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The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  33 reviews
On August 9, 378 AD, at Adrianople in the Roman province of Thrace (now western Turkey), the Roman Empire began to fall. Two years earlier, an unforeseen flood of refugees from the East Germanic tribe known as the Goths had arrived at the Empire's eastern border, seeking admittance. Though usually successful in dealing with barbarian groups, in this instance the Roman auth...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Walker & Company (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Nina
When I told my history teacher that this book has shit grammar, he told me that the author had probably written it that way to make it more understandable to "young people".

I am worried for today's people. And not just the young.
Jim
The more I look around at the world political situation, the more interested I become in the later Roman Empire. Having just finished Alessandro Barbero's book The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire, I think that it is a worthy contribution to the historical literature of the era -- though I think that Barbero would most likely not agree with the subtitle that the publishers attached to his book. As he writes regarding the aftermath of the battle of Adrian...more
charta
Appassionante ma rigorosa è la ricostruzione degli avvenimenti che culminarono nella disfatta del 9 agosto 378 subita dai romani. Fu questa sconfitta epocale e non la deposizione dell'imbelle Romolo Augustolo a decretare la morte dell'Impero.
Per l'Occidente avvenimento pari alla scoperta delle Americhe o all'invenzione della stampa, è inspiegabilmente caduto nell'oblio. Barbero, storico di razza, ce lo restituisce intatto nella sua profondità e importanza.
Jason Golomb

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Readable History, January 14, 2010

Historians love to identify "notably rare moments" in history - symbolic dates that mark the end of one era and the beginning of another, states author Alessandro Barbero. World War II had its D-Day. Napoleon had his Waterloo. Was the Battle of Adrianople that notably rare moment in Roman history? "The Day of the Barbarians - The Battle that Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire" is a tightly written, 146-page review of a key mom...more
Juan-Pablo
The leitmotiv of this book is the Battle of Adrianople but it goes beyond it. It analyzes the integration of the Barbarians into the Roman Empire and ultimately its demise at their hands.

The battle itself is just a turning point in the sense that too many Roman soldiers were killed, and therefore that manpower had to be replaced with the Barbarians. The battle also generated a deep mistrust in the Goths which made their integration into the professional army complicated. Instead, whole regiment...more
Jonathan Moeller
This, my friends, was an excellent book.

It is a brief account of the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD, where the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and about two-thirds of his army were wiped out by Gothic refugees, who had fled into the Empire to take refugee from the onslaught of the Huns. This was a crushing physical and psychic blow to the late Roman Empire - to put it in modern terms, it would be roughly equivalent to a group of Mexican immigrants destroying two-thirds of the US Army and killing th...more
Steve
The battle of Adrianople has been often characterized by historians as a symbolic endpoint for the Roman Empire, and as a start point for the Middle Ages. Italian historian Alessandro Barbero, in his short, but informative history on the battle – and the times, is skeptical on the event being that dramatic. Instead, he argues that the battle, trauma that is was for the Romans, a defeat so complete it is comparable to Canae, accelerated changes that were already occurring in the empire. Primarily...more
Jane
Concise, clear readable history of the Battle of Adrianople, Aug. 9, 378 AD: what precipitated it; description of Emperor Valens and the battle; the aftermath; and its importance to world history.

The subtitle was perhaps a little misleading. The author states:..."one actually discovers the great changes had begun much earlier" --[the influx of barbarians, notably the Goths, not necessarily an invasion, but a Volkswanderung: migration of people]. "Adrianople marks an abrupt, dramatic accelerati...more
bkwurm
I suppose the author was limited by the availability of sources. That said, it would have been nice if the book had furnished us with more background and more on the results of the battle.

As it is, Emperor Valens' unpopularity with the populace is only mentioned in passing, his court and courtiers, including those who accompanied him to Adrianople and who had to hold the empire together after the catastrophe are all anonymous and it would have been useful to have included some mention of how th...more
Linda Harkins
This brief but well-written history provides the closure I've been seeking. What exactly transpired at Adrianople, the end of the Roman Empire according to many historians? Barbero expertly fills in the gaps. Then, after the Goths have been invited to cross the Danube to evade the Huns and settle in the Roman Empire and replenish the Roman army, all hell breaks loose. And, just when the Roman citizenry thinks peace is possible, Alaric sacks Rome in 410! Barbero states that when these "barbarian...more
Sighris
I finished this book several months ago while I was in India. I enjoyed reading it and got a better understanding of the "Fall of the Roman Empire". This book is relatively short and easy to read, however being short it leaves out a lot of information to focus on a few topics that (I guess) most other books on the Roman Empire have missed... so if you are interested in the causes of the collapse of the Roman Empire I recommend you add this little book to your reading list! Also, I noticed some s...more
Voss
bello.
Una storia che non conoscevo e una situazione tramandata in maniere del tutto falsa finalmente chiarita.
Bella scrittura, fonti e argomentazioni impeccabili.
Marilyn
I was hoping for an easy read to help me with understand the truth of the Falco mysteries I like. This book was not easy.
Ivo Crnkovic-Rubsamen
Barbero manages to craft a quite entertaining historical tidbit here. He describes the battle of Adrianople and its historical context in an often humorous, often sardonic, yet always intellectual and illuminative manner. The strength and weakness of this book are its brevity. The book is very digestible, leading to an easy read, yet leaves the reader feeling as if there is still a lot of the picture left to be discovered.

Would have been a solid 5 stars if Barbero had managed to keep the level o...more
Andrew
Author Alessandro Barbero shows two strengths in his writing: clarity and concision. The waning days of the Roman Empire were full of subtle yet profound change, and Barbero does not get bogged down in details explaining why it happened. The book is short, and while it helps if the reader is already familiar with the Roman Empire, casual historians will not get bored. Easy to understand, Day of the Barbarians sheds light on a time in history that rarely gets attention, and tells an exciting stor...more
Spock
... quello vero. Un ottimo resoconto di un evento fino a poco tempo fa poco esplorato. Di portata non inferiore alla storica sconfitta di Roma (guidata da a Publio Quintilio Varo) a Teutoburgo. Ma con implicazioni prospettiche altrettanto importanti. Li aveva segnato la fine dell'espansione a nord-est, qui invece era predittivo del disgregamento dell'impero, ormai colabrodo e poco Romano, che sarebbe avvenuto ufficialmente meno di 80 anni dopo.

Oggi ancora piu' attuale
Leslie
A good history focusing on one event in the long history of the Roman Empire. Barbero does a nice job with description and tells the story without weighing down the narrative with extraneous facts. I admit to not knowing anything about Adrianople and this particular battle, so this book filled in a gap in my knowledge. As it usually happens, a book like this just makes me want to go and read more.
Linda Harkins
Origially published in 2005 as 9 Agosto 378: Il Giorno di Barbari, this English translation provides the background for the Roman army's disastrous fourth-century defeat at Adrianople on Augus 9, 378. The only equivalent is Hannibal's victory about six hundred years before. At only 180 pages this is a fairly quick read that answers questions raised after my recent 2011 visit to Italia.
Gregory
An excellent overview of the causes behind the fall of the Roman empire. The book is ostensibly focused on the battle of Adrianople, but has a much wider view of history than is apparent from the dust jacket. The book convincingly paints this one battle as the fulcrum shift in european history which led to the downfall of mediteranean power. Essential to any serious Roman History reading list.
Dan Weiss
A nice little bite sized book that does not try to do too much. It is clear and concise without being too elementary. There are notes at the end for further reading so the reader is guided to go further if need be.
The thing I would most like to have seen in this book were more detailed maps rather that just one of the Empire.
Douglas
nice little thin volume about the Battle of Adrianople, at which the Goths whooped up on the Roman Legions. so far so good.

finished with that. thinly cited, and a lot of things stated with certainty that couldn't POSSIBLY be known for certain. an interesting read, but insubstantial.
Kayla
I wish that all history books were like this. I hardly felt like I was reading non-fiction at all, this surpasses all the traditional boundaries to make history come alive as the spell-binding narrative it truly is. I don't think I could sing this books praises well enough.
William
August 9, 378, a day that will live in infamy -- at least for the crumbling Roman Empire. A short and decently interesting study on a part of the empire we don't usually think about (i.e., far from Rome itself).
Stephen
This is just a straight narrative history on the battle of Adrianople which started the flood of barbarians into the Roman empire and precipitated it's fall. Nothing dramatic here but well executed.
Jonathon Laudinsky
The Day of the Barbarians deals with the Battle of Adrianople in 378 between the Romans and Goths.
Know nothing about the time or the battle and its importance? Read this one.
Eric
Feb 25, 2014 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ed lengel
Who said history is boring? This book tells of the Battle of Adrianople and it's significance as a noteworthy event in the decline of the Roman Empire.
Sara Ferrar
Fascinating! Sentences were a bit run-on, but that is probably due to the translation. I read this to my 9 year old son at his request and we both enjoyed it!
Martinxo
A very well written and gripping account of the start of the end of the Roman empire. Highly recommended if you're into Roman history and all that.
Mk100
Wonderful read. A terrific story - one you know already, but are happy to hear again because it is so well told.
RK Byers
God, the parallels between what happened in this book and what's happening today in America are disturbing!
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241929
Si laurea in lettere nel 1981 con una tesi in storia medievale all'Università di Torino. Successivamente perfeziona i suoi studi alla Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa e nel 1984 vince il concorso per un posto di ricercatore in Storia Medievale all'Università degli studi di Roma "Tor Vergata".
Nel 1996 vince il Premio Strega con il romanzo "Bella vita e guerre altrui di Mr. Pyle, gentiluomo".
Dal 199...more
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