The Fragmentary History of Priscus: Attila, the Huns and the Roman Empire, AD 430–476

Arx Publishing, LLC
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Attila, king of the Huns, is a name universally known even 1,500 years after his death. His meteoric rise and legendary career of conquest left a trail of destroyed cities across the Roman Empire. At its height, his vast domain commanded more territory than the Romans themselves, and those he threatened with attack sent desperate embassies loaded with rich tributes to purchase a tenuous peace. Yet as quickly he appeared, Attila and his empire vanished with startling rapidity. His two decades of terror, however, had left an indelible mark upon the pages of European history.

Priscus was a late Roman historian who had the ill luck to be born during a time when Roman political and military fortunes had reached a nadir. An eye-witness to many of the events he records, Priscus's history is a sequence of intrigues, assassinations, betrayals, military disasters, barbarian incursions, enslaved Romans and sacked cities. Perhaps because of its gloomy subject matter, the History of Priscus was not preserved in its entirety. What remains of the work consists of scattered fragments culled from a variety of later sources. Yet, from these fragments emerge the most detailed and insightful first-hand account of the decline of the Roman Empire, and nearly all of the information about Attila’s life and exploits that has come down to us from antiquity.  

Translated by classics scholar Professor John Given of East Carolina University, this new translation of the Fragmentary History of Priscus arranges the fragments in chronological order, complete with intervening historical commentary to preserve the narrative flow. It represents the first translation of this important historical source that is easily approachable for both students and general readers. 

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Publisher
Arx Publishing, LLC
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Published on
Oct 10, 2015
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Pages
252
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ISBN
9781935228141
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Rome
History / Asia / Central Asia
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This content is DRM protected.
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The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart. He shows first how the Huns overturned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers, to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the Empire. This prompted two generations of struggle, during which new barbarian coalitions, formed in response to Roman hostility, brought the Roman west to its knees. The Goths first destroyed a Roman army at the battle of Hadrianople in 378, and went on to sack Rome in 410. The Vandals spread devastation in Gaul and Spain, before conquering North Africa, the breadbasket of the Western Empire, in 439. We then meet Attila the Hun, whose reign of terror swept from Constantinople to Paris, but whose death in 453 ironically precipitated a final desperate phase of Roman collapse, culminating in the Vandals' defeat of the massive Byzantine Armada: the west's last chance for survival. Peter Heather convincingly argues that the Roman Empire was not on the brink of social or moral collapse. What brought it to an end were the barbarians.
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