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Terry Jones' Barbarians

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  769 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Terry Jones’ Barbarians takes a completely fresh approach to Roman history. This is the story of the Roman Empire as seen by the Britons, Gauls, Germans, Hellenes, Persians, and Africans. In place of the propaganda pushed on us by the Romans, we’ll see these people as they really were. The Vandals didn’t vandalize—the Romans did. The Goths didn’t sack Rome—the Romans did. ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by BBC Books (first published 2006)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  769 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! Finished it on campsite in Orkney... very atmospheric! Highly recommended! :)
-Con intenciones lúdicas y no necesariamente riguroso.-

Género. Ensayo.

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro Roma y los bárbaros (publicación original: Terry Jones' Barbarians, 2006) es una reivindicación, entre lo irónico, lo revisionista, lo serio alguna vez y lo ligero, de la figura de los bárbaros en contraposición a la Antigua Roma.

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Deborah Ideiosepius
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historic-fact, useful
This wonderful book tells the history of the Roman Empire with the humour and irony one would expect from Terry Jones (best known as a member of Monty Python, the small but very decent collection of historical books he has written are not yet as well known). This book was a tremendous amount of fun to read! Below I mention the things it is about, conclusions reached and so on. But really the best thing about it was that I loved picking it up to read more; it was the treat at the end of the day a ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Monty Python's Terry Jones wants us to know that Barbarians (what Romans call anybody who lives outside the boundaries of the expansion dependent Roman Empire, or anybody who has not adopted Roman values) were sophisticated, cultured, and often times more civilized than the Romans.

In fact, Rome destroyed more clever technology and innovative human artistic expression than they ever preserved. Rome was built by conquest and the systematic exploitation of conquered lands. The would initially empt
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
The premise is promising. I'm all for "revisionist history" where it can shed light on the parts of history that have been shoved into a corner and neglected, which is exactly what this book sets out to do.

While some have (rightly) accused European history of being "Westocentric," Jones and Ereira reveal that a more accurate charge would be "Romacentric". Indeed, they say, we have been sold the idea of Rome as the epitome of civilization, the zenith of the Classical world, while the so-called Ba
Jun 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Disappointed. Sorely disappointed.

I was perusing my local bookshop and I found Terry Jones' Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History . I was excited by the endorsement on the back cover from a historian that said, "I wish all historical books written by non-historians were so informed and all books by historians so well written." Good enough for me - I grabbed it up and eagerly started reading, looking forward to reading this work by the creator/host of one of my favorite history-based document
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Jones was a member of Monty Python troop and has been doing a lot of amateur history shows. Here he is taking on the idea that the Roman Empire was a civilizing force and instead casts them as destroyers of all that is good. His main idea is old hat because everyone is aware the Romans were cruel and blood thirsty as seen in various Coliseum spectacles. They were not invincible as shown be the debacle at the Teutoburg Forest. On the flip side anyone who reads or has been to a museum is aware of ...more
Ginger Pierce
Having learned history as written by the winners, I found this an interesting addition to my knowledge of European history. Terry Jones as a writer is knowledgeable and witty. He added a touch of humor to what is considered by most to be a dry topic. If you want to find out more about just who the people were whom the Romans dubbed barbarians, this is a good, easy read to do so. There's even a handy timetable in the front.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very informative book that gives background on what was happening outside the Roman Republic/Empire, in the periphery. Starting from school we were introduced the Roman perspective and this book provides us a new viewpoint where separation of whites and blacks is not that clear. In several places there are reflections to Armenian history as well. Sometimes the author makes interesting parallels with nowadays world. I would strongly recommend this book anyone interested in history. It will not be ...more
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think this might be the single most important book on ancient history I've ever read.

Having received a fairly traditional classical education that espoused the benefits of Roman (and to a lesser extent Greek) civilisation, I'd always sort of gone along with the general beliefs about all of those Barbarians, the Goths, the Vandals, the Visigoths, who sacked Rome and burnt down civilisation.

But it is in reality quite the opposite. The so-called Barbarians were in fact the civilised ones, and it
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in world history
BRAVO! This is a masterful and delightful read, one of the best books I've read in years. The authors take a witty, conversational approach to their topic, which is an examination of the interactions of the Roman empire with the various other cultures the Romans destroyed. As the cliche says, history is written by the winners, and so we have been handed down the Romans' version of these events, painting themselves as civilizers bringing enlightenment, science, engineering, and so on, to all the ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
An okay if distinctly average and rather superfluous book that feels very much like an obligatory tie-in rather than a book that can stand on it's own feet.
It takes the rather intriguing novel idea of turning the Roman propaganda tool of 'everyone who is different to us is a barbarian' on its head and show the lie in their words. To a certain degree it achieves that yet it still feels remarkably casual and superficial.

The book skips a number of intriguing developments, like decisive battles that
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
History is written by the victors, so this revision of the thousand years of "barbarism", from 500BC to 500AD give or take a pillaging or two, is a refreshing and enlightening book. So is its style and delivery: facts and research presented with a good dose of Monty Python irreverence. It's easy to read, and although it covers a staggering amount of facts and people, it doesn't get bogged down. "Barbarians" doesn't pretend to be a scholarly work. If you love good quality, well researched histori ...more
Faris Jean
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this different perspective on history. Written with an easy pen and of course as you would expect coming from Terry Jones, a sprinkle of humour. What I enjoyed was the level of research and desire for accuracy presented in a fashion that makes the reader want to keep reading. Most books with this kind of historical content leave you falling asleep or re-reading the last sentence 12 times before you have to get up and get a drink of water because its so dry! If you like Roman history and ...more
Thomas Ernst
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise that much of ancient history is written from a Roman perspective since much of what we have to read is copies of Roman histories

But the idea that Vandals,Huns, and Goths were not such bad guys is slightly crazy. Romans had seriously distorted ideas about life , but those other guys were equally as perverted

Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, read-2008
Excellent book from Terry Jones,also of Monty Python fame. The book presents the interaction between the Roman Empire and those who had the misfortune to be in the same vicinity, with ensuing death and destruction.
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: stalled
Gave up on this about 1/2 - 2/3 of the way thru. Too many names & dates for my taste .... the insights & humour I was expecting were a lesser part of the book than I had hoped.

Might be better if accompanied by a "traditional" history of the times - any recommendations?
Matthew Giancarlo
Fairly entertaining and informative revisionist history. Those Rome-sacking barbarians weren't such bad guys after all! The narrative skips around and the assessments are not, shall we say, always even-handed. I enjoyed it nonetheless, and it has good footnotes.
Reza Amiri Praramadhan
'Barbarian' is a term first used by the Greeks to describe people who were different from them, especially foreigners from different places. The use of term was popularized further by the Romans, who seek to conquer the world and rid it of barbarians, who refused to play by Romans' rule. After reading throughout the book, I get the impression that it was the Romans who were barbarians all along, for everytime they conquer other nations, they tried to eradicate every trace of civilizations and im ...more
Brian Turner
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
I really enjoyed Terry Jones' books on mediaeval life - but his attempt to cover ancient history in this book is awful.

The premise is great - to show the "barbarian" point of view of the Roman Empire. But in practice this is just an hysterical rant about how evil and immoral the Romans were, because they killed people.

If that's news to you, then you may learn something from this book. But if you're familiar with Roman history to any degree then the tabloid style of this book is grating.

What's w
Francis X DuFour
Very entertaining!

A rollicking tale of the decline of the Roman empire thanks to the more civilized Barbarians. Definitely not your father’s Barbarians, they manage to outfox and conquer the wooden-headed Roman leaders and become the eventual rulers of Europe.
Rebekah Gamble
There's nothing really to say here. The book is fantastic. You should read it.
Anthony Cleveland
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written and witty with a different perspective on the “barbarian” invasion of the Roman Empire.
Ovidiu Pescar
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little bit exaggerated in parts, but a fun read and eye opener in some cases.
Steve Howarth
Humorous and entertaining to read, yet covers the period in enough detail to be useful reference. An enjoyable read and good basis for more in depth reading.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A fascinating historical survey with some information that I was definitely unaware of previously. And just enough snark to remind me that an alumni of Monty Python was involved.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
John Nebauer
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Barbarians is a revisionist retelling of Rome’s relationship with the peoples it came into contact with, that the Romans called ‘barbarians’. It seeks to show that these peoples were not ‘barbaric’ in the way that we understand the term today.

Jones and Ereira have not so much written a history as a sustained polemic. It begins by listing the things that we associate with Roman greatness: roads, laws, the Julian calendar. Also listed is the chariot. Unfortunately, I never got to study Latin at sc
Rick Florio
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The intent of the writers was ostensibly to counter the historical bias of Rome as the civilized world and cultures outside of it as barbaric. This was, of course, the Roman perspective on things, and this is well-understood by any serious student of history. It is enlightening in spots when discussing the cultural, technological, and societal aspects of the various cultures that were either subsumed into the Empire or conquered by it. It is true that the Romans arguably pursued what we would ca ...more
Paul O'Leary
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you're willing to get your history from a member of Monty Python, you should put yourself on notice. And it is appropriate in this case. This is not top self history. The book is purposely meant to be revisionist. The problem mainly is that some of the revisions are rather old hat. An old boss of mine enjoyed saying time and again how history is written by the victors and the vanquished be damned. Not too deep. Yet this is the main premise of the book. The book examines the various peoples ...more
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Terence Graham Parry Jones is a Welsh comedian, screenwriter and actor, film director, children's author, popular historian, political commentator and TV documentary host. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team.
“The Goths didn't destroy Rome, nor did they massacre the population. On the contrary, the Barbarians took particular care to provide safe-houses for civilians and not to harm public buildings.” 4 likes
“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all' and 'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.' 24” 3 likes
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