Imperial Tragedy (Hardback)

From Constantine’s Empire to the Destruction of Roman Italy AD 363-568

Michael Kulikowski

Two hundred years of Roman imperial politics and power brought to life in an action-packed narrative

For centuries, Rome was one of the world's largest imperial powers, its influence spread across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle-East, its military force successfully fighting off attacks by the Parthians, Germans, Persians and Goths. Then came the definitive split, the Vandal sack of Rome, and the crumbling of the West from Empire into kingdoms first nominally under Imperial rule and then, one by one, beyond it.

Imperial Tragedy tells the story of Rome's gradual collapse. Full of palace intrigue, religious conflicts and military history, as well as details of the shifts in social, religious and political structures, Imperial Tragedy contests the idea that Rome fell due to external invasions. Instead, it focuses on how the choices and conditions of those living within the empire led to its fall. For it was not a single catastrophic moment that broke the Empire but a creeping process; by the time people understood that Rome had fallen, the west of the Empire had long since broken the Imperial yoke.

Publication date: 03/10/2019

£25.00

ISBN: 9781781256329

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Imperial Tragedy (Ebook)

From Constantine’s Empire to the Destruction of Roman Italy AD 363-568

Michael Kulikowski

Two hundred years of Roman imperial politics and power brought to life in an action-packed narrative

For centuries, Rome was one of the world's largest imperial powers, its influence spread across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle-East, its military force successfully fighting off attacks by the Parthians, Germans, Persians and Goths. Then came the definitive split, the Vandal sack of Rome, and the crumbling of the West from Empire into kingdoms first nominally under Imperial rule and then, one by one, beyond it.

Imperial Tragedy tells the story of Rome's gradual collapse. Full of palace intrigue, religious conflicts and military history, as well as details of the shifts in social, religious and political structures, Imperial Tragedy contests the idea that Rome fell due to external invasions. Instead, it focuses on how the choices and conditions of those living within the empire led to its fall. For it was not a single catastrophic moment that broke the Empire but a creeping process; by the time people understood that Rome had fallen, the west of the Empire had long since broken the Imperial yoke.

Publication date: 03/10/2019

£14.99

ISBN: 9781782832461

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B07K8W73T5

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for Imperial Tragedy

'A fascinating account showing just what it was like to be a Roman emperor - the endless court politics, the shock of outside events, the need to bring in reforms, and, above all, the constant struggle to stay alive and keep your place on the throne.'

Jerry Toner, Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge 

'A tour de force history of the inner workings of the late Roman Empire. Kulikowski tells a vivid, compelling story of the humans who fought to control the machinery of the empire until the entire system could no longer hold.'

Kyle Harper, author The Fate of Rome

'Kulikowski pairs his comprehensive understanding of late Roman politics with an uncanny eye for spatial and material details as he reconstructs an empire in a downward spiral of self-destruction. Roman emperors and barbarian kings, pagan aristocrats and Christian bishops, loyal soldiers and self-serving condottieri are woven into the brilliantly dramatized story of The Tragedy of Empire.'

Noel Lenski, author Constantine and the Cities

'Michael Kulikowski tells the story of the Roman Empire from the fourth to the sixth century. He writes boldly and fluently about imperial politics, incorporating the latest scholarship yet avoiding getting bogged down in academic controversies. Highly recommended as an introduction to the political history of this period.'

Hugh Elton, author The Roman Empire in Late Antiquity

'Weaving together a more than 200-year history of complex family affairs, rebels, battles, coups and intrigue into engaging prose, Kulikowski's book is an enjoyable read for anyone who is interested in late Roman history.'

 Minerva Magazine

'Kulikowski pairs his comprehensive understanding of late Roman politics with an uncanny eye for spatial and material details as he reconstructs an empire in a downward spiral of self-destruction. Roman emperors and barbarian kings, pagan aristocrats and Christian bishops, loyal soldiers and self-serving condottieri are woven into the brilliantly dramatized story of Imperial Tragedy.'

Noel Lenski, author Constantine and the Cities

'Outstanding history about the failures of roman totalitarianism'

 Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Michael Kulikowski

Michael Kulikowski

Michael Kulikowski is Professor of History and Classics at Penn State University, where his research and writing ranges widely across ancient and early medieval history. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. His books include Rome's Gothic Wars, described by Bryn Mawr Classical Review as 'exceptional' and by Military History Review as 'breezy and animated, yet authoritative'. He is currently writing Imperial Tragedy on the history of the empire from the Constantinian legacy to the Destruction of Roman Italy in 568, to be published by Profile in 2018.