A major new narrative account of one of history's greatest and most epic mysteries: the strange death of the Roman Empire. 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 proposes a stunning new solution to one of the greatest mysteries of history. Mixing authoritative 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.
"'a colourful and enthralling narrative...an account full of keen wit and an infectious relish for the period.' Independent On Sunday 'provides the reader with drama and lurid colour as well as analysis... succeeds triumphantly.' Sunday Times 'a fascinating story, full of ups and downs and memorable characters' Spectator 'bursting with action...one can recommend to anyone, whether specialist or interested amateur.' History Today 'a rare combination of scholarship and flair for narrative' Tom Holland"