One of the fundamental questions about the later Roman Empire is just what a mess it really was. Did the barbarians topple a fundamentally healthy, functional state? Or were they merely the straw that broke the camel’s back of a diseased, rotten, empire that could no longer hold itself together? In this episode, we discuss just how things had changed between the peak of the Roman Empire in the second century and the beginning of the end in the fourth.
In 395, the barbarian Goths rebelled against the Romans and fought a campaign that culminated in the sack of Rome in 410. But were the Goths really barbarous foreigners, or are they better understood as a Roman army seeking a position within the Empire? In the fourth episode of the Fall of Rome, we explore these questions and more.
In the third episode of The Fall of Rome, we explore the Goths’ migration into the Roman Empire and their desperate war for survival against the forces of the Empire. This conflict culminated in the Battle of Adrianople, the worst defeat of a Roman army in more than 350 years. How did a rag-tag group of migrants defeat the cream of the army and leave an emperor dead on the battlefield?
In the second episode of The Fall of Rome, we explore the barbarian world beyond the frontiers, focusing on the fearsome Goths who would one day leave an emperor dead on the battlefield, sack Rome itself, and found a kingdom of their own inside the empire’s borders. The barbarian world was tightly tied to Rome, and those connections are what we’ll investigate here.
My sincere thanks to everyone who listened to the first episode of The Fall of Rome Podcast. I wasn’t expecting quite this response, and I got a ton of requests for ways to listen to the show other than the Soundcloud platform. I’ve now rectified that issue, and it’s available everywhere:
Pretty much every other podcast app works through one of these three options. If it’s not showing up anywhere, please let me know and I’ll fix it as soon as possible.
Thanks again for listening!
Welcome to the Fall of Rome. I’m your host, Patrick Wyman, and I recently completed my PhD on precisely this topic.
The story you probably learned in school – ravaging hordes of fur-wearing barbarians tore down the civilized Empire – is at best incomplete, and at worst just plain wrong. I’ll take you on a journey along the cutting edge of history, archaeology, genetics, forensic science, climate science, and paleoepidemiology to provide an up-to-date understanding of one of the most important processes in human history.
In the first episode, we’ll go over when and where the fall of the Roman Empire took place, and what we mean when we say “Fall of Rome.”
Give it a listen: