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Mr_Saturn512's avatar

What's a good book about the fall of the Roman Empire?

Asked by Mr_Saturn512 (346 points ) June 26th, 2011

476 AD – ever since world history class in my freshman year of high school, I remembered that date as the fall of the Roman Empire. My teacher told me to remember it so I did all these years. Although I had my share of continuing classical studies in college, I never really delved into Rome’s last days. I always wanted to read up more about it.

So what’s a good, detailed history book about the Fall of the Roman Empire?

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10 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is sorta the classic book on the subject. But it’s 6 volumes.

filmfann's avatar

Robert Graves book “I, Claudius”

zenvelo's avatar

I,Claudius and Claudius the God are both great books, but take place about 30 – 54 A.D. ; Claudius was a contemporary of Caligula (his co-consul).

Robert Graves also wrote Count Belisarius which takes place in Byzantium at 500 A.D., and describes what was going on then.

Gibbon is still considered authoritative.

King_Pariah's avatar

@Aethelflaed my mom made me read that once upon a summer. WORST SUMMER EVER

drdoombot's avatar

The History of Rome podcast, as well as the 12 Byzantine Rulers podcast, can be found on iTunes for free.

Not books, I know, but some of the greatest listening I’ve ever experienced.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@King_Pariah I didn’t say it was a fun read… There’s a reason for that.

adamwilliams's avatar

I,Claudius and Claudius the God are both great books,

tedd's avatar

You’re going to have a hard time finding one book to cover it all. The Western Roman Empire may have “technically” ended in 476, but really the only thing that changed was the guy in charge didn’t want to be called emperor anymore (in fact the Eastern Roman Emperor tried to call the guy Emperor at first). It had been in decline, “falling”, for hundreds of years and had lost the vast majority of its lands by 476.

Also there’s the caveat of the Eastern Roman Empire, which survived nearly a millennium after the fall of its brother in the West. The Eastern Roman Empire evolved into the Byzantine Empire and didn’t really collapse until the Crusades in the 15th century.

Any one book covering all this adequately would be a few thousand pages long.

Schroedes13's avatar

Just watch Gladiator…..way better! lol

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