- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: The History Press; New Ed edition (1 July 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0752419447
- ISBN-13: 978-0752419442
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.3 x 24.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 927,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain Paperback – 1 Jul 2001
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Neil Faulkner is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. He is a freelance lecturer in archaeology and ancient history as well as being Director of the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research project in north-west Norfolk, where he is excavating a Saxon village and cemetery.
From the Back Cover
Combining a fresh analysis of the archaeological evidence with the traditional historical accounts, Neil Faulkner presents a new interpretation of the decline and fall of Roman Britain.
The original conquest of Britain was one of the last successes of the Roman military imperialism, whereas the Romans' repeated failures on the north British frontier show the limits of this system - once dynamic and expansionist, later faltering and defensive. By the late third and early fourth century a new order was established in Britain: a centralised, military-bureaucratic state, governed by a class of super-rich landlords and apparatchiks, who siphoned wealth out of the provinces to defend the frontiers. As a result, the towns declined and the countryside was depressed. The fabric of late Roman imperial society simply rotted away.
This process of decline reached a climax in the great military crisis of the late fourth century. The Roman imperial army, bled white by defeats on continental battlefields, withdrew its troops from Britain to defend the imperial heartlands, and the Romano-British elite succombed to a combination of warlord power, barbarian attack and popular revolt.
Dr Faulkner concludes his study by discussing the legacy of Rome and the significance of the so-called 'dark-age'. Illustrated by numerous maps, plans, photographs, tables and graphs, this is a book that will enjoy a wide appeal - from Time Team viewers through to dirt archaeologists and academics. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately the final chapter wanders off into a nonsensical imagining about a golden idyll of early Communism in Britain, which is not only completely unsupported by any evidence, but is contradicted by the very slender source material which does exist; Mr Faulkner doesn't seem to know anything about the tribal/warlord society of the early Dark Ages - or if he does, he supresses it in favour of a Hobshawm fantasy of class-led revolutionary politics.
The problem is, of course, that Britain was on the very edge of the Empire, and after the failure of the Constantinian revival, the historians of Late Antiquity did not know (and maybe didn't care) very much about this remote province. However, this is no excuse for just making it up!
I would be very cautious in reccomending this book to anyone who does not already have a reasonable grasp of the historical events and movements in this period (read Ward-Perkins and Heather); it is fine as a quirky supplement, but dangerous as a presentation of fact.
He explains convincingly what it was that made the Romans covet Britain in the first place. How their use and exploitation of it changed over the years. And finally how it slipped from their grasp in a welter of confusion and total economic collapse.
I know some reviewers have lamented what they see as the book's negative tone. I am sorry but I don't agree. The book is not negative -- it's just clear sighted in what empires are for.
Faulkner points out what should be obvious to us all. Empires are not by and large motivated by ideas about spreading civilisation or democracy: They are about power and the exploitation of resources from the periphery - for the good of the centre. Period. And this judgement applies ro any empire in history that you care to name; the Assyrians, the Persians, the Athenian, the Romans, the British Empire, and modern days ones.
My only issue would be with the title - Decline and Fall of Roman Britain. It is a lovely title - but it undersells the book -- which is so much more.
Finally, at the end Dr Faulkner proposes a peasent revolt. May be it didn't qite happen like this. But something like it surely did happen. Why? Because when we look at the neighbouring province of Gaul, we see a far different story. Something of an economy and a society based on towns weathers the shock of the early 5th century here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting overview of a familiar story. Onew of the few archaeologists to understand the use statistics intelligently
His interest in politics, while a bit... Read more
This is without doubt, the best book I've read on Roman Britain. And I say that as an anthropologist who has worked on Romano-British archaeological sites and given lectures.Published 19 months ago by BookReader
From the title I was really expecting a book on the ending of Roman Britain; however Faulkner in his introduction freely admits that he has chosen the title by analogy with Gibbon,... Read morePublished on 11 July 2009 by E. L. Wisty
This is a concise and very well-argued book about Roman Britain. Not content with the fall, Neil Faulkner covers the rise and development of the region, too, in a very readable... Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2006
This books presents an almost wholly one-sided and pejorative view of both the Roman Empire and Roman Britain. Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2005 by Philip I. Reeves
A refreshing change from the often dry interpretation of Britain's Romanization, this book encourages you to read on and thirst for each chapter in turn. Read morePublished on 16 Oct. 2001