Until recently, it was assumed that Rome carried the torch of civilization into the barbarian darkness, bringing law, architecture and literature to conquered peoples. An alternative view now suggests that many of Rome's enemies - the Celts and Dacians, for example - were developing civilizations in their own right before premature obliteration at the Roman sword. Indeed, as Philip Matyszak argues, had Rome not crushed rival powers so completely, the drop into the Dark Ages might not have occurred: at Rome's collapse, no other powerful civilizations remained to absorb the impact. This book looks at the growth and eventual demise of Rome from the viewpoint of the vanquished peoples. They varied from the highly cultivated Greeks and Egyptians, to wild and rebellious Britons and Germans, to the Asiatic empires of the Persians and Parthians. Their leaders were driven by ambition, vindictive hatred, fear, political calculation, or simply naked greed. Some fought to preserve their heritage and ancient way of life, some for personal survival, and others from a warrior's love of battle.