Book

Failure of Empire

Noel Lenski

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780520233324
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233324.001.0001
Failure of Empire

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This book is a biography of the Roman emperor Valens and his troubled reign (A.D. 364–78). Valens will always be remembered for his spectacular defeat and death at the hands of the Goths in the Battle of Adrianople. By the time he was killed, Valens' empire had been coming apart for several years: the Goths had overrun the Balkans; Persians, Isaurians, and Saracens were threatening the east; the economy was in disarray; and pagans and Christians alike had been exiled, tortured, and executed in his religious persecutions. Valens had not, however, entirely failed in his job as emperor. He was an admirable administrator, a committed defender of the frontiers, and a ruler who showed remarkable sympathy for the needs of his subjects. The book incorporates a broad range of new material, from archaeology to Gothic and Armenian sources, in a study that illuminates the social, cultural, religious, economic, administrative, and military complexities of Valens' realm. The book offers a nuanced reconsideration of Valens the man and shows both how he applied his strengths to meet the expectations of his world and how he ultimately failed in his efforts to match limited capacities to limitless demands.

Keywords: Goths; Battle of Adrianople; Balkans; Persians; Isaurians; Saracens; pagans; Christians; religious persecution

Book.  470 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Failure of Empire

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Epilogue in Failure of Empire

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