The Day of the Barbarians


By Alessandro Barbero, Published in 2005



On August 9, ad 378, outside Adrianople in the Roman province of Thrace, the Roman Empire began to fall. Two years earlier, an unexpected flood of refugees from the tribe known as the Goths had arrived at the Empire’s eastern border, seeking admittance. In the David-and-Goliath struggle that ensued, the barbarians eventually inflicted upon the Roman Army the most disastrous defeat they had suffered since Hannibal’s victory over them almost 600 years earlier. Although the Empire did not actually fall for another century, this battle signalled nothing less than the end of the ancient world and the opening of the Middle Ages.

Barbero vividly recreates the events leading up to the last epic battle of the ancient world, and a significant turning point in world history. The Day of the Barbarians is military history at its gripping best.

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