The Ruin of the Roman Empire
The dream Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar shared of uniting Europe, the Medi-terranean, and the Middle East in a single community shuddered and then collapsed in the wars and disasters of the sixth century. Historian and classicist James J. O'Donnell—who last brought readers his masterful, disturbing, and revelatory biography of Saint Augustine—revisits this old stor...more
The primary thrust of O'Donnell's arguments is that what we call "the Roman Empire" didn't fall to barbarians but wa...more
For those of you familiar with late Roman history this should be familiar ground, focusing as it does on the reign of Justinian, and the years just preceding. It's a recent and more extreme extension of the recent trend to reexamine the reputation of the last "Great" emperor, Juatinian, in t...more
The author shows that the so-called barbarian generals who held and ruled Rome were essentially Roman generals and that the so called Vandals and Goths who rul...more
Justinian codified the Corpus Juris that forms the basis of the law in the vast majority of the world's countries (only a few common law and sharia jurisdictions are the exceptions). Because it was apparently not made clear in 1918, or in 1948, or in 196...more
Where I think the book fails is in forgetting the enormous perceived cultural differences between the *true romans* and *the barbarians*, by the former which doomed the attempts by very capable *barbarians* like Stilicho, Ricimer, Theodoric to "save" the western empire leading at best to assassinations and at worst to the final devastations of the Byzantine-Gothic war that almost turned Italy into...more
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