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. 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. 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 greater good of the state.
"This richly rewarding work will serve as an introduction to Roman history, but will also provide plenty of depth to satisfy the educated reader." (Publishers Weekly)
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The tragic story of the fall of a great empire
How comprehensive the story was. It began before Commodus and went past 476. This emphasized how the fall was not in a vacuum nor was it necessarily a true, catastrophic collapse.
It continually emphasized the facts instead of wide held societal beliefs. Each supposed cause of the fall of the Roman empire was examined and preconceived notions where attacked and discarded. It is very balanced and reasonable.
As with all my reviews of his work, he is an excellent narrator who can really bring the story to life.
They said it was un-filmable, and they where right
If you want a general overview of the narrative and potential causes of Rome's dissolution, this is an excellent source
he's got me convinced!
Yes, and I might do that. I've read or listened to several recent books on this question, and Goldsworthy's argument is compelling. If every time you have a change of government, you have a devastating, depopulating civil war, and you have changes of government all the time, then it seems that you don't have to go very far to find out why Rome fell.Goldsworthy is really good at marshaling the evidence and not going beyond.
I did not have a favorite character.
Derek Perkins is a fine narrator. I should add that I am not extraordinarily fastidious in that regard.
no, it is too long.
Goldsworthy is an excellent writer with fine analytical skills. He also wrote a terrific book on Julius Caesar, Life of a Colossus.