Combining a fresh analysis of the archaeological evidence with the traditional historical accounts, Neil Faulkner presents a new interpretation of the decline and fall of Roman Britain.
The original conquest of Britain was one of the last successes of Roman military imperialism, whereas the Romans' repeated failures on the north British frontier shows the limits of this system. A new order became established in Britain: a centralised, military-bureaucratic state, governed by a class of super-rich landlords and apparatchiks, who siphoned wealth out of the provinces to defend the frontier. As a result the towns declined and the countryside was depressed.
This process of decline led to the great military crisis of the last fourth century. The Roman imperial army, bled white by defeats on continental battlefields, withdrew its troops from Britain to defend the imperial heartlands, and the Romano-British elite succumbed to a combination of warlord power, barbarian attack an popular revolt. The study concludes by discussing the legacy of Roman's and the significance of the so-called 'Dark Ages'.