Monday, December 14, 2015

Terry Jones' Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira (2007)

Terry Jones' Barbarians: An Alternative Roman HistoryTerry Jones' Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History by Terry Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the a companion book to a BBC series of the same name, which I tried to watch on YouTube but the sound was all messed up (translated Japanese Godzilla messed up). The "companion-ness" of the book definitely shows; each chapter is sort of ham-handed and clunky, and there is some repetition between chapters that caused them not to flow (Stilicho is an example; he shows up in various places, but not in a seamless way). It's not a horrible book though, by any means; Jones and Ereira are exploring territory that I hadn't ever really read or thought about. The last chapters in particular were totally new to me (how the "barbarians" invented Roman Catholicism and the Papacy are the sub-sub title). A strange scent of melancholy wafts over the book too; it's that same twinge of sadness one gets when reading about the destruction of the library at Alexandria: it's a sad thing that the Romans for millenia got all the glory when they often didn't deserve it, and sad the so called Barbarians got pulled off the world stage by a hook, sometimes so completely nothing remains but a few artifacts. So much we don't know, but luckily for us, Jones and Ereira are around to fill in at least some of the gaps.


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