In AD 378 the Roman Empire had been the unrivalled superpower of Europe for well over four hundred years. And yet, August that year saw a small group of German-speaking asylum-seekers rout a vast Imperial army at Hadrianople, killing the Emperor and establishing themselves on Roman territory. Within a hundred years the last Emperor of the Western Empire had been deposed. What had gone wrong?
In this ground breaking book, Peter Heather proproses a stunning new solution to one of the greatest mysteries of history. Mixing authoratative analysis with thrilling narrative, he brings fresh insight into the panorama of the empire’s end, from the bejewelled splendour of the imperial court to the dripping forests of “Barbaricum”. He examines the extraordinary success story that was the Roman Empire and uses a new understanding of its continued strength and enduring limitations to show how Europe’s barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome, eventually pulled it apart.