The Roman Empire was the largest and most enduring of the ancient world. From its zenith under Augustus and Trajan in the first century AD to its decline and fall amidst the barbarian invasions of the fifth century, the Empire guarded and maintained a frontier that stretched for 5,000 kilometres, from Carlisle to Cologne, from Augsburg to Antioch, and from Aswan to the Atlantic.
Far from being at the periphery of the Roman world, the frontier played a crucial role in making and breaking emperors, creating vibrant and astonishingly diverse societies along its course which pulsed with energy while the centre became enfeebled and sluggish. This remarkable new book traces the course of those frontiers, visiting all its astonishing sites, from Hadrian's Wall in the north of Britain to the desert cities of Palmyra and Leptis Magna. It tells the fascinating stories of the men and women who lived and fought along it, from Alaric the Goth, who descended from the Danube to sack Rome in 410, to Zenobia the desert queen, who almost snatched the entire eastern provinces from Rome in the third century.
It is at their edges, in time and geographical extent, that societies reveal their true nature, constantly seeking to recreate and renew themselves. In this examination of the places that the mighty Roman Empire stopped expanding, Philip Parker reveals how and why the Empire endured for so long, as well as describing the rich and complex architectural and cultural legacy which it has bequeathed to us.
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Magnificent... The book is studded with astonishing facts - Scotland on Sunday
The Empire Stops Here is not only a history. It is also an engaging modern travelogue...an unexpectedly universal legacy of the empire - Financial Times
Philip Parker is the perfect combination of compelling narrative historian and observant travel writer. This is one of the liveliest works of ancient history I've ever read -
Intriguing...with this extraordinary book, [Parker] has raised a monument all of his own - Guardian
A blend of travelogue, classical history and archaeology. His quest through the imperial badlands of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa succeeds in throwing fresh light onto the story of Rome and its often lunatic fringes, while offering classically minded travellers a few fresh ideas for routes and discoveries of their own - Sunday Times
The book promotes itself as a 'groundbreaking mixture of travel and history' and Parker writes with confident fluency about both... Any lover of history will find something in it to fascinate them. Every page contains some gem of a fact that the author has lovingly unearthed. The patience, effort and research that have gone into The Empire Stops Here are awe-inspiring - Scotsman
Gives the readers a lucid account of the Empire's expansion - Contemporary Review
Parker has the tone of a dream Latin teacher, disciplined and wry, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the classical world - Guardian
About the Author
Philip Parker was born in Liverpool in 1965. As a publisher he ran the Times books list, including works on Ancient Civilizations and The Times History of the World. He has travelled widely in Europe, North and South America, North Africa, Asia and Australia. He lives in London with his partner and daughter.