• Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome

  • A Study of Roman Military Policy and the Barbarians, Ca. 375-425 A.D.
  • By: Thomas S. Burns
  • Narrated by: Charles Craig
  • Length: 14 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Ancient History
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A major work on Roman policy toward the barbarians during one of the most exciting and challenging periods in the history of the Roman Empire, when barbarian soldiers became part of the forces defending the Roman frontier and gradually its rulers. By the close of these five decades, the Western Empire - hence Western Civilization - had changed forever.

A Selection of the History Book Club.

©1994 Thomas A. Burns (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

What listeners say about Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Bad narration

I am typically not picky about narration, but the narrator is pretty brutal in this one. I'm talking odd pauses in the middle of sentences, emphasis where it doesn't belong, etc. It's almost as if some sort of editing software was used that repeats common words/terms or something. I couldn't get past the first few chapters, so I can't really comment on the content of the book itself.

My advice - stay away from this one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great blend of narrative, historiography, analysis

**The entire book covers 50 years in detail. The author intends it to be read by people already familiar with the events and with the characters.
Some main arguments include:
- Theodosius did not settle the Goths under their own leaders in 382. He enrolled them in the Roman Army in small groups at a time as the Goths were defeated by their hunger.
-Alaric rebelled in order to fill a power vacuum in the Balkans left after the civil war of 394. His rebellion was not the rebellion of the Goths, it was the rebellion of a roman general bargaining for a position of power.
-Alaric does not plunder the Balkans because he is a legitimate Roman officer who has access to eastern supplies. Instead, Stilicho plunders the balkans because he is the invading army.
-Alaric's first invasion of Italy comes when Gainas transfers his province to the west to unleash Alaric onto Stilicho. He notices Stilicho is above the alps recruiting soldiers in preparation for war against him, so Alaric launches a preemptive strike against Italy.
-Alaric is defeated by Stilicho twice at Pollentia and Verona. Alaric becomes allied with Stilicho in his war against the East.
- Alaric is on the verge of attacking the usurper Constantine III when Stilicho is murdered. Upon Stilicho's death, Alaric invades Italy to bargain for high command. Honorius' court refuses because he was allied with the fallen Stilicho
-The Goths are first settled as foederati by Constantius III, in 418 under king wallia in Aquitaine. They fight rome's enemies in return for land.

I was happy to find this book because there are few academic audiobooks on Audible, and this is one of the only on audible that cover this period. The reader pronounces some names strangely, but it is not as bad as other comments allege.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Terrrrrible recording. Unlistenable.

What did you like best about Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome? What did you like least?

I tried listening to this for DAYS, but the narration is so unnatural and so chopped and clipped that I just had to return it. This is terrible. The pauses are barely there, and unnaturally short when they appear. The reader takes no time to separate one thought or paragraph from another, so you keep getting confused and needing to go back, and he reads so fast (and with a lot of grammatical inaccuracy) that it's hard to keep pace with all of the above.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Charles Craig?

Anyone. Else.

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Very poor naration

I loved the contents of the book, but the narrator is the worst I have encountered so far and by far. A decent text to speech program could have done as good or better.

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Beginning of the end for Rome

If you could sum up Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome in three words, what would they be?

Accurate, Historical, Detailed

What other book might you compare Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome to and why?

Emperor Valens
& the Barbarians

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to isolate just one.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Historical Decline of the Roman Empire

Any additional comments?

None

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story on Barbarians.

Takes an interesting look at a subject not often talked about in studies of the Roman Empire.