Book review: Barbarians

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29 August 2019
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An empire as vast as the Roman one, that lasted as long as it did, had enemies everywhere and in the end, it was the barbarian hordes outside and corruption inside that brought it down.

 

Author: STEPHEN P KERSHAW

Reviewed by Duncan Evans 

 

Buy you copy here

 

An empire as vast as the Roman one, that lasted as long as it did, had enemies everywhere and in the end, it was the barbarian hordes outside and corruption inside that brought it down. The idea of this large book then is to look at the various acts of rebellion and resistance to Roman rule, from Spartacus and the slave revolts, Boudicca and Jugurtha in the 1st century AD to the Huns, Saxons, Franks, Goths and Vandals invasions of the 5th century AD. It starts by defining who was a barbarian, then we’re on to each story and era of conflict.

One of the more interesting stories is Hannibal and his march over the Alps to attack northern Italy, but this sums up the failings of this book. It skates over the campaign itself, with only cursory details, making side observations on modern research. There are times when you desperately want more details and others where the pacing is so soporific that you want less. For students of ancient Rome there’s much of interest here but for the general reader it’s pretty laborious.

 

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• Robinson

• ISBN 978-1-4721-4210-8

• 560 pages • Hardback • £25

 

As reviewed in The Armourer October 2019 issue 

 

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