Spoiler alert! In the very first sentence of the Introduction, Ian Hughes mentions a shocking fact – the Western Roman Empire will fall! “Right. And I can save 15% on car insurance. Everybody knows that!”
However, as the author mentions several times throughout the book, everybody doesn’t know that. Or rather, everybody didn’t know that. The characters who appear in the book, who operated during the final forty years or so of the existence of the Western Roman Empire, didn’t know that. I’m glad he pointed this out, obvious though it may be. I felt a certain sense of, I don’t know, decay (?) while reading the book – like watching flowers lose their bloom and knowing that they will be short-lived. Likely I’m superimposing a sense of dread that the participants didn’t always or necessarily feel, not knowing the outcome as we do. But times were rather bleak, it seems, for the most part.
...continue to the full review of Patricians and Emperors: The Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire by Ian Hughes