Europe's Barbarians, AD 200-600

Europe's Barbarians, AD 200-600

Europe's Barbarians, AD 200-600

Europe's Barbarians, AD 200-600


The Germanic Invasions of the fifth century brought about the collapse of the Roman Empire. This book will change the way we think about those Dark Ages, looking at the Barbarians themselves rather than just their impact on the Roman empire.

  • Has an unpretentious and engaging reading style and a thoroughly useful "Aftermath" chapter to conclude and wrap-up
  • Contains information on the Celts, Slavs and Asiatics, as well as the more commonly written about Germanic barbarians
  • The first up-to-date book in years


Why did the Western Roman Empire end? How and why did medieval Europe begin? These perennially important questions lie at the heart of some of the most vibrant historical scholarship currently being conducted. While some historians have breathed new life into the paradigm of ‘decline and fall’, others argue for a complex process of ‘transformation’ whether gradual or abrupt, peaceful or violent. What no one disputes is that barbarians from outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire played a part. But what part? Who were they anyway? How many were there? What were they like? In this book, Edward James guides the reader through these debates with a sure interpretive touch and an authoritative grasp of all the evidence.

He tells this story with a difference. Its central characters are never the Romans but alwdinal Richelieu and David Lloyd George; but in fact it is far from self-evident. As President of the United States Kennedy undoubtedly wielded great power, as much as the modern world can give to anybody, perhaps as much as anybody has exercised in all history; but it was his so briefly! Only two years and ten months separated his inauguration as President of the United States from his murder; as Theodore Sorensen said bitterly on hearing the dreadful news, ‘they wouldn’t even give him three years.’ Of the forty presidents, only six have served shorter terms than Kennedy’s; only two in the twentieth century have done so (Harding and Ford: not names with which Kennedy would care to be associated). At his inauguration he said, ‘Let us begin’; his successor, on inheriting his office, said, ‘Let us continue’; but while it is clear that Kennedy finished little, it is not obvious that he started much. The great affairs of his time, it might be urged, were well advanced before he came to power. He passed his years in the presidency learning his job and mastering the issues, but was cut down before he could prove what he had learned or put it to use. I do not accept this view, but I have tried to face it.

A profile can only be a sketch. Short though Kennedy’s life was, it was crammed with incident and great events, many of which I have had to leave out entirely. Readers wanting a full account will have to look elsewhere. But it has been my . . .

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