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‘Yield, old name’

A monumental story lightly told
by
March 2021, no. 429
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Ravenna: Capital of empire, crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin

Allen Lane, $50 hb, 537 pp

‘Yield, old name’

A monumental story lightly told
by
March 2021, no. 429

Edward Gibbon’s great narrative of the fall of Rome still troubles the imagination. We see parallels between Rome’s decline and the eclipse of Western powers today, our fears intensified by a global pandemic, a failure of internationalism, and an increasingly fragmented public sphere. Our values and territories, we are told, are under threat, principally from China and the Islamic world, agents of disruption in our Western order. For Gibbon, the fall of Rome heralded a ‘tedious and uniform tale of weakness and misery’ without even the intrigue of ‘memorable crimes’. Our future, then, is to be both bleak and boring.

Michael Champion reviews 'Ravenna: Capital of empire, crucible of Europe' by Judith Herrin

Ravenna: Capital of empire, crucible of Europe

by Judith Herrin

Allen Lane, $50 hb, 537 pp

Buy this book

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