The Day of the Barbarians by Alessandro Barbero

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On August 9, 378 AD, at Adrianople in the Roman province of Thrace (now western Turkey), the Roman Empire began to fall. Two years earlier, an unforeseen flood of refugees from the East Germanic tribe known as the Goths had arrived at the Empire's eastern border, seeking admittance. Though usually successful in dealing with barbarian groups, in this instance the Roman authorities failed. Gradually coalesced into an army led by Fritigern, the barbarian horde inflicted on Emperor Valens the most disastrous defeat suffered by the Roman army since Hannibal's victory at Cannae almost 600 years earlier. The Empire did not actually fall for another century, but some believe this battle signaled nothing less than the end of the ancient world and the start of the Middle Ages.With impeccable scholarship and narrative flair, renowned historian Alessandro Barbero places the battle in its historical context, chronicling the changes in the Roman Empire, west and east, the cultural dynamics at its borders, and the extraordinary administrative challenge in holding it together. Vividly recreating the events leading to the clash, he brings alive leaders and common soldiers alike, comparing the military tactics and weaponry of the barbarians with those of the disciplined Roman army as the battle unfolded on that epic afternoon. Narrating one of the turning points in world history, The Day of the Barbarians is military history at its very best.

About Alessandro Barbero

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Alessandro Barbero is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy. In addition to writing about medieval society and culture, he is the author of the historical novel Bella vita e guerre altrui di Mr. Pyle, gentiluomo, which won the Strega Prize in 1996. Over a period of twelve years, Allan Cameron has translated some twenty books on history, philosophy, and other academic disciplines, including works by leading Italian philosopher Norberto Bobbio and President of the European Commission Romano Prodi.
Published May 26, 2009 by Walker Books. 192 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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Another colorful recounting of a historic clash of armies, from the author of The Battle: A New History of Waterloo (2005).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Barbarians

The New York Times

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In the fourth century, it was the beginning of the end for Rome.

Apr 29 2007 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Barbarians

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