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Stilicho: The Vandal Who Saved Rome Hardcover – August 12, 2010
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More About the Author
He worked as a garage mechanic and librarian before entering the Fitted Kitchen Industry. Leaving work to study full time, he attended Cardiff University. After gaining an MA in Ancient History and Society he became a teacher. Following the birth of his son he gave up teaching and became a writer.
For more information go to: http://www.ianhughesma.com/
Top Customer Reviews
I give this book 4 stars. 5 for content and 3 for presentation. I will deal with the negatives first. I personally did not like the way this book was organized. The book is arranged (generally) chronologically by chapter and within each chapter are numerous subheadings. For instance, a chapter dedicated to a particular event or campaign will have subchapters for each actor, the general political conditions, state of the army, etc. The problem with this approach is that at times the book reads as a disjointed series of essays. The constant back and forth between topic areas breaks up the narrative flow, and also results in the reader losing his/her place because the subchapters tend to wander from the main topic. Also, the book could use a little more editing, particularly with use of pronouns. Often when the book is discussing multiple events or actors within the same sentence or paragraph, too many pronouns are used so that it is hard to tell to which event/person the author is referring.
Now, the positives--which greatly outweigh any negatives.Read more ›
The core of this book is Stilicho's campaigns and the Roman military of the late Empire. In fact, the army is the real focus of this book. Hughes' simple explanations of the structure of the Late Imperial army are invaluable to students of this period. His use of Latin terms is indeed excessive, which is what I want as someone reading texts in Latin, although I appreciate that others won't. Since this seems to be for a more general audience he should probably cut down on them. An amusing thing about Hughes' books are the titles.Read more ›
Part of the problem is Hughes's writing style, which is plodding and repetitious at best, and ungrammatical at worst. Another reviewer has also noted the rather fragmentary way he presents his material. Characters make entrances and exits without ever springing to life. The big picture tends to get swallowed up in a mass of detail and speculation.
It is to the author's credit that he has thoroughly researched and thought about at least the political and military events of this difficult period and has assembled much information that has never appeared in one place before this. Unfortunately, the use he makes of the material is marred by carelessness. He seems obsessed by official titles, and clutters up many paragraphs with Latin versions that are all too often simply wrong: for example, the nonsense phrase "comes et utriusque militiae," which he insists on as Stilicho's title (p. 33). "Praefectus urbis" becomes "praefectus urbi" in places, and "praetorio" becomes "praetoriano". "Magister officiorum" is glossed as "personal secretary to the emperor"; in fact this was a powerful bureaucratic post with control over, among other things, the secret service and the arms factories.
Hughes refers to Arcadius as Stilicho's nephew; the emperor was actually a cousin by marriage.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this book very much. Having read quite a bit on Late Roman history I think this book gives a fresh perspective on Stilicho and his life. Read morePublished 1 month ago by H. D. D.
Ian Hughes paints a vivid picture of the life and time of Stilicho, as well as other lesser known Roman generals from the late empire - his book on Belesarius being my favorite.Published 6 months ago by Dan Boyd
Enjoying the book, but it gets really technical. Just want to hear about this man and what it was like for him under HonoriusPublished 8 months ago by Patricia Slate
Ian Hughes does a masterful job of piecing the scanty source material full of bias and religious overtone into a plausible realistic story. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jag Sulla
This book is a great read, revealing, in surprising detail, how the politics of the "Roman" Empire operated in the late 4th/ early 5th centuries. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Edward
I was really looking forward to this book. It was a topic and a period of history that I was interested in and wanted to know more about. Unfortunately, I didn't like this book. Read morePublished on October 20, 2013 by Michael Lapelosa
A good read and clarification of a few historical assumptions. It portrayed Stilicho's life in full detail, rising and falling on a grand landscape of changing political and... Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Cleve Littlewood
I read this book after reading the biography of Theodosius by Stephen Williams and Gerard Friell. As that book also devotes a third to Stilicho, I was first afraid that I wouldn't... Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by Marcel Dupasquier