Ancient History & Civilisation

How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower

How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower

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. In his account of the fall of the Roman Empire, prizewinning author Adrian Goldsworthy examines the painful centuries of the superpower’s decline. Bringing history to life through the stories of the men, women, heroes, and villains involved, the author uncovers surprising lessons about the rise and fall of great nations.

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. Goldsworthy pays particular attention to the willingness of Roman soldiers to fight and kill each other. 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 wider good of the state.

Preface

Introduction - The Big Question

PART ONE - Crisis? The Third Century

Chapter 1. The Kingdom of Gold

Chapter 2. The Secret of Empire

Chapter 3. Imperial Women

Chapter 4. King of Kings

Chapter 5. Barbarians

Chapter 6. The Queen and the `Necessary' Emperor

Chapter 7. Crisis

PART TWO - Recovery? The Fourth Century

Chapter 8. The Four

Chapter 9. The Christian

Chapter 10. Rivals

Chapter 11. Enemies

Chapter 12. The Pagan

Chapter 13. Goths

Chapter 14. East and West

PART THREE - Fall? The Fifth and Sixth Centuries

Chapter 15. Barbarians and Romans: Generals and Rebels

Chapter 16. The Sister and the Eternal City

Chapter 17. The Hun

Chapter 18. Sunset on an Outpost of Empire

Chapter 19. Emperors, Kings and Warlords

Chapter 20. West and East

Chapter 21. Rise and Fall

Conclusion: A Simple Answer

Epilogue: An Even Simpler Moral

Glossary

Bibliography

Notes