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Romans and Barbarians: The Decline of the Western Empire (Wisconsin Studies in Classics) [Paperback]

By E. A. Thompson (Author)
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Item description for Romans and Barbarians: The Decline of the Western Empire (Wisconsin Studies in Classics) by E. A. Thompson...

This text presents the fall of the Roman Empire from the barbarians perspective. Aimed at students of the late Roman Empire, of early Germanic history and society and of the early medieval history of the Mediterranean area, the book is an attempt to penetrate the minds and attitudes of the barbarians. This edition, the first paperback, has a new foreword by F.M. Clover and J.H.W.G. Liebschuetz and is part of the Wisconsin Studies in Classics series.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: University of Wisconsin Press
Pages   344
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.12" Width: 5.96" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 10, 2002
Publisher   University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN  0299087042  
ISBN13  9780299087043  

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More About E. A. Thompson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! E. A. Thompson (1914-1994) was professor of classics at the University of Nottingham in England from 1948 to 1979. His many books include A History of Attila and the Huns, The Visigoths in the Time of Ulfila, and The Goths in Spain.

E. A. Thompson has an academic affiliation as follows - Formerly University of Nottingham.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Rome
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Ireland > Medieval
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General
6Books > Subjects > History > World > Medieval

Reviews - What do customers think about Romans and Barbarians: The Decline of the Western Empire (Wisconsin Studies in Classics)?

You'll learn a lot from it if it doesn't put you to sleep...  May 2, 2008
`Romans and Barbarians' is, to sum it up in a sentence, a summary of Western Europe's history from the 5th to the 8th Centuries AD. Mr. Thompson present an incredible amount of information in this clearly very well-researched book. My only reason for giving it four stars instead of five is that this is very possibly the most boring book on the barbarians I have ever read, yet this is one of the most exciting moments in Western history. I actually fell asleep reading this one a couple times, which I never do.

This is a new paperback edition of this book, which was originally published in hardcover in the UK. The author is E. A. Thompson (1914-1994), who was a professor of classics at the University of Nottingham in England 1948-1979. He wrote a number of other books on the Romans and barbarians in his life, but this one was the most popular. He was summed up by R. A. Markus in the Journal of Roman Studies as `one of the pioneers of the revival in the study of Late Antiquity'.

The introduction to this book is a combination of a condensed history of the earlier Roman-barbarian relations and a summary of the book's scope and content. Several pages of the intro are devoted to the three major forms of contact between Roman and barbarian-warfare, economics, and barbarian movements and migrations.

The first chapter, `The Settlement of Barbarians in Southern Gaul' begins in the year AD 418 and a look at the Germanic and Sarmatian groups traveling (or rampaging) through Gaul and Spain at the time. The second chapter is a summarized history of the earlier Visigoths up to their permanent settlement in Spain, and the third is already looking at the nominal date of the fall of the Western Empire, 476.

From the fourth chapter on to the twelfth and final one, most of this book concerns either the wars between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Goths, or events in Spain in the 5th and 6th Centuries. Three whole chapters are about the barbarian conquest of Spain, and one is exclusively about the Suevic Kingdom of Galicia. Another chapter is devoted to the fall of Noricum, one of Rome's final holdings in the West at the close of the 5th Century, and from which our last epigraphic evidence of Western Roman soldiers comes. On a personal level these chapters were some of the most enlightening for me; the barbarians in Spain, especially the Suevi, fail to receive as much attention as the Vandals and Ostrogoths of the 6th Century.

The barbarian settlement in Britain is dwelt with, but in little detail in comparison to other books. Two other chapters of note concern, respectively, the Italian outlook on the `Byzantine' conquest of Italy under Belisarius in the 6th Century, and the barbarians of the entire period who collaborated with Rome, and often accepted Christianity. Numerous examples of both barbarians who took up Roman ways and also bizarre cases of that going the opposite direction are mentioned in this final chapter. Useful also is the small essay on the Bacaudae at the close of the book, and the comprehensive list of ancient sources.

In short, if you are looking for a scholarly examination of the Western Roman and Early Byzantine Empires' associations, both friendly and not so friendly, with the Goths, Sueves, and Vandals 418-c. 700, this will be a good book for you-just don't buy it expecting to be entertained.

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