I read this book mainly because the collapse of Roman rule in Gaul is probably the closest model we have for what happened in the much less documented post-Roman period in Britain. The depth of research in this volume is absolutely astounding! Mathisen covers nearly every way the aristocrats of Gaul had of reacting to the barbarian invasion (many of which, coincidentally, find parallels in Britain). They could denigrate the barbarians and engage in even greater Roman chauvanism, they could try to deny the situation and continue as they always had, they could flee, they could enter the church, or they could "turn traitor," and collaborate with the barbarians. Mathisen shows how different aristocrats in different places throughout Gaul used each of these strategies to adapt to an unenviable position. It is an excellent study of what happens to a civilizaion when its entire world comes crashing in on it.