The Fall of the Western Roman Empire

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire : Archaeology, History and the Decline of Rome

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The decline of the Roman Empire has been a subject of fascination and debate for centuries. In this original new work, Neil Christie draws on numerous sources, interweaving the latest archaeological evidence, to reconstruct the period's landscape and events. In the process, he rethinks some of historians' most widely held and long-established views: Was the Empire's disintegration caused primarily by external or internal factors? Why did the Eternal City of Old Rome collapse in the West, while the 'New Rome' of Constantinople endured in the East? What was destroyed and what remained of Roman culture after successive invasions by Vandals, Goths, Huns and other 'barbarians', and what was the impact of the new Christian religion? As Christie expertly demonstrates, the archaeology of the late Roman period reveals intriguing answers to these and other questions. Taking an innovative, interdisciplinary approach that combines traditional historical methods and a unique familiarity with the Empire's physical remnants, he uncovers new aspects of Rome's military struggles, its shifting geography, and the everyday lives of its subjects. Written in a clear, accessible style, The Fall of the Western Roman Empire is a perfect introduction for newcomers to the subject, and essential reading for undergraduate students and specialists in archaeology and ancient more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 162 x 238 x 30mm | 662.24g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Bloomsbury Academic
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 28 black and white figures and maps
  • 1849663378
  • 9781849663373

About Neil Christie

Dr. Neil Christie is Reader in Archaeology, School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester, UK. His principal research interests are the history and archaeology of Italy and the Western Mediterranean. He has researched and taught in Italy and the more

Review quote

A gripping and readable account... a thought-provoking book that more than meets the challenge of moving on from Gibbon. SALON - the Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter [T]he major strength of the book: an absolute lack of shyness with taking positions in the field's historiographical debates...I strongly recommend this book for classroom use, particularly to help students realize the impact of recent archaeology on the study of the late antique past. Moreover, Christie does not shy away from offering alternative interpretations of the same sets of evidence, with very instructive results and insights into the challenges of using archaeological data...All in all, the strength of The Fall of the Western Roman Empire is its constant movement between overarching historiographical themes and snapshots of archaeological and literary evidence which leads readers into a strong engagement with central issues of late antique history. -- Damian Fernandez, Northern Illinois University Bryn Mawr Classical Review A title that delivers in terms of bringing archaeology much more to the fore in discussion of the decline and fall of Roman provinces in the West across the 3rd and 6th centuries. Medieval Archaeology A well researched and thoughtful book, as is to be expected from a scholar of [Christie's] standing ... He succeeds in presenting the divergent data without simplifying the complexity of possible interpretations, discussing not only the possibilities but also the limits of the combination of historical and archaeological material. Carefully and critically done, the combination provides a much deeper understanding of the period. -- Ralf Bockmann, German Archaeological Institute, Rome, Italy The Classical Review Accompanied by a helpful series of maps, this overview of the decline of Roman influence in the West is an extremely readable introduction to a complex, much-debated part of history, weaving together the latest archaeological evidence with historical material. Christie's comments on the great diversity of religious beliefs under the Empire, as well as cultural changes brought by 'barbarian' invaders and the coming of Christianity are particularly insightful. A useful purchase for anyone studying this game-changing period of world history. World Archaeology [The author's] synthesis offers a useful introduction to recent archaeological research regarding the Roman West in the third through sixth centuries and to many of the interpretative questions that this period raises. It deserves to be widely read and debated. -- Bailey Young, Eastern Illinois University, USA Journal of Late Antiquity This is a valuable book providing a solid perspective of the archaeology of the Western Roman Empire in Late Antiquity; I learnt much, as will my students, who I will certainly be directing towards this volume -- David Petts, Durham University, UK Landscape History, vol. 35show more

Table of contents

Preface Introduction: Questioning Decline in the Late Roman West 1 The Fall of the Late Roman West: Contexts of Change, AD 200-500 2 Defending the Late Roman West I: Armies, Commanders and Enemies 3 Defending the Late Roman West II: Frontiers, Forts and Towns 4 Towns and Urban Society in the Late Empire 5 Three Capitals of the West: Rome, Milan, Ravenna 6 Pagans and Christians in the Late Roman West 7 Communications, Trade and Land 8 The Ends of Rome in the West Conclusions: An Empire Lost and Transformed Bibliography Indexshow more