Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire” as Want to Read:
The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  260 Ratings  ·  39 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, 192 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Walker Books (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Day of the Barbarians, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Day of the Barbarians

I, Claudius by Robert GravesThe First Man in Rome by Colleen McCulloughClaudius the God and His Wife Messalina by Robert GravesThe Twelve Caesars by SuetoniusThe Agricola and The Germania by Tacitus
Best Books About Ancient Rome
164th out of 548 books — 872 voters
War and Peace by Leo TolstoyThe Iliad by HomerThe Killer Angels by Michael ShaaraAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueHenry V by William Shakespeare
Major Battles in History and Fiction
46th out of 204 books — 60 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 551)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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.
Feb 26, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ancient-rome
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
Aug 12, 2012 charta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storia
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.
Sep 19, 2015 Anjan rated it it was amazing
This book reads like a movie, I devoured it one sitting. Then, I stood up from the bookstore chair and bought it.

The book uses the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD as a narrative device to branch out and discuss aspects of the Roman Empire that lead up to what many consider a "symbolic" end to the Roman Empire. Of course, empires tend to crumble and morph rather than cease to exist, and the book takes this reality into consideration. But why would this war be symbolic of the end? This question is
Chris Demer
Nov 02, 2015 Chris Demer rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This historian recounts the Battle of Adrianopolis in 378 AD, where the Roman army was overcome by the Goths-a battle which he believes was more or less the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. Although the empire lasted about 100 more years, this great defeat signaled a change in the relations the Romans had with their barbarian neighbors.

I was not particularly interested in the military aspects of the battle(s) but found the politics and sociology very fascinating.
Valentinian was emperor
Jason Golomb
Jan 27, 2010 Jason Golomb rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-rome, history

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
Sep 28, 2012 Sighris rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
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
Aug 08, 2011 Juan-Pablo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan Moeller
Jun 25, 2011 Jonathan Moeller rated it it was amazing
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
May 02, 2009 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history, war
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
Feb 03, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it
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
Nov 28, 2010 bkwurm rated it it was ok
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
Chris Balz
Apr 14, 2016 Chris Balz rated it really liked it
A great, very quick review of the history. The integrationist approach of the Roman Empire spanned many ethnicities and tribal identities. The book reviews that approach in stunning detail, with much relevance to today. In sum, massive bureaucratic blunders alienated the Goth tribe to the point where it fought the "battle that led to the fall of the Roman Empire".

Linda Harkins
Aug 12, 2011 Linda Harkins rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2015 Anabel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pourquoi pas lire une vraie histoire quand on envie de lire des histoires épiques, de batailles et de personnages intrigants? Ce livre m'a captivé, on peut suivre tout le déroulement de ce conflit entre goths et romains. Je recommande.
Dec 18, 2014 Voss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una storia che non conoscevo e una situazione tramandata in maniere del tutto falsa finalmente chiarita.
Bella scrittura, fonti e argomentazioni impeccabili.
Marina Mowrey
Jan 13, 2015 Marina Mowrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick, interesting read. Some of the word choices were odd, perhaps because this is a translation from Italian.
May 24, 2014 Marilyn rated it it was ok
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
Mar 10, 2011 Ivo Crnkovic-Rubsamen rated it really liked it
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
Jun 15, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
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
Apr 12, 2013 Spock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
... 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
Jul 20, 2011 Leslie rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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
Aug 01, 2011 Linda Harkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 02, 2008 Gregory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, rome
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
Mar 23, 2011 Dan Weiss rated it liked it
Shelves: antiquity
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.
Oct 21, 2007 Douglas rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 08, 2012 Kayla rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 15, 2009 William rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
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).
Oct 22, 2009 Stephen rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 16, 2016 Lee rated it it was ok
An okay book which describes the events leading up to the Battle of Adrianople and the events afterwards which the author makes the case led to the break up of the Roman Empire.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Complete Roman Army
  • The Roman Triumph
  • The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome
  • Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar
  • Memory and the Mediterranean
  • The Complete Pompeii
  • The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal & the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic
  • Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe
  • The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire
  • Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual
  • The Spartacus War
  • Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome
  • The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization
  • Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire
  • Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome & the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1-3: Volumes 1, 2, 3
  • Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin
  • Comrades: A World History of Communism
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 about Alessandro Barbero...

Share This Book

“AD 476, the year when Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor of the West, was deposed. But in fact the removal of Romulus was only the final, inevitable step in a process that had begun long before. By 476, the emperor was a puppet without any effective power; the empire had already broken up and was losing one piece after another; barbarians were dominant in Gaul, in Spain, in Africa, and even in Italy; and Rome had been sacked more than once, by the Goths in 410 and again by the Vandals in 455. In short, the dissolution of the empire was already so far advanced that the deposition of the last Western emperor was not very important news. A famous essay by Arnaldo Momigliano titled "An Empire's Silent Fall" demonstrates that the so-called great event of 476, the dethronement of Romulus Augustulus, was noted by few at the time. But if things had reached this point, if the western half of the Roman Empire had been reduced to an empty shell that a barbarian chieftain could sweep aside without eliciting a protest, it was because of a series of traumas that had begun exactly a century before. In 376, an unforeseen flood of refugees at the frontiers of the empire, and the inability of the Roman authorities to manage this emergency properly, gave rise to a dramatic conflict that was to culminate in Rome's most disastrous military defeat since Hannibal's Carthaginians destroyed the Roman army at Cannae in 216 BC.” 0 likes
More quotes…