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428 Ad: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire
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428 Ad: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  70 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
This is a sweeping tour of the Mediterranean world from the Atlantic to Persia during the last half-century of the Roman Empire. By focusing on a single year not overshadowed by an epochal event, "428 AD" provides a truly fresh look at a civilization in the midst of enormous change--as Christianity takes hold in rural areas across the empire, as western Roman provinces fal ...more
ebook, 232 pages
Published April 25th 2011 by Princeton University Press (first published January 18th 2007)
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Evan Brandt
Only on chapter two.
Another in a series of historians arguing with other historians in the pages of a book, but I'm gleaning what I can without the base of knowledge it assumes its readers have.


Well, I finished this last night and my initial impression was borne out.
This is not a book which a novice on the subject, such as myself, can expect to understand completely. The names of the people and the places is, in and of itself, bewildering and written for those already familiar with this era,
Katharine Kerr
Jan 25, 2013 Katharine Kerr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Traina's basic concept works very well. In a series of short chapters he takes the reader on a quick trip around the Mediterranean world in Late Antiquity that gives the "feel" of the political situation at the time. He tucks a lot of interesting details into his presentation as well, including a fascinating glimpse of the Sassanid Empire, a subject too often left out of studies of the Graeco-Roman world.
The translation, however, is a problem. Some sentences simply don't make sense. A couple o
Rui Valente
The author's premise is to examine life and the state of the Roman Empire at a particular, normal year, of the late roman empire. I find the concept original: the book then provides an interesting and panoramic look of the Roman Empire, area by area, and also beyond.
Still, I was left wondering many times if I was reading a history of the state of early christianity in 428, and not one about the roman empire. I would have like to have learned more about Theodosius II dilemmas, Aetius, about the s
A short but eloquent study of what the author calls "an ordinary year at the end of the Roman Empire." He starts in Armenia, and circles the Mediterranean in a counter-clockwise direction, using obscure but telling events and personalities to tell the story of a varied and quite dynamic Empire, challenged but far from over, and the complicated ways "barbarians" had become a part of the imperial future. For anyone interested in late antique Rome, or in the background of Augustine of Hippo's "City ...more
Margaret Sankey
Snapshots--a diplomatic mission to Persia, monks in Egypt, Vandal feudalism, the Emperors in Constantinople and Ravenna--of the Mediterranean in what seemed like an ordinary year to the participants. And yet, from our hindsight, we can see all the fault lines and cracks which will shortly collapse the west and embattle the east for the next thousand years.
Jan 30, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ancient-rome
What was so special about 428 A.D.? According to historian Giusto Traina, that year represented perhaps the last time that both halves of the Roman Empire were able to act as one. In Constantinople, the throne was occupied by Theodosius II. From Ravenna, Valentinian III ruled the Western Empire. The Sassanid Empire (Persia) was ruled by the Zoroastrian Bahram V, who began the year by, in effect, moving Christian Armenia from the Roman sphere of influence into his own. In the other end of the Emp ...more
Frédéric Bey
Aug 03, 2011 Frédéric Bey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avec 428, Giusto Traina nous entraine dans un long périple, tout autour de la Mare Nostrum, au cœur de toutes les provinces d’un empire qui se réclame d’être encore universellement romain. Les mentalités, les grands personnages, les querelles religieuses qui accompagnent le triomphe du christianisme et les quelques événements marquant d’une année ordinaire du Ve siècle sont dépeints dans le livre avec précision et érudition. L’empereur Théodose II, sa femme Eudoxie, sa sœur Pulchérie, Syméon le ...more
Harry Maier
428 offers a snapshot of the Roman Empire in the year Nestorius was elevated to Patriarch of Constantinople by Theodosius II. The author takes us on a tour of the Empire with a chapter dedicated to each geographical region moving counter-clockwise from Byzantium and ending with Sassanid Persia. In each case there is a interesting account of the geopolitics of the area as well as its history from roughly the start of the Theodosian dynasty onward. The picture presented is one in which the traditi ...more
Grady McCallie
The format of this book is what makes it work: a tour of the Late Antique world, running widdershins from Armenia, to Constantinople, to western Europe, to north Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Persia. The snapshot of a single year sacrifices a sense of change over time for a view of the connections among contemporaneous figures who are usually studied as belonging to separate traditions. Given the approach, it's no surprise that the book lacks a strong narrative arc, and leaves a lot of loose end ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-history
The author picks an "ordinary" year to present a survey of the Roman Empire about 50 years prior to its "end". The author notes that this year had a singular exception to its ordinariness, which is the fall of Armenia. The survey is organized around regions which show a few of the fissures that were soon to crack or crumble.

My knowledge of people and ethnic groups is limited so a lot of this did not stay with me. The maps helped as did some of the descriptions of individuals.

This is an interesti
Mar 15, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Absolutely fascinating read and a great idea. Bringing events in one part of the Empire into the Context of events in the rest of the empire. A great book.
May 28, 2013 Alxandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
428 AD provides a snapshot of history. Instead of describing all of the befores and afters at the same time, this book filters the decline of Roman Empire through the view point of one year, 428 AD.

I have to agree with other reviewers that this book is not particularly user friendly for Roman history neophytes. It took some persistence to stay with the book at its beginning, but as I warmed up to the book, I really wanted to find out what happens next.

After finishing this book, I want to know m
Mar 07, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history fans, unfamiliar with this time
A good starter book for this era, but also fun for those of us who know more. Instead of the 'did Rome fall' controversy, Traina takes us on a tour through the Roman Empire and edges at just about the last time it was the whole Roman Empire. (Britain and northern France had already been evacuated, and various Germanic tribes held Spain and southwestern France, but people (merchants and priests mostly) could still travel fairly easily through the whole area.) Each chapter covers one area. Traina ...more
late-antiquity, byz-la-ema-owned
Nice overview of the goings-on in the Roman Empire in the year 428 AD. Since I'm not a history professor, I had no idea who 75% of the people were or what significance they had in what would happen to the Roman Empire as it fell apart. Still, the details with this "year in review" made up for my amateur historian status. When the author would debate theories of other historians, my eyes would just scan until I found something else interesting to read. Doing that, it's short enough to read in a f ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ancient-rome
In a unique approach, Traina examines Late Antiquity through the lens of a single year in the Fifth Century. In what first appear to be an unrelated set narratives, the reader follows several figures and events, garnering a sense of life in the Roman Empire and throughout the Mediterranean world. Traina demonstrates that, far from an age of malaise and decay, the "twilight" years of Rome were in fact a vibrant and active time. I recommend this to anyone with a love of classical history.
Alexander Rolfe
It's fun to have Armenians, Sogdians, Blemmyans, and Vandals all showing up in the same book. I never knew what he was going to tell me next, but there was a lot of fascinating material to make up for the lack of sustained argument. He didn't seem to know what to think of the barbarian migrations-- whether it was a lot of people migrating, or everybody just staying put, changing names and clothes. That's a tangled mess, but it's sort of his job to figure it out.
Well it was infromational...
A great conceit. Cover the world of ancient Rome in one year: 428. This is the year when Nestorius become bishop of Constantinoble, a critical moment in the history of orthodoxy and heresy. Traina goes from Armenia and the Imperial court in Constantinoble to Ravenna, Gaul, Africa, Egypt, Jerusalem, and the Silk Road.
I enjoyed this book, but due to the subject it seemed rather slight, and I wondered if people who hadn't read in the period before could follow. In that I enjoy the period, I appreciated the book.
Muhammad Nouman
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