The Story of the Goths: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Gothic Dominion
by Henry Bradley
Published in 1887
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Over the last few years, I have extensively studied the late Roman Empire. Re-reading about the same history, this time from the perspective of the goths, was very enlightening.
My previous opinion of the Goths was always tempered by the fact that they destroyed something that I love. However, reading history from the Gothic perspective helped broaden my understanding of the Dark Ages.
The most interesting aspect was learning how the Roman Empire transitioned into the Medieval Feudal states that we know today - this process of transition had always confused me, no matter how much I studied.
I especially enjoyed the part of the book that deals with the wars of Justinian against the Ostrogoths during the reconquest of Italy. I only had a vague understanding of how Belisarius and Narses fought against the Goths, and reading about the details of the sieges and battles was fascinating.
Prior to reading this book, I ignorantly thought that Totila was a Hun because his name sounds like Attila. Reading about the reign of Totila was interesting - it reinforced my vague understanding that kings like Odoacer and Theodoric were much better than the late Roman Emperors.
Finally, the book concludes with the history of the Visigoths. Although less tense and page turning than the section about the Byzantine Gothic Wars, this helped me understand the transition from Roman Empire to Medieval States. I wondered what happened to the Roman Latin speakers under the Gothic reign, and how they integrated with their new conquerers. This book very satisfactorily answered my question, at least in the case of Spain and France.
I recommend this book, but only to people who already have a strong understanding of late Roman history. People who don’t already know a lot will likely be unable to follow.
Most of my articles are book reviews, but I also write about many other topics.