth of the Catholic Church.

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  • Hardback | 488 pages
  • 160.02 x 243.84 x 43.18mm | 771.1g
  • 21 Mar 2014
  • Oxford University Press, USA
  • English
  • 0199368511
  • 9780199368518
  • 354,736

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Author Information

Peter Heather is Professor of Medieval History at King's College London. He is the bestselling author of The Fall of the Roman Empire, Empires and Barbarians, and numerous other works on late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

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Review quote

"In this brilliant account... Peter Heather explains how and why efforts to reconstruct the Roman empire ultimately failed, and how they unwittingly laid the foundation for a new sort of Roman empire... This is a beautifully written book that combines sprightly narrative with detailed analysis, but never loses the big picture." --Peter Jones, BBC History Magazine "The Restoration of Rome presents an exciting and learned argument in a convincing, passionate way designed to be intelligible to a popular audience. Heather is a masterly interrogator of evidence, questioning the texts he quotes in such a way to make his book feel at times like a historical detective puzzle... This is a keenly conceived, deeply intelligent and very timely history." --Dan Jones, Sunday Times "This is the story of the birth of Europe, with its profusion of competitive states. It is told with energy and zest, full of lurid detail and enthralling biographical portraits." --Ben Wilson, Telegraph "A tightly argued and highly stimulating book that will be of obvious interest to readers curious about the aftermath of Rome's fall and the cultural and ideological legacy of Rome. The style is chatty and accessible, and the scholarship up to date and reliable." --Peter Sarris, Literary Review

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