Bryan Ward-Perkins introduced by Tim Whitmarsh


Vicious barbarian invasions during the 5th century resulted in the cataclysmic end of the world’s most powerful civilisation 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 us to think again by reclaiming the 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 as well as the consequences for the lives of everyday Romans in a world of economic collapse, marauding barbarians and the rise of a new religious orthodoxy.