Battle scene, with Romans fighting Goths

Welcome to ‘Hist119: The Fall of Rome’

The website is an important element of this course. It provides a guide to the organisation and contents of the course, an outline of useful reading material and, most important of all, introductions to the seminars. These seminar outlines provide, crucially, active links to the mandatory and recommended readings. These readings are housed for copyright reasons on a different part of the University Website, on the LUVLE site associated with the course, in the ‘Course Materials’ folder, but they should be downloaded and printed out by following the links given here. Students should begin by familiarising themselves with the contents of this website. For general matters concerning undergraduate studies you should refer to the History Department’s Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Dr Paul Hayward (Course Convenor).


A. Introduction

B. Reading

C. Seminar Topics and Worksheet Questions – these pages provide links to seminar readings.

  1. Introduction – What Happened to the Roman Empire?
  2. Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  3. The Early Twentieth Century – J. B. Bury and Tenney Frank
  4. Liberalism and the Roman Economy – M. I. Rostovtzeff and Henri Pirenne
  5. Marxism and Structuralism – Moses Finley and Michael Grant
  6. Rethinking the Barbarians I – Invaders or Settlers?
  7. Rethinking the Barbarians II – Ethnicity as a Political Stratagem
  8. Religious Revisionism – Peter Brown and the Invention of 'Late Antiquity'
  9. New Histories of Women, Sexuality and the Body
  10. Post-Modernism and the Rise of Christianity
  11. The Return of the ‘Fall of Rome’ – Peter Heather and Bryan Ward-Perkins
  12. Selecting and Evaluating Relevant Websites

D. Assignment Topics