Why did Rome Fall? – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 38 Part 3

Ruins of Ancient RomeAt the end of Volume 3 of Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Gibbon is in a reflective mood. It feels very much like he is intending on finishing his story here with the end of the Roman Empire in the West as a legal entity.  In fact I think that is exactly what his intentions were.  This is how he puts it. Continue reading

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Reign and Conversion of Clovis – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 38 Part 1

Reign of Clovis

 

Hi, this is the History Books Review and I am Colin Sanders, currently engaged on mopping up operations.  We have seen that the last Roman emperor had been removed by Odoacer in Italy, and in this episode we follow the ramifications to Roman Gaul in Chapter 38 Part 1 of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Continue reading

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Reasons To Vote UKIP – From An Historical Perspective

UKIPGeorge Bernard Shaw once said something along the lines that it is possible for a small and determined group of people to change the world.  And that in fact, this was the only thing that ever did change the world.  He was right, but that doesn’t take away from the courage and energy it requires to start a political party from scratch in a system that punishes third parties let alone non-existent ones. Continue reading

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Reasons To Vote Liberal Democrat – From An Historical Perspective

Liberal_Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have a heritage that comes from the nineteenth century Liberal Party, with its great legacy of reform and from the Labour Party, via the Social Democrat party.  They probably don’t get a lot of credit from current voters for the 1831 Great Reform Act, but its is not a bad thing to have a link to historical achievements of such a great magnitude. Continue reading

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Reasons To Vote SNP – From An Historical Perspective

Scottish_National_Party

I won’t be voting SNP for the very good reason that I am not Scottish and don’t live in Scotland.  For the same reason, I was tempted to leave the SNP out of this series.  But if the SNP win a lot of seats in Scotland and no other party gets a majority in the Commons, it is not inconceivable that the SNP would be the kingmakers.  So how do I feel about that? Continue reading

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Reasons to Vote Labour – From An Historical Perspective

Labour_Party

No party in Britain has a more romantic history than the Labour Party.  It is a thread in British society that goes back to the Diggers and the Levellers of the Civil War, continues through the struggles of the Trade Unionists and the Chartists and in which the founding of a socialist party to represent working people is the culmination of centuries of idealism.  It is a story that no PR man could invent and which only the hardest of hearts could not find some sympathy with. Continue reading

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History Books Review General Election 2015 Coverage

UK General Election 2015

The UK will be electing a new government in May of this year, and the coverage is already extensive.  The media always give elections far more coverage than most of us want in terms of volume.  However I always feel that we don’t get much in terms of depth. The party machines are adept at manipulating the media to set the agenda the way they want it.  The media themselves have a vested interest in making it into a story.  Between the two of them we geta very distorted view of what is going on and of what matters.  And in particular, both of them home in on the negative. Continue reading

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Reasons to Vote Green – From An Historical Perspective

green party

The ice cap at the North Pole melted, and you were worrying about the budget deficit?  Sea levels rose around the world and you were bothered about bankers’ bonuses?  The world’s food supply failed to keep up with population growth and you were focused on immigration controls?  How are future generations going to look back on our obsessions.  Will our current pre-occupations seem as irrelevant to them as the medieval disputes over simony or transubstantiation? Continue reading

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Reasons To Vote Conservative – Historical Perspective

conservative partyThe Conservative Party’s origins go back ultimately to the royalists of the English Civil War – though the descent is not a linear one.  They have also acquired DNA from the Liberals with and without capital Ls and from intellectual influences like Edmund Burke.  They have always been about supporting the establishment, but have often done it in some highly creative and unexpected ways.  In particular they managed to play a large part in the creation of a mass democracy at the end of the nineteenth century and went on to become a mass party with a huge membership during the twentieth.  One might have thought that they were deliberately doing it to prove Marxist notions of class interest wrong.  But the strongest vein in the Conservative Party has always been pragmatism, and that is usually the best explanation for whatever it is the Tories happen to be up to. Continue reading

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Conversion of the Barbarians – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 37 Part 3

Conversion of the barbarians

 

It isn’t too hard to explain why Christianity became the predominant religion in the Roman Empire.  It was well organised.  It provided social security at a time of great insecurity.  It also had all the coercive power of the state behind it.   But how did the conversion of the barbarians make such inroads into the German tribes? Continue reading

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