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Description du produit

Revue de presse

Teasingly stimulating, acutely critical, abundantly constructive, and certain to unleash endless debate. (Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of Civilizations and Millennium)

This hard-hitting and beautifully written assessment will, I am delighted to say, cause a great deal of trouble. (The Sunday Telegraph)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Why did Rome fall? Vicious barbarian invasions during the fifth century resulted in the cataclysmic end of the world's most powerful civilization, and a 'dark age' for its conquered peoples. Or did it? The dominant view of this period today is that the 'fall of Rome' was a largely peaceful transition to Germanic rule, and the start of a positive cultural transformation. Bryan Ward-Perkins encourages every reader to think again by reclaiming the drama and violence of the last days of the Roman world, and reminding us of the very real horrors of barbarian occupation. Attacking new sources with relish and making use of a range of contemporary archaeological evidence, he looks at both the wider explanations for the disintegration of the Roman world and also the consequences for the lives of everyday Romans, in a world of economic collapse, marauding barbarians, and the rise of a new religious orthodoxy. He also looks at how and why successive generations have understood this period differently, and why the story is still so significant today.

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Format: Broché
Fascinant et pertinent, extrêmement bien documenté, ce livre nous montre concrètement comment une société très évoluée et organisée telle que l'était la société romaine peut se trouver entraînée dans une régression majeure de ses structures économiques et sociales, de sa culture, ... qui ne retrouveront leur niveau que plusieurs siècles (voire plus de mille ans) plus tard.
L'auteur s'est livré à des études approfondies de l'évolution dans le temps de la circulation de monnaie, de la diffusion des objets manufacturés (poteries, matériaux, etc ...), de l'alphabétisme.
Il est intéressant de comprendre pourquoi la régression a été brutale dans certaines régions de l'ex-empire et beaucoup moins dans d'autres.
Une lecture indispensable pour ceux qui cherchent à comprendre pourquoi le niveau de raffinement de la société romaine qu'on a devant soi à Pompéi et Herculanum a été perdu pour plus de mille ans.
Accessoirement, ce livre permet aussi de réaliser que notre société actuelle si évoluée n'est peut-être pas aussi éternelle qu'on voudrait le croire.
Remarque sur ce commentaire 9 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Non seulement on se régale du style et de érudition de l'auteur mais aussi on apprécie les faits concrets sur lesquels sa démonstration est basée et la similitude socio-économique avec l'immigration massive qui survient aujourd’hui en Europe. Faut il en déduire que l'Europe comme l'empire romain avant elle y succombera?
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Très bien documenté et vraiment intéressant. Les illustrations sont très parlantes également. C'est effrayant de voir comment cet empire s'est effondré
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5 89 commentaires
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Even the Cows Got Smaller 3 avril 2014
Par JBL - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In the past few decades scholars of late antiquity, such as Peter Brown and Walter Goffart, have put forth the notion that the Roman Empire didn't fall violently, but rather “transformed” gently and peacefully into a new multi-ethnic society ruled by a series of Germanic kings.

Bryan Ward-Perkins will have none of that. His book, along with Peter Heather's “The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History,” is a stringent corrective that seeks to demonstrate that Rome fell violently, with a catastrophic plunge in living standards. The novelty of Ward-Perkins' book lies in
how he uses archaeological evidence such as pottery shards, tile roofs, and stone construction to show how poor, illiterate, and backward Europe became after imperial Rome disintegrated. You know things were bad when even the cows got smaller.

In part one of the book, titled The Fall of Rome, Ward-Perkins begins with a short discussion of the controversy mentioned above and examines how historians from Gibbon on have interpreted Rome's demise. He then looks at eye-witness accounts of the period. What did people who lived through the period, figures like Leo, Bishop of Rome, Hydatius, another bishop in Spain, and the monk Severinus of Noricum have to say about the Germanic invasions? Not surprisingly, they recount years of murder, arson, bloodshed, and horror. Hydatius even connects the arrival of the Germans in his area with the four scourges mentioned in the Book of Revelations and claims that mothers were driven by hunger to kill and eat their own children.

After demonstrating the violence of the Germanic invasions and terrifying us with descriptive scenes of anarchy and chaos, Ward-Perkins spends 50 pages examining how and why this happened. The period from 376, when the Goths first invaded, to 476, when Odovacar deposed Romulus Agustulus, is terribly complicated, with dozens of main actors, abrupt reversals of fortune, betrayal, unexpected death, heroic struggle, and the like. Ward-Perkins does a serviceable job of leading the reader through this maze, but you'll need some background in the period to really make sense of it. Peter Heather's account has more detail, cohesion, and narrative energy, so my advice is to read him first.

In the second part of the book, titled the End of Civilization, Ward-Perkins looks at the Roman economy before and after the Germanic invasions. Using archaeological evidence gleaned from diggings all over the Roman Empire, he shows how even the poor benefited from the fruits of Rome's sophisticated and complex economy. With access to well-made pottery, leather and metal goods, coins, tile roofs, and stone buildings, the Roman everyman of 2,000 years ago enjoyed a standard of living that would not be reached again in many parts of Europe for 1,000 years.

Mr. Ward-Perkins also makes us realize how intellectual life, literacy, and the higher arts always rest on a certain level of material wealth and sophistication. While pots, coins, and tile roofs might seem boring, their presence indicates specialized training and knowledge, and without them, not only are we deprived of good plumbing, we are bereft of art, philosophy, and literary culture.

I loved this book; it is beautifully written and full of arcane information, obscure authors, excellent charts, graphs and maps, and solid original scholarship, In short, it is a history buff's delight. Find it and read it--your view of Rome will never be the same.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It was very good. Four stars only because (for me) it was ... 9 juin 2015
Par Soren Kerk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
It was very good. Four stars only because (for me) it was not what I expected. Very scholarly, and written to and for other scholars, me thinks. Not that we are not all interested in scholarship, but I like a book that reads almost more like a novel, with characters, actions, situations. This one, by dint of its very subject matter, rests on evidence of patterns over time and over space. Still very good to get the gist of what his point is. His point - well, maybe someone else can comment on this. Several points:
1. the 'barbarians' were better fighters and loved to fight
2. the recent history that wants to make it out that the invasion by the 'barbarians' was more a transformation than an invasion and bloody takeover are ... wrong. It was a takeover.
3. but then the question 'why' - why (besides #1 above) was the Roman Empire so take-over-able? Was it as some say that Christianity had its excesses and it crumpled under its own ... stuff? He says no. The reasons he gives are two: a.) there were many Civil Wars within Rome and that weakened resolve against an outside invader and b.) the Civil Wars depleted the coffers and little money was left over for a Roman army to fight the invaders.
But, then, the question remains (in my mind): why so many Civil Wars in Rome? What were they about? Money, resources, beliefs--or the ability to rally round one Emperor given the several nut job Emperors they endured. it seems kind of ... a circular "argument."
It may be an obvious answer - but I don't know the answer as to why so many civil wars. Please reply if YOU know more or if I misinterpreted author.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent dose of reality on the barbarian invasions of the Western Empire, although a little brief 14 décembre 2015
Par Jim Dixon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Impressive look at why the Western Roman Empire fell. And a great antidote to modern, multiculturally influenced rewritings of history that take the line that Rome fell because some people with different cultural practices moved into the neighbourhood. Great use of current archaeological findings. The final thesis is that, yes, Virginia, there was a barbarian invasion, and yes, it did lead to the destruction of the Roman civilization in the West.

My only issue with the book is its brevity. I wanted more. Ward-Perkins tried to keep the book short, and as a result he excludes a lot of additional archaeological evidence. I would love to see an expanded second take on this subject that truly delves into detail.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 ) I have to agree with a past reviewer that the best way to describe this would be "scholarly and compelling" 14 octobre 2015
Par lavendercrayon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I bought and read this book for a class, and I probably wouldn't have read it if it weren't required reading (it's not something I'd just pick up randomly.) I have to agree with a past reviewer that the best way to describe this would be "scholarly and compelling". I think the blurb, when seen in conjunction with the title, sensationalizes and dramatizes the contents of the book itself, so I understand if others expected something less academic and more action-packed. Having said that, the chapters in this book flowed extremely well and made for smooth and comfortable reading, which I really appreciated as both a student and a reader. Ward-Perkins presents evidence and defends his arguments very well, and his writing is eloquent and persuasive without being overwhelming and pedantic. The themes and material covered in this book also complement the topics covered in the course that I'm currently taking, which invariably contributes to how pleased I am with the book. I would recommend this book to history enthusiasts with a passion for Roman history as well as the history of Late Antiquity, as well as professors and academics who might be looking for a well-written, compelling, scholarly reading for their students.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 No nonsense research about the fall of Greco-Roman civilisation 29 juin 2016
Par Citizen of the world - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Scholarly publication based on top notch archaeology. It depicts the demise of Greco-Roman civilisation with state of the art scientific tools, showing many European peoples reduced to living in stone age conditions.
Mr. Ward-Perkins refers to the "fashionable" scholarship saying that there was no collapse of civilisation; he is polite but firm in his step-by-step deconstruction of this politically motivated fallacy.
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