"THE ROMAN EMPIRE was the largest state western Eurasia has ever known. For over four hundred years it stretched from Hadrian’s Wall to the River Euphrates, transforming the lives of all the inhabitants within its frontiers and dominating landscapes and peoples for hundreds of kilometres beyond. Interconnected fortress systems, strategic road networks and professional, highly trained armies both symbolized and ensured this domination, and Roman forces were not averse to massacring any neighbour who stepped out of line. The opening scenes of the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator are based on the victories of Marcus Aurelius over the Marcomanni, a Germanic tribe of south-central Europe, in the third quarter of the second century. Two hundred years later, the Romans were still at it. In 357, 12,000 of the emperor Julian’s Romans routed an army of 30,000 Alamanni at the battle of Strasbourg. But within a generation, the Roman order was shaken to its core and Roman armies, as one contemporary put it, ‘vanished like shadows’. In 376, a large band of Gothic refugees arrived at the Empire’s Danube frontier, asking for asylum. In a complete break with established Roman policy, they were allowed in, unsubdued. They revolted, and within two years had defeated and killed the emperor Valens – the one who had received them – along with two-thirds of his army, at the battle of Hadrianople."

Peter Heather. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History . Pan Macmillan.

400 - The Goth Gainas is defeated in the East after he sacks Constantinopolis.
401 - Alaric invades Italy. Around this time Aetius is enrolled as a protector domesticus, earmarked for future office.
402 - Stilicho musters 30 Roman Legions and his Alan allies under Saul to fight the Battle of Pollentia and Battle of Verona.
405 - Radagasius invades Pannonia and Noricum, then marches into Italy. Flavius Aetius becomes tribunis praetoriani partis militaris after having served in the protectores domestici for several years, and is sent to Alaric as a hostage.
406 - The Vandals, Alans, and Suebes cross the Rhine after years of fleeing from Hunnic pressure.
408 - Stilicho is executed by Honorius, who then orders Gothic families to be captured or killed. Goths in the army revolt and join Alaric, forming the Visigoths of Spain.
406 - The Romans send 6000 men from the Dalmatian field army to reinforce Rome, but Alaric ambushes and destroys them en route.
410 - Alaric deposes Attalus and lays siege to Rome a third time. Rome is sacked for 3 days, the old senate house is burned and minor looting takes place, but otherwise there is no significant devastation.
416 - Visigoths formally settled in Aquitaine.
419 - Valentinan III is born after Galla Placidia married Constantius III.
421 - Constantius III becomes co-emperor, but dies shortly afterwards.
423 - Honorius dies.
424 - The Eastern Emperor, Theodosius II, launches a campaign to install Valentinian III as Emperor in Ravenna. Licinia Eudoxia and Valentinian III are betrothed. Galla Placidia the real power in Italy.
425 - Valentinian III on the throne in the West.
426 - Flavius Aetius defeats the Visigoths under their general Anaulf besieging Arelate, and establishes a treaty in which Sigisvult enters Roman service as comes foederatorum.
428 - Flavius Aetius defeats the Salian Franks of Chlodio and recaptures Colonia Agrippina and Augusta Treverorum. Flavius Constantius Felix repels Hunnic raiders in Pannonia.
432 - Aetius is made Consul, and defeats the Franks on the Rhine.
The Burgundians revolt again, likely in unison with the Visigoths, who lay siege to Narbona. Aetius uses his Hun foederati to utterly defeat the Burgundians, allegedly slaying 20,000 and killing their king Gundicar, forming the basis of the Nibelungenlied.
438 - Aetius defeats the Visigoths at the Battle of Mons Colubrarius, where they were unable to draw up a battle line and 8000 of them are reputedly slain. Litorius pursues the Visigoths into Aquitaine and lays siege to Tolosa (Toulouse). The Codex Theodosianus is published and implemented in the East, and Aetius presides over its adoption in the West.
440 - The right to bear arms, revoked in 386 AD, is restored under Valentinian III, who passes further laws in an attempt to secure funding for the army and maintain the treasury. The Vandals besiege Panormus and raid Bruttium but they retreat and the party in Bruttium is defeated by the local Vigilies. Aetius and the comes et magister utriusque militiae iunior Sigisvult prepare for a campaign against the Vandals in Africa. The Suebes capture Mertola. Flavius Gaudentius is born and Merobaudes issues a pangeyric. The Alans under Sambida are settled in deserted lands in Valence and Auvergne.
442 - The Treaty of 442 is signed giving the Vandals Numidia, Africa Proconsularis, and Byzacena, and they become the first independent kingdom in the Roman Empire.
443 - Burgundian remnants are settled under Roman control in Sapaudia, the treaty likely results in Ricimer entering Roman service as comes foederatorum.
444 - Attila becomes sole ruler of the Huns.
446 - Aetius consul for the Third time.
447 - Second Hunnic invasion of the Balkans. The Theodosian walls of Constantinople are struck by an earthquake but the city populace and nobility rapidly moves to have them repaired. It is likely the middle wall was added at this point.
448 - The East is forced into a treaty with the Huns with a tribute of 2100 pounds of gold and a buffer zone South of the Danube is established, as well as around 7000 pounds owed in back payments.
451 - Attila invades Gaul
452 - Attila invades again, devastating Noricum Mediterrane and attacks Italy. Aquileia, defended heavily due to foresight by Aetius, is sacked but seriously hampers the Hunnic invasion force.
453 - Attila the Hun dies from cirrhosis of the liver. Thorismund attacks and defeats the Alans of Sambida and Sangiban.
454 - Aetius consul for the Fourth time. Battle of the Nedao River: Hunnic Empire is broken up by the successful revolt of its vassal the Gepids under Ardaric. This prompts most of the other germanic nations to revolt as well, causing problems on the Danube for Aetius. Valentinian III, seeking to become an active emperor, plots to assassinate Aetius with the help of his chamberlain, Heraclius. On the 21st of September, Aetius is stabbed to death by Valentinian III himself. Terminal degeneration of the Western Empire is triggered by his death.
490 - Clovis in Gaul absorbs the former Limitanei garrisons on the Rhine, essentially formalizing their pseudonym of "Ripuarian Franks" and incorporating them into the new Merovingian Frankish Kingdom.
493 - Theodoric the Great is sent by the Eastern Emperor to Italy and establishes the Ostrogothic Kingdom at Ravenna after defeating Odoacer. Ravenna the new capital of Italy til Justinian. End to a Roman centered empire. From 500 on, the surviving Roman Empire is based at Constantinople til 1453.


This great book by Peter Heather is the best one-volume study of the fall of the Roman Empire. It is up to date with material from all recent research in the field. And it is a great read – as good as a novel.

Peter Heather,

The Fall of the Roman Empire, A New History,

Pan books paperback,

ISBN 978-0330491365

The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart. He shows first how the Huns overturned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers, to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the Empire. This prompted two generations of struggle, during which new barbarian coalitions, formed in response to Roman hostility, brought the Roman west to its knees. The Goths first destroyed a Roman army at the battle of Hadrianople in 378, and went on to sack Rome in 410. The Vandals spread devastation in Gaul and Spain, before conquering North Africa, the breadbasket of the Western Empire, in 439. We then meet Attila the Hun, whose reign of terror swept from Constantinople to Paris, but whose death in 453 ironically precipitated a final desperate phase of Roman collapse, culminating in the Vandals' defeat of the massive Byzantine Armada: the west's last chance for survival. Peter Heather convincingly argues that the Roman Empire was not on the brink of social or moral collapse. What brought it to an end were the barbarians.


Dan Jones,

Powers and Thrones,


ISBN 978-1984880871

This new history of the Middles Ages has just appeared from the best-selling author Dan Jones. It is perfect for us. The organization and the coverage is excellent. It reads well and is a pleasure. The cost of it is about 20$ from Amazon, either hardcover or paperback. If you prefer the lighter paperback then choose it, but the hardcore will endure better. Please use our link on this page to buy from Amazon because we get credit($) for each purchase.

Here are just a few of the reviews.

"Not only an engrossing read about the distant past, both informative and entertaining, but also a profoundly thought-provoking view of our not-really-so-‘new’ present . . . All medieval history is here, beautifully narrated . . . The vision takes in whole imperial landscapes but also makes room for intimate portraits of key individuals, and even some poems."—Wall Street Journal

"A lively history . . . [Jones] has managed to touch every major topic. As each piece of the puzzle is placed into position, the modern world gradually comes into view . . . Powers and Thrones provides the reader with a framework for understanding a complicated subject, and it tells the story of an essential era of world history with skill and style."—The New York Times

The New York Times bestselling author returns with an epic history of the medieval world—a rich and complicated reappraisal of an era whose legacy and lessons we are still living with today.

When the once-mighty city of Rome was sacked by barbarians in 410 and lay in ruins, it signaled the end of an era--and the beginning of a thousand years of profound transformation. In a gripping narrative bursting with big names—from St Augustine and Attila the Hun to the Prophet Muhammad and Eleanor of Aquitaine—Dan Jones charges through the history of the Middle Ages. Powers and Thrones takes readers on a journey through an emerging Europe, the great capitals of late Antiquity, as well as the influential cities of the Islamic West, and culminates in the first European voyages to the Americas.

The medieval world was forged by the big forces that still occupy us today: climate change, pandemic disease, mass migration, and technological revolutions. This was the time when the great European nationalities were formed; when the basic Western systems of law and governance were codified; when the Christian Churches matured as both powerful institutions and the regulators of Western public morality; and when art, architecture, philosophical inquiry and scientific invention went through periods of massive, revolutionary change.

The West was rebuilt on the ruins of an empire and emerged from a state of crisis and collapse to dominate the world. Every sphere of human life and activity was transformed in the thousand years covered by Powers and Thrones. As we face a critical turning point in our own millennium, Dan Jones shows that how we got here matters more than ever.