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The Fall of the Roman Empire

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This fall of the Roman Empire has always been regarded as one of the most significant transformations in the whole of human history. A hundred years before it occurred, Rome was an immense power defended by an invincible army. A hundred years later, the power and the army had vanished.

The Fall of the Roman Empire succinctly describes the invasions from outside, and the we
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Paperback, 252 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Touchstone Books (first published 1976)
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Jan-Maat
Short chapters help to keep this essay readable. It's designed for the general reader with a brief historical introduction that leads into the main discussion.

It seems a little odd to say that the book is about the fall of the Roman empire because the contrast between the fall of the western half and survival of the eastern half is only explicitly made in a short appendix. Rather it is an essay on the role of disunity in the eventual end of the western half of the empire.

This disunity is explore
...more
Andrea
If you are a non-specialist like me (the target reader of this book, I think) you may find the first chapter or two a little rough going, as Grant lays out the entire time frame he will be discussing in the book. Since I was only vaguely familiar with many of the important historical figures he mentions, I got a little discouraged. But I kept going and quickly found the book understandable and enlightening. Grant uses not only economics and politics but also cultural points to explain some of th ...more
Scott
Very good at it's goal -- to summarize the dozen or so sources of disunity that led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476. It does that well, and quickly, and the parallels with our own world are eerily familiar. It's striking how effective the fleeing society was at undermining the Empire. Large number of folks "Went Galt," fleeing to caves, monasteries, the countryside, or just refused to support and participate in society and government. Good quick read. Recommended.
chris
Why did the an Empire that was no longer ruled from Rome - instead was ruled jointly in the periphery by highly romanised Gauls, Britons, Spaniards, North Africans, Italians collapse in the west - whilst in the East the maily Jewish-Coptic-Greek Eastern Empire survived?

Had the Western Romans in Gibbons opinion really become pygimies?

Or had the need for a central capital and Emperor become obsolete?

Grant deals with various reasons
1. Religion and the affect pasive christainity had on the Empir
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Debby
Jan 30, 2015 Debby added it
I did not read this.
Robert Gould
A quick read. It was exactly what I wanted. I had been hearing on the radio how the US was in some respects similar to Rome and following in some of the same footsteps as Rome, prior to it's fall. This addressed issues in a very readable way on how Rome fell, or at least issues that likely helped lead to its fall. I was then able to decide for myself if there was some similarity with the way the US is now.
Sean
Aside from a slightly stodgy, Christian worldview which peeks through the surface every now and again, a solid overview of many of the faultlines of the late Roman world.
Anthony Sutton
Thought provoking especially for people living in the US or Europe. Took me a while to get into the book but in the end it was a rewarding read.
Michael
He identifies 13 defects of the empire that became responsible for it's fall.
Padraic
Ever feel you've stumbled into a textbook?
Chad
A really concise but ambitious look at multiple causes for the Roman Empire's collapse; I'd go so far as call it a must for anyone even slightly interested in antiquity or the early Middle Ages.
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Michael Grant was an English classisist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus’s Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. He once described himself as "one of the very few freelances in the field of ancient history: a rare phenomenon". As a popularizer, his hallmarks were his prolific output and his unwillingness to ove ...more
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