Terry Jones' Barbarians takes a completely fresh approach to Roman history. Not only does it offer us the chance to see the Romans from a non-Roman perspective, it also reveals that most of those written off by the Romans as uncivilized, savage and barbaric were in fact organized, motivated and intelligent groups of people, with no intentions of overthrowing Rome and plundering its Empire.
This original and fascinating study does away with the propaganda and opens our eyes to who really established the civilized world. Delving deep into history, Terry Jones and Alan Ereira uncover the impressive cultural and technological achievements of the Celts, Goths, Persians and Vandals.
In this paperback edition, Terry and Alan travel through 700 years of history on three continents, bringing wit, irreverence, passion and scholarship to transform our view of the legacy of the Roman Empire and the creation of the modern world.
In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, a member of the People's Front of Judea asks, "What have the Romans ever done for us?" (apart from, of course, the "sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health"). The director of that movie and now popular historian Jones (Who Murdered Chaucer?), along with Ereira (The People's England), now answer the question: a bit, but nowhere near as much as the barbarians did. Jones attempts to overturn the popular conception of the glorious Roman Empire, which he says is mostly propaganda, and claims that the barbarians a general term describing the tribes of western and northern Europe, as well as of the Middle East have for too long been slandered as "savages" by the allegedly more advanced and civilized Romans and their descendants. In fact, these assorted Celts, Vandals, Persians and Goths were technologically, economically and intellectually sophisticated, but were on the wrong side of history. While scholars will sniff at Jones's offhand humor, somewhat wide-eyed "revelations" which have been revealed before and tendency to believe the vastly exaggerated death tolls of the time (he relies on Plutarch's figure that Julius Caesar slaughtered a million Gauls, a virtually impossible feat), readers will go along for a most enjoyable ride and appreciate his fascinating tale of the barbarians' lost world. 24 pages of color photos, maps.