A Roman historian chronicles Rome on the brink of collapse
Ammianus Marcellinus was the last great Roman historian, and his writings rank alongside those of Livy and Tacitus. The Later Roman Empire chronicles a period of twenty-five years during Marcellinus’ own lifetime, covering the reigns of Constantius, Julian, Jovian, Valentinian I, and Valens, and providing eyewitness accounts of significant military events including the Battle of Strasbourg and the Goth’s Revolt. Portraying a time of rapid and dramatic change, Marcellinus describes an Empire exhausted by excessive taxation, corruption, the financial ruin of the middle classes and the progressive decline in the morale of the army. In this magisterial depiction of the closing decades of the Roman Empire, we can see the seeds of events that were to lead to the fall of the city, just twenty years after Marcellinus’ death.