The Western Roman Empire is Falling
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There exists a rich and varied body of work on this period which has fascinated readers since the day of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The story is updated ever few years, with new scholarship, as writers share their opinion on why Rome fell (or did it fall?). I'd like to share a few favorites (yes, I know there are hundreds of titles!)
Some examples of general works are: The Later Roman Empire, Adrian Goldsworthy's How Rome Fell, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather; and Arthur Ferrill offers a military explanation in Fall of the Roman Empire. Much more detailed is Jones' Later Roman Empire or his condensed version, The Decline of the Ancient World. Of course, hearing it from the horse's mouth is always worthwhile, so I strongly recommend The Later Roman Empire: A.D. 354-378 by Ammianus Marcellinus a notable observer of events, soldier and staff officer.
A History of the Later Roman Empire, published by Blackwell is also worthwhile. A program to tell the players can be found at Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome.
The Völkerwanderung or Wandering of the Peoples has struck a chord with scholars over the ages from the first days of the Hunnic "hordes" of Attila. Guy Halsall's Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West is a good starting place. Older works include: Huns, Vandals and the Fall of the Roman Empire or The Germanic invasions: The making of Europe, AD 400-600. See also The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples. I'm currently rereading Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome: A Study of Roman Military Policy.
For some strategic overviews and background try: Diocletian and the Roman Recovery which sets the stage for the Later Roman era, and Theodosius: The Empire at Bay. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine is helpful--I always like Pat Southern's writing.
Besdies Ferrill, on the military side, is the difficult to find (or afford), Generalissimos of the Western Roman Empire, Rome's Gothic Wars, and STILICHO: THE VANDAL WHO SAVED ROME by Ian Hughes. Hughes has previously authored a work on Belisarius and is working on a biography of Aetius - which I await anxiously. Wargamers might find Goths, Huns and Romans of interest.
Finally, I'd like to point out some pertinent historical fiction: Wallace Breem covers the barbarian crossing of the Rhine and the subsequent Roman collapse in Eagle in the Snow, a barbarian's take on the situation can be found in CeCelia Holland's The death of Attila. The Last Legion recently appeared as a movie. And the old master, Alfred Duggan, captured the feel of the transformation into the Dark Ages with The little Emperors.
I hope this list will prove of utility to those interested in the period. I've omitted a plethora of others favorites I'm sure. Regards, A
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (February 16, 2012)
He's indicated that he has several more Late Roman titles in the works.
Ian also mentioned he's contracted to write two additional volumes (maybe Ricimer & Odoacer?). Cheers, A
Pretty darned awful. P&S are unfortunately hit & miss.
Oh, and money. Money would also help.
While we're talking about warlords; I recently purchased Defending Rome: The Masters of the Soldiers ...a DIY publishing on demand book. Please see my review.
according to Ian:
the book should be covering the period from the death of Valentinian III in 455 to the end of the Empire, so, yes, it will be covering Ricimer et al. There may also be a look at the ‘Kingdom of Soissons’, space permitting.
ETA ... on a brief search, anyway.
And in case you’re interested, I am on the point of killing Anthemius, Ricimer and Olybrius. Over half way there …!
Meanwhile, I've recently enjoyed the 4th century novels by Q.V. Hunter, heavily based on Ammianus Marcellinus (you?) as well as Libanius.