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La caída de Roma y el fin de la civilización

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,128 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Was the fall of Rome a great catastrophe that cast the West into darkness for centuries to come? Or, as scholars argue today, was there no crisis at all, but simply a peaceful blending of barbarians into Roman culture, an essentially positive transformation?

In The Fall of Rome, eminent historian Bryan Ward-Perkins argues that the "peaceful" theory of Rome's "transformation
1st edition, 352 pages
Published March 2007 by Espasa-Calpe (first published 2005)
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Paul Bryant
Around 70% of this short book is about pottery, coins and beards. That may put you off. It must be admitted that when historians peruse these far off centuries there is very little hard evidence to show what happened. So, we are left with pottery, coins and beards.

Actually this is really NOT a book for the general reader. I found myself in a room where a bunch of specialists in the “Late Antiquity” period were yelling


And Bryan Ward-Perkins was yelling back “Invasion!”

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, yet 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 is true of Ward-Perkins' book too which can be read as a statement of, what on one island at least would be cal
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
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
José Luís  Fernandes
Bryan Ward-Perkins, through this book, tried to contest the "dominant" views on Late Antiquity by trying to essentially return to a more nuanced form of the catastrophistic (and quite Gibbonian in general aspects) view that ruled before the revolution of late antique studies in the last 40 years.

In the first four chapters he discusses specifically the fall of Rome. He starts by presenting his goals about the book and that's where problems start. His speech is very polemic and ranty, almost taki
Daniel Villines
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the academic prowess that I describe below, this book deserves recognition for its ability to transplant the implications of an ancient crumbling empire into modern-day relevance. Ward-Perkins’ approach strikes at the heart of our society. For better or worse, we are in the midst of modernity in the the very same way that Romans felt that they were living at the pinnacle of their world two centuries ago. History is repeating itself and Ward-Perkins aptly reminds us of this reality.

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
Feb 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
Edoardo Albert
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable counterblast to the Peter Brown school of studies of late antiquity: Ward-Perkins argues forcefully that, in the Western Roman Empire, civilization, at least as represented by decent pottery, good food and tiled roofs that kept out the rain, really did end. As such, it provides a welcome corrective to the Brown school of civilizational continuity and transition. In the end, it seems clear that both views are correct: late antiquity was a time of both continuity and collapse, ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: história
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.)
John Holmes III
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grim, Thoughtful, Wonderful

A fascinating breakdown on how the Western Roman Empire fell, Ward-Perkins points to a number of sources and archaeological evidence to prove that the Western Roman Empire did collapse and what it was like to live through the resultant changes.
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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Vann Turner
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oui, il y a bien eu un déclin de la civilisation à partir du 5e siècle, oui le bien être des populations de la partie occidentale de l`Empire a subi un terrible recul avec les invasions de ce qu il faut bien nommer les barbares germaniques. Sans peur du politiquement correct, Ward-Perkins rappelle à partir de faits connus mais aussi de ses recherches basées sur des composantes concrètes (poteries, matériaux de construction, tombes) que les niveaux de vie ont reculé de façon dramatique. Terreur q ...more
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A work that has quickly become a standard, it uses archaeology to provocatively draw a harsh line between the Roman and post-Roman world. It also functions as an excellent introduction to archaeology and the Roman economy.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Troppo ripetitivo: fosse stato più snello sarebbe stato perfetto
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful and rich in detail, but probably most relevant for the truly dedicated students of Roman Decline andGall
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why I read: Interested in Rome, wanted to know more about its fall from a modern scholarly perspective (have already read some Gibbon but there's been water under the bridge since then for scholarship, archaeology, and me personally), looked interesting. Can't remember exactly how it originally ended up on my list.

Reaction: Exceeded expectations. The author's focus on archaeological findings and economic standard of living through the ages, as well as his engagement with the contemporary debate
Keith Scholey
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BWP is, alas, an "old-fashioned historian" - one that bases their findings on extensive knowledge, in-depth research and cool analysis, rather than a showy pandering to popular prejudice and a flair for the obscene. Like The Darkening Age, which I recently reviewed, this short work deals with the end of the Roman Empire. Unlike that piece of crap (which the publishers, for some reason, felt justified to issue as a hardback!), The Fall of Rome is well worth reading. Its specific aim, to counter t ...more
Vincent Archer
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, relatively short, book on the end of the Roman Empire. The western one, mostly, as the eastern still kept on chugging until the Turks finished it. It's a kind of a sandwich book, the actual end of Rome between two commentaries on the fact that it's unfashionable - apparently - to talk about the fall of Rome, or as if the fall of Rome was a bad thing. Both (the history and the reflexion on historians) are interesting, for different reasons. I'm not familiar enough with the world of academ ...more
Nathan Albright
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this book is fairly short, coming in at about 180 pages of reading material and a lot of meticulous footnotes, it packs a pretty serious impact for several related reasons in a subject that appears arcane on the surface but is surprisingly relevant when its implications are considered, as the author explicitly does. The book is a powerful effort in an argument that divides those students of history whose areas of interest include the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages. This book argues th ...more
Josef Sorm
Two thirds of the book deals with pottery, coins, and tiles. Book reads more like a thesis against the 'Late Antiquity' school, strongly advocating that Fall of Rome was a difficult time. Definitely not for wider public but for historians and academic debate.

Better title of the book would be "What I (Bryan Ward) think of the fall of Rome". This is not about Great Migration, this is about thoroughly explaining that the living standards in the West went down after the Fall. Yes, we get it.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, storia
Libro che ho trovato divertente e interessante, oltre al fatto che, da profano, condivido la sua visione "classica" sugli effetti delle invasioni barbariche. Molto istruttiva anche la parte finale nella quale dibatte il perché negli ultimi decenni sia comparsa una storiografia molto più "dolce" nei confronti degli invasori.
Santiago Torres
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bryan Ward Perkins challenges the conventional notion that the Fall of Rome and the transition to rule under a foreign power was easy and peaceful. For his part, he argues that it was violent and bloody. With the help of archeology ( like pottery and tiled roof) and maps, Perkins provides readers with an alternative way to look at the Fall of Rome
Rohit Gupta
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for anyone interested in the history of Ancient Rome or Medieval Europe. The author uses extensive empirical evidence to make his points and in the process informs you about life during the decline of the Roman Empire.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Short, easily-readable book providing some interesting archaeological evidence and speculation on the effect of the barbarian invasions in the transition to the post-Roman world. Nothing too momentous.
Diogo Jesus
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another insight on the Fall of Western Rome in the 5th Century. An answer to P. Brown and other scholars from The Late Antiquity current. Well presented, simple and not very pretensious. An honest look, based on facts.
Very enjoyable.
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Bryan Ward-Perkins is an archaeologist and historian of the later Roman Empire and early Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the transitional period between those two eras, an historical sub-field also known as Late Antiquity. Ward-Perkins is a fellow and tutor in history at Trinity College, Oxford. The son of historian John Bryan Ward-Perkins, he was born and raised in Rome and spoke Italian ...more
More about Bryan Ward-Perkins

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