£24.95
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The End of Roman Britain:... has been added to your Basket
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The End of Roman Britain: Sexual Rights and the Transformation of American Liberalism Paperback – 6 Jul 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£24.95
£18.41 £22.72
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£24.95 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; Reprint edition (6 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801485304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801485305
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 880,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Jones contends that . . . persistent local rebellions, disease, and climatic deterioration, as well as invasion, led to the end of Roman Britain. Except for a villain named Paul the Chain, whose depiction by Jones is a tiny biographical gem, most civil and military officials were colorless, and no religious leader emerged as a charismatic saint. In essence, the Britons ultimately rejected Roman civilization; they were not deprived of it. Jones's exploration is bound to be controversial, but his work is engaging, enjoyable, perceptive, and persuasive." Choice"

"Jones offers a radical revision to the standard account of the collapse of Roman power in Britain and the coming of the Anglo-Saxons. . . . This book will engage specialists in early medieval history, but Jones's lucid style and ability to demystify highly technical forms of evidence make the book accessible to intelligent general readers. This book is highly recommended for undergraduate, graduate, and major public libraries." Bridges"

"An exciting, imaginative, and original examination of a significant historical problem. Michael Jones's thesis, that Roman Britain fell not because Rome abandoned Britain but because the Britons rejected Rome, is certain to provoke controversy. The book is written in a witty and engaging style." Richard Abels, United States Naval Academy"

"Jones contends that . . . persistent local rebellions, disease, and climatic deterioration, as well as invasion, led to the end of Roman Britain. Except for a villain named Paul the Chain, whose depiction by Jones is a tiny biographical gem, most civil and military officials were colorless, and no religious leader emerged as a charismatic saint. In essence, the Britons ultimately rejected Roman civilization; they were not deprived of it. Jones's exploration is bound to be controversial, but his work is engaging, enjoyable, perceptive, and persuasive." Choice

"

"Jones offers a radical revision to the standard account of the collapse of Roman power in Britain and the coming of the Anglo-Saxons. . . . This book will engage specialists in early medieval history, but Jones's lucid style and ability to demystify highly technical forms of evidence make the book accessible to intelligent general readers. This book is highly recommended for undergraduate, graduate, and major public libraries." Bridges

"

From the Back Cover

Britain was never as thoroughly conquered as traditional historians would have us believe, according to Michael E. Jones. Among the provinces long occupied by Rome, Britain retained the slightest imprint of the invading civilization. To explain why this was true, Jones offers a lucid and thorough analysis of the economic, social, military, and environmental problems that contributed to the failure of the Romans. Drawing on literary sources and on recent archaeological evidence, Jones disputes the theory that the Anglo-Saxon invasions were the determining agent in the failure of Romanitas. He argues instead that the success of the new warriors was a symptom of the inherent weakness of Romano-British society. Problems late in the era may have been worsened significantly by changes in the natural environment, such as climatic deterioration associated with harvest failure, famine, and changes in migration patterns.


Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 May 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jones presents the argument in favour of the scenario of the Britons themselves consciously rejecting Roman civilisation at the end of the fourth century, well before the coming of the English. His reasoning essentially breaks into three categories: the relative population levels of Britons and English, mutual attitudes between the Britons and Roman government, and environmental factors.

In chapter 1, "Population and the invasions", Jones discusses population levels in Britain and the potential size of the English immigration. He suggests that the relative levels were such that the English could not have caused the destruction of Roman civilisation. In chapter 2, "The scale of the Adventus" the numbers of English immigrants are considered based on literary evidence, then in chapter 3, "The Anglo-Saxon invasions", Jones analyses the logistics of the invasion, including such matters as the ship technology of the time. The small numbers back up his suggestion that the English could not have overwhelmed and destroyed Roman society.

Chapter 4, "Romano-British attitudes" goes back once more to literary evidence to show that the British were never entirely enamoured about being part of the empire. Chapter 5 "The Roman provinces of Britain" then considers the Roman governance and how it would have given Britons plenty of reasons for grievance.

Chapter 6 "The environment and the End" considers climate change as a factor. A change in British climate in the 4th century, turning cooler and much wetter would have had a great negative impact on agriculture, creating a cause for massive civil unrest.
Read more ›
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The thesis of this book is that the Anglo-Saxon conquest was not primarily responsible for the break with Roman civilization but came after it. The thesis can be divided into two parts. First, that the Saxons arrived in very small numbers (probably under 50,000) and thus couldn't have imposed their culture on the dominant population. Second, that the native Britons consciously rejected Roman society before the Saxons arrived and thus aided such a blending of populations. Jones uses a good amount of literary works in his book and defends its use against those who reject all primary sources and focus solely on archaeology. It is refreshing to see this in a professional history as more and more the literary texts are being dismissed as unreliable while archaeology is placed on a pedestal.

The first argument he makes quite well. Clearly there are some elements (language most obviously) where the Saxon influence prevailed, but the majority of the population adopted the language and names of people who were little more than military overlords. In this he is (despite what he says in his introduction) following the current majority view. The Saxons were never populous enough to replace the indigenous inhabitants so those men must have come to identify themselves as Saxons over time. Parallels are obvious between this and the Arab conquests, where the inhabitants of Egypt and elsewhere became Arabs over several centuries. In fact, the question is really whether to compare the arrival of the Saxons with the Arabs or the Vikings. The Vikings came over in force and colonized much of northern England while the Arabs remained a small military elite running the country.
Read more ›
2 Comments 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, even if its main thesis misses 12 May 1999
By P. Turner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The great Classical historian Theodor Mommsen once said that Britain did not give up on Rome, but Rome gave up on Britain. Although Mommsen was technically correct in a legal or military sense, Jones would reverse this statement more generally, insisting that the Britons had expressly chosen to reject their Roman heritage. Jones correctly points out that the relatively small number of Anglo-Saxon immigrants could not by itself account for the collapse of Romanization in east Britain. He also does an excellent job of documenting the growing disenchantment of the Britons with the Roman Empire. Where he falters is in his failure to realize that the Britons were not unique in their disenchantment. Roman citizens throughout the west shared this attitude. Jones's discussion of St. Patrick exemplifies the flaw in his thesis: although born in Britain, Patrick spent his youth in Ireland, and was then educated and ordained in Gaul; many Patrician scholars, in fact, trace his special sense of mission to the influence of the contemporary Gallic Church. The reason why the British people today are divided between Celtic and Germanic nations (unlike their Romance cousins in France) lies not in a special failure of Roman civil institutions in Britain, but in the arrested development of the Christian Church in Britain; if more Briton-born Churchmen had St. Patrick's Gallic-learned dedication, the Britons might have earlier developed a national identity capable of surviving barbarian conquest, rather than having to wait for St. David in Wales and St. Kentigern in southwest Scotland. Jones's book is nonetheless well worth reading; although his main thesis misses, he does ably describe the sorry state of late Roman civil institutions in Britain (albeit correctly a microcosm, rather than a special case, in the west).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Half Strong, Second Half Weak 5 Aug. 2012
By Arch Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The thesis of this book is that the Anglo-Saxon conquest was not primarily responsible for the break with Roman civilization but came after it. The thesis can be divided into two parts. First, that the Saxons arrived in very small numbers (probably under 50,000) and thus couldn't have imposed their culture on the dominant population. Second, that the native Britons consciously rejected Roman society before the Saxons arrived and thus aided such a blending of populations. Jones uses a good amount of literary works in his book and defends its use against those who reject all primary sources and focus solely on archaeology. It is refreshing to see this in a professional history as more and more the literary texts are being dismissed as unreliable while archaeology is placed on a pedestal.

The first argument he makes quite well. Clearly there are some elements (language most obviously) where the Saxon influence prevailed, but the majority of the population adopted the language and names of people who were little more than military overlords. In this he is (despite what he says in his introduction) following the current majority view. The Saxons were never populous enough to replace the indigenous inhabitants so those men must have come to identify themselves as Saxons over time. Parallels are obvious between this and the Arab conquests, where the inhabitants of Egypt and elsewhere became Arabs over several centuries. In fact, the question is really whether to compare the arrival of the Saxons with the Arabs or the Vikings. The Vikings came over in force and colonized much of northern England while the Arabs remained a small military elite running the country. Yet despite there being more descendents of Vikings than of Saxons in England today (according to genetic studies), the Saxon culture won out in the end. Unfortunately he doesn't really go into how this could have happened, probably because there's no evidence, but spends most of his time trying to prove the small numbers. The first two chapters are basically an attempt to determine the population size of the British and the Saxons. His arguments are well thought out and convincing, even though the evidence is so paltry that its meaning could go either way. His first chapter looks at the archaeological evidence (mostly graveyards) and his second the literary evidence. The following chapter is one of the better ones and looks at the types of ships the Saxons would have taken to England. These ships were primitive things without sails and he argues from this that the size of the forces capable of being carried over in these was quite small. The evidence may not be as decisive as he makes it sound but he includes a lot of it and presents it well.

The second part of the book is where he runs into problems. I found myself disagreeing with most of what he said. It was not enough for him to show that Britain abandoned Roman culture, he felt he had to show that they had never accepted it. Furthermore he felt the need to make Britain hate the Romans. After all his denial of the uniqueness of the Saxon conquest when compared with other barbarian invasions I was surprised to find him proclaiming Britain's uniqueness as a province never truly accepting of Roman rule. He works quite hard at showing that Britain was a uniquely rebellious and unhappy province when it simply wasn't. Certainly it had its share of problems, but with the exception of one rebellion at the end of the third century, a successful emperor (Constantine) in the 4th, and a failed emperor in the second there were no rebellions until the last generation of Roman rule. That's actually a fairly typical record for a frontier province. Germany and Pannonia produced emperors and usurpers left and right and even neighboring Gaul proclaimed more. Yet Gaul kept its Romanitas while Britain lost it. Clearly insecurity doesn't represent a lack of loyalty nor does it indicate an unsuccessfully assimilated province. When it comes right down to it the fact is that at the end Britain did everything it could to remain a part of the empire only giving up once their imperial candidate failed to protect them. I'm not that impressed with his assertion that Britain was a uniquely vilified province either. They do have one example of an epigram mocking Britons (specifically one Briton) but the rest of the evidence is rather unimpressive. Most provincials were looked down on to some extent whether it was the effeminate Syrians or the boisterous Gauls. He doesn't provide anything to convince me that the attitude towards Britain was significantly worse. He does mention the interesting fact that Britain was often used as a place of exile. This seems to say something about how inconsequential they considered Britain to be, but it certainly doesn't justify his statement that "as this action was taken instead of execution, it is tempting to speculate that in the eyes of his court, Britain may have represented a fate worse than death" (162).

His literary sources backing the assertion of hostility towards Rome are St. Patrick, Gildas, and Nennius. And here he has real problems of proof ecause he tries to prove the opposite of what the sources say. Patrick calls himself and his fellow countrymen Romans as well as Britons. Jones argues (correctly) that Romans are referred to only in a religious sense and that furthermore (incorrectly) the absence of any reference to Romans politically indicates that he was indifferent at best to Roman civilization, possibly even hostile. It would be far better to say that he pays no attention to politics whatsoever except where they intrude on his religious activities. None of this changes the fact that he uses the word Roman in a positive way. Gildas is the second British author he analyzes and, like Patrick, he has to explain away the fact that he loves the Romans. Far more than Patrick in fact. Gildas uses them as exemplars of virtue to compare with the vile and untrustworthy Britons who are ruining everything. Admittedly his greatest praise comes for the Britons who drove off the Saxons, but even here he makes sure to mention that their leader was descended from Roman parents. Certainly he refers to harsh punishments from the Romans, but Jones' mistake is in thinking this is viewed as a bad thing. Gildas is fully in favor of cruel torments provided that they are directed against the unrighteous. Gildas is emphasizing how righteous the Romans were in stamping out heretics and traitors. More interesting is his assertion that Gildas didn't view the Roman period as a particularly secure period, which is true enough, but again it is in keeping with his main theme: The Britons are evil and deserve what they get, which is why they need to reform now and God will reward them. Nennius is a more complicated source since he comes centuries later, but here at least it is certainly true that he doesn't have a very high opinion of the Roman conquerors. Given that this reflects British opinion after centuries of conflicts against outside invaders this isn't necessarily an accurate view of their feelings at the time. Even here the view isn't as hostile as he expresses. It's mostly indifferent.

I started this book off very excited at its analysis of the Saxon invasion and ended it on a fairly sour note. It's still a good work but I wish that he had kept his focus on the Saxons rather than the Romans who I don't feel he always gets. As refreshing as it is seeing a text on the end of Roman Britain from a Saxon perspective I don't think that it can consider its case proven. Not that it is possible to find definitive proof for much of anything in this poorly documented and hard to understand era. Whether you agree with the first part or not it is well argued and uses both literary and archaeological sources with equal skill. The second part relies exclusively on written material and seems to really be struggling to prove its conclusion. This was particularly infuriating for me since I don't disagree with his basic thesis, simply the direction and extremes to which he takes it. It is quite possible to state that Britain was never fully Romanized (See Britannia: The Failed State or UnRoman Britain for example), but he doesn't really try to argue this. If you accept his conclusions then he has proved that by default, but if you don't then there is nothing in here to show that Britain was anything but a normal province of the empire.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback