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La caída de Roma y el fin de la civilización
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La caída de Roma y el fin de la civilización

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  543 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Why did Rome fall? Vicious barbarian invasions during the fifth century resulted in the cataclysmic end of the world's most powerful civilization, and a 'dark age' for its conquered peoples. Or did it? The dominant view of this period today is that the 'fall of Rome' was a largely peaceful transition to Germanic rule, and the start of a positive cultural transformation. Br ...more
1st edition, 352 pages
Published March 2007 by Espasa-Calpe (first published June 23rd 2005)
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The great thing about the fall of Rome is that there is no need to stop discussing it even once the cows have come home. The range of sources are rich enough to hint at huge ranges of possible causes and effects but not precise enough to pin down much decisively. As a result every age is free to reinterpret the fall of Rome in the image of its own hopes, fears and preoccupations.

This book by Ward-Perkins isn't definitive nor would I recommend it as the only book to read on the subject. It's a br
Nick Wellings
3.5 stars. Engaging academically honest and hence academically politically incorrect look at the decline of Rome, specific focus given to Rome in the West.

Being a total naif in terms of a lot of history, but having enough resolve to give anything approachable and well written, I found a good guide in Perkins. The book is unfussy and colloquial.

I had no idea that the current academic orthodoxy has decided that the period of Late Antiquity (buzzword since Brown I guess) was some kind of gentle tr
This was a very frustrating book. Ward-Perkins sets out to counter a perceived historiographical trend to gloss over the Germanic invasions and paint the period from about 200-800 as a rosy period of lovely, happy continuity that coincided with the rise and spread of Christianity. That's a fair enough argument to make. The invasion of Germanic groups was pretty clearly an unpleasant experience for a lot of the people involved. While it's unfair to paint the invasions as hordes of bloodthirsty wa ...more
Bryan Ward-Perkins published The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization in 2005. Countering the trend to minimize the effects of the barbarian invasions, initiated by Peter Brown, Ward-Perkins uses material evidence (archaeological, atmospheric, etc.) to support his claim that the fall of Rome was, indeed, a cataclysmic event that shattered the old world and initiated completely new forms of civilization for Europe. Those interested in economics will find his treatment of Rome’s specialized, s ...more
À queda de Roma, seguiu-se a Idade Média (em inglês, Dark Age). O autor augumenta e explicita porque a queda de Roma foi o maior retrocesso civilizacional de que há memória (a rede de estradas do império perdeu-se, o navegação no mediterrâneo decaiu, e com ela o comércio internacional e a aceitação de moeda cunhada, o sistema legal fraccionou-se e desapareceu, etc., etc., etc., etc.)
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Timothy Stead
A short, witty counter blast to the fashionable theories of peaceful continuity which dominate Late Antique and Early Medieval studies. Ward-Perkins argues strongly what seems obvious to most new students to the field - that the fall of the Roman Empire was a violent period, marked by widespread destruction and economic and material decline. This book is worth it for the chapters on "The Disappearance of Comfort" alone - they are superbly written without falling into the excessive detail or arch ...more
Since the time of Peter Brown and the definition of the field of late antiquity, scholarship has increasingly painted a rosy picture of the late Roman world which gradually transformed into the early medieval world. While Ward-Perkins holds that this is largely true of the Roman east until the beginning of the seventh century, he challenges this notion for the west. On the basis of archaeological evidence, he argues instead that the end of the Roman world came rapidly and was far harsher in the ...more
From the start Ward-Perkins states that he intends to dispell the incorrect (as he sees it) recent phenomena of modern historians liking to think that the Roman Empire never fell, rather there was a mostly peaceful "transition" from Latin Empire to Germanic/Latin culture mix, without any manifestations of a civilisation's fall. Ward-Perkins does this in a readable and easy to follow manner, summing things up quickly and not getting too down-trodden in topics such as how the evidence is aquired, ...more
A quick read which puts forth the rather old and unfortunately unfashionable idea that the Roman era did not just transition without tumult into Late Antiquity. Ward-Perkins convincingly argues that while the Germanic invasions were not the cataclysmic struggle with barbarians that scholarship prior to the middle of the twentieth century suggests they were, the archaeological evidence nevertheless demonstrates a marked decline in living standards across all social classes as the highly specializ ...more
John Nebauer
The Western Roman Empire collapsed by 476. Beset by Germanic tribes from without and economic stagnation within, it was the culmination of a process that began nearly a century earlier with the annihilation of a Roman army at Adrianople.

Or did it? Peter Brown’s The World of Late Antiquity sparked an influential school of thought suggesting a gentler transition into the post-Roman world. In essence, ‘late antiquity’ is seen as a distinct cultural phenomenon that differed profoundly from classica
Jeni Enjaian
Ward-Perkins posits that the Roman Empire definitively fell at the time of the barbarian invasions. This fall, according to Ward-Perkins, precipitated the destruction of a previously robust civilization. Ward-Perkins divides the book into two distinct sections. Before the first section Ward-Perkins surveys the historiography of Rome ending with dismissal of historians like Peter Brown who re-imagine the time period as one of cultural robustness. In the first section Ward, Perkins discusses Rome’ ...more
Ryan Patrick
A nice, concise overview of the classic "Fall of the Roman Empire" issue. His main contention is that the Fall was as much an economic as a military/political event. Barbarians overran the empire in the fifth century and took over most parts of the old Western Roman Empire, causing a fair amount of death and destruction along the way. This destruction, he argues, is most manifest in the decline of the material culture in those parts of the empire. Even though the barbarians came in and settled h ...more
This book has an interesting premise: in the spirit of political correctness, historians and scholars have elevated post-Roman European society to that of Rome's great civilization. According to the author, this does Rome a serious disservice and ignores the complexity of her Empire and the severity of her fall.

The author makes some compelling points about the regional economy, literacy rates, goods, and production efficiency of a Roman vs a post-Roman world. Without reducing Rome's heirs to the
A brisk and clearly written refutation of recent historical views that Rome never really fell, it just gradually transformed into something else involving more barbarians. Ward-Perkins emphatically denies this, saying that every kind of manufacturing and trade, all education, all government action, all living standards fell abruptly and disastrously in the fifth century. One of his sections is titled "The Disappearance of Comfort." Why did it fall? "In my opinion, the key internal element in Rom ...more
This book chips away at a perceived veneer of political correctness that shrouds recent late-Roman scholarship, which is alright with me. Ward-Perkins' argument was convincing enough, despite the inclusion of two absurd graphs on p. 122 that purport to show a change in economic complexity over time yet making no attempt to quantify this change other than a vague "minimal economic complexity - considerable economic complexity" along the y axis. In fairness, the author does admit that that was a g ...more
Vann Turner
The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization seeks to correct misrepresentations of the catastrophe in the Western Empire brought about by the numerous invasions starting in the fourth century. In this post WWII age, this age of the European Union, there are forces which seek to paint the painful disintegration of Empire with rosy colors. They describe the collapse of a complex civilization in terms of assimilation and transformation.

While the author, Ward-Perkins, is clear in stating that it wa
I actually started this at least a year ago and finished it this week. A synthetic analysis of the fall of the Roman Empire, not in terms of its causes so much as its effects. Essentially, the author addresses the question of how bad was the fall of Rome? Apparently there is a trend among historians to emphasize continuity, to recognize the contributions of the "barbarians", and basically argue that Rome did not fall so much as transform itself through a relatively peaceful process of mutual acc ...more
J. Dutilloy
This is a rapid overview of the end of the Roman empire, essentially reviewing the economical and political aspects of the decline. However, this short book is more interesting because of the analysis of the current historiography of this period renamed late antiquities and the way historians tend to analyze in regards to contemporary concerns rather than on a purely objective approach. Bryan Ward-Perkins use a lot of wit and knowledge to illustrate his point. Even if the contemporary comparison ...more
A well written and scholarly examination of the end of the Roman Empire and the civilization it represented. Ward-Perkins argues persuasively against the notion that the fall of Rome and the beginning of the Dark Ages was not a peaceful transition and that the subsequent history of Europe was not an improvement on its past. He effectively refutes the politically correct notion that all cultures are equal.

The book is not an easy read but it is readable, clear, and largely without the excessive ac
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History keeps changing. After reading Bryan Ward-Perkins' Fall of Rome you realize how historians keep reinterpreting past events in light of recent discoveries or even political convenience. In a very interesting and never boring narration, Ward-Perkins carefully critiques current trends among historians. Namely that the fall of the Roman Empire was an assimilation by the barbarian hordes from central Europe, instead of the brutal annihilation of the first mass-production/ mass-consumption civi ...more
I mean I liked it as much as I can like a non-fiction book for school. Interesting thesis, and high, high points for the writing--very engaging, not at all written in a stuffy academic way. If you're looking for a not-boring intro into the question "Did Rome fall?" (his thesis: yes, and horrifically), this is a great book.
The historical analysis is really pertinent and makes a lot of sense, but what it made me really like it is the history of history, how we perceive our past, even far back history, based on how we look at the world we are living in. You might think that proofs are proofs and logic remains the same, but it not true... At a distance of few decades the germanic people are either hords of invaders and murderers, or just some migrating people coming to settle in the Roman empire; both sides having th ...more
Interesting argument for the fall of Rome, which centers on the impact of mass immigration without assimilation and the loss of the large market (introduction of trade barriers) as the empire divided under the influence of Germanic tribal leaders. Much of the argument is developed from a study of pottery, which I found interesting, though I'm aware this is common practice in archeology. It's written in the style of an academic paper, which makes it a bit repetitive in places for the casual reade ...more
Troppo ripetitivo: fosse stato più snello sarebbe stato perfetto
Having read many books on this particular subject, I found this one almost strange in its conception. However I like the fact that the basis of Ward-Perkins conclusions are drawn from mainly economic factors, rather than the usual 'some German thing' invasion'esque problems.

I did find it hard to form my own conclusions from this book, based on maps of pottery dispersal throughout europe in Antiquity ... it just felt somewhat flawed?

Regardless, a different perspective and if you're interested in
Oct 30, 2007 Frank rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in classes about the fall of Rome.
I learned about the fall of the western Roman Empire in this book. I read it for a history class where the teacher insists that the students do all the learning themselves by reading books. Isn't that crazy? I asked him to recommend books that were easy to read, and he told me that this book was accessible and "naughty" so I said, why not? It's not something that I would have read otherwise, but it was easy to understand and kept me engaged. If you ever have to read something about the 5th and 6 ...more
A brief and witty bullet aimed at the heart of the "Late Antiquity" crowd. Ward-Perkins doesn't dispute the term or the value in studying the period--indeed, he welcomes it. He is against, rather, the idea of a peaceful transition between the Roman and post-Roman world. He relies on a bevy of evidence, both literary and material, to underscore how violent, catastrophic and downright unpleasant the Fall of Rome was to the Romans. In this he's arguing against a good thirty to forty years of schola ...more
This short book interested me not so much for its argument against a revisionist consensus that Rome did not fall as for the evidence Ward-Perkins introduces to argue for the fall of the western Roman Empire as a result of barbarian invasions. He argues from bits of pottery, graffiti and coins that economic complexity dropped drastically in the fifth century of the common era, and along the way portrays the late western Empire as a society of literate, prosperous and sophisticated people.
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