The Tragedy of Empire

The Tragedy of Empire

"As Kulikowski presents it, the end of the Roman Empire in the West was mean and dirty--and thoroughly Roman...In a brilliant tour d'horizon of the West from Ireland to the Black Sea, he measures the effect of the fall of Rome on the world beyond Rome."
--Peter Brown, New York Review of Books

"A tour de force history of the inner workings of the late Roman Empire."
--Kyle Harper, author of The Fate of Rome

"Kulikowski writes boldly and fluently about imperial politics, incorporating the latest scholarship yet avoiding getting bogged down in academic controversies. Highly recommended."
--Hugh Elton, author of The Roman Empire in Late Antiquity

"Weaving together...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

One hundred years before the reign of Julian, the last non-Christian emperor of Rome, Diocletian had come to the conclusion that an empire stretching from the Rhine to the Euphrates could not effectively be governed by one man. He had devised a new system of governance to respond to the vastness of the Roman Empire, its new rivals, and the changing face of its citizenry.

Michael Kulikowski traces two hundred years of Roman history--from the late fourth century to the end of the sixth--during which the Western Empire ceased to exist while the Eastern Empire remained politically strong and culturally vibrant. He captures the changing structure of imperial rule, the rise of new elites, foreign invasions, the erosion of Roman and Greek religions, and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion.

Publication Date: 
June 1, 2023