The Empire Stops Here is a majestic survey of the territorial limits of the Roman Empire, ‘lands that promised victory, booty and glory and yet so often left the bitter taste of compromise or defeat instead’. From Hadrian’s Wall in the North to desert outposts in the East, Phillip Parker’s informed and compelling argument is that an empire’s borders, temporal or geographic, provide the most telling reasons for both its success, and its stopping where it did. As Parker points out, in the final years of the Roman Empire the compromise mentality natural to border country led to far greater vitality along the periphery than in the rotten centre, which proved unable to adapt to a changing world. Parker is an experienced traveller, and The Empire Stops Here is also necessarily a travelogue, chronicling places and cultures through architectural and archaeological remains, and documenting them with ample photographic illustration.
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