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The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders
     

The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders

by Peter Heather
 

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In 476 AD, the last of Rome's emperors, known as "Augustulus," was deposed by a barbarian general, the son of one of Attila the Hun's henchmen. With the imperial vestments dispatched to Constantinople, the curtain fell on the Roman empire in Western Europe, its territories divided among successor kingdoms constructed around barbarian military manpower. But, if the

Overview

In 476 AD, the last of Rome's emperors, known as "Augustulus," was deposed by a barbarian general, the son of one of Attila the Hun's henchmen. With the imperial vestments dispatched to Constantinople, the curtain fell on the Roman empire in Western Europe, its territories divided among successor kingdoms constructed around barbarian military manpower. But, if the Roman Empire was dead, Romans across much of the old empire still lived, holding on to their lands, their values, and their institutions. The conquering barbarians, responding to Rome's continuing psychological dominance and the practical value of many of its institutions, were ready to reignite the imperial flame and enjoy the benefits. As Peter Heather shows in dazzling biographical portraits, each of the three greatest immediate contenders for imperial power--Theoderic, Justinian, and Charlemagne--operated with a different power base but was astonishingly successful in his own way. Though each in turn managed to put back together enough of the old Roman West to stake a plausible claim to the Western imperial title, none of their empires long outlived their founders' deaths. Not until the reinvention of the papacy in the eleventh century would Europe's barbarians find the means to establish a new kind of Roman Empire, one that has lasted a thousand years. A sequel to the bestselling Fall of the Roman Empire, The Restoration of Rome offers a captivating narrative of the death of an era and the birth of the Catholic Church.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/06/2014
Following up on his Fall of Rome: A New History, Heather zeros in on three pivotal figures of Late Antiquity: the Goth emperor Theodoric, the Greek/Roman emperor Justinian, and the spiritual progenitor of modern Europe, Charlemagne. Each man is meticulously examined in the context of his time and in his attempts to save or reconstitute at least the image of Imperial Rome. Theodoric and Charlemagne, in particular, used Christian bishops as state officials to legitimize their authority. However, it is the final section of the book that breaks ground that might be debated by some scholars. Here, Heather makes a cogent argument for the slow growth of papal power, culminating in 1215 C.E. with the Fourth Lateran Council, which has long been considered a watershed. This, he avers, created a new Roman empire that still exists. The transition from the first empire to the present is wonderfully retold, with the rise of the Islamic states appearing like a wild card, diverting the flow of history. Heather’s style is seductive and his British wit enlivens this engrossing history of the piecemeal “restoration” of a Rome that lingers still. Illus. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"The transition from the first empire to the present is wonderfully retold... Heather's style is seductive and his British wit enlivens this engrossing history of the piecemeal 'restoration' of a Rome that lingers still." --Publishers Weekly

"Underlying this rollicking narrative of sieges, sea battles and palace coups is a clever argument about the enduring dream of a universal European realm."--Sunday Times Books of the Year

"In this brilliant account... Peter Heather explains how and why efforts to reconstruct the Roman empire ultimately failed, and how they unwittingly laid the foundation for a new sort of Roman empire... This is a beautifully written book that combines sprightly narrative with detailed analysis, but never loses the big picture." --Peter Jones, BBC History Magazine

"The Restoration of Rome presents an exciting and learned argument in a convincing, passionate way designed to be intelligible to a popular audience. Heather is a masterly interrogator of evidence, questioning the texts he quotes in such a way to make his book feel at times like a historical detective puzzle... This is a keenly conceived, deeply intelligent and very timely history." --Dan Jones, Sunday Times

"This is the story of the birth of Europe, with its profusion of competitive states. It is told with energy and zest, full of lurid detail and enthralling biographical portraits." --Ben Wilson, Telegraph

"A tightly argued and highly stimulating book that will be of obvious interest to readers curious about the aftermath of Rome's fall and the cultural and ideological legacy of Rome. The style is chatty and accessible, and the scholarship up to date and reliable." --Peter Sarris, Literary Review

"An immensely enjoyable and informative book . Heather's style is never disagreeable, often witty, and always engaging."- -H-Empire

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199368532
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/21/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
431,219
File size:
14 MB
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Meet the Author

Peter Heather is Professor of Medieval History at King's College London. He is the bestselling author of The Fall of the Roman Empire, Empires and Barbarians, and numerous other works on late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

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