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Constantius III (Hardback)

Rome's Lost Hope

Ancient History Rome Biographies

By Ian Hughes
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526700247
Published: 3rd November 2021


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Constantius is an important, but almost forgotten, figure. He came to the fore in or around 410 when he was appointed Magister Militum (Master of Troops) to Honorius, the young Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. His predecessor, Stilicho, had been murdered by his own troops and much of Gaul and Hispania had been overrun by barbarians or usurpers.

One by one Constantius eliminated the usurpers and defeated or came to terms with the various invading groups. Most notoriously, he allowed the Visigoths to settle in Gaul in return for their help in defeating the Vandals and Alans who had seized parts of Hispania, a decision with far-reaching consequences.

Constantius married Honorius’ sister and was eventually proclaimed his co-emperor. However, the Eastern Roman Emperor, Honorius’ nephew, refused to accept his appointment and Constantius was preparing a military expedition to enforce this recognition when he died suddenly, having been emperor for just seven months. Ian Hughes considers his career, assessing his actions in the context of the difficult situation he inherited.

This is a good read, clearly laid out, and with an open and frank discussion of the (multiple) places where the historical record is unclear, contradictory, or otherwise unreliable, and the author's best judgement has been used. If you've an interest in the history of the decline of the western Roman empire, and the struggles to preserve it against that decline, it is well worth checking out.

NetGalley, Adam Windsor
 Ian Hughes

About Ian Hughes

A full-time author, Ian Hughes specializes in the military history of the late Roman Empire. He is the author of Belisarius: The Last Roman General (2009); Stilicho: the Vandal who saved Rome (2010); Aetius: Attila's Nemesis (2012); Imperial Brothers: Valentinian, Valens and the Disaster at Adrianople (2013); Patricians and Emperors (2015); Gaiseric: The Vandal Who Sacked Rome (2017) and Attila the Hun (2018). In his spare time he builds or restores electric guitars, plays football and historical wargames. He lives in South Yorkshire.

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While Gaiseric has not become a household name like other 'barbarian' leaders such as Attila or Genghis Khan, his sack of Rome in AD455 has made his tribe, the Vandals, synonymous with mindless destruction. Gaiseric, however, was no moronic thug, proving himself a highly skilful political and military leader and was one of the dominant forces in Western Mediterranean region for almost half a century. The book starts with a concise history of the Vandals before Gaiseric's reign and analyses the tactics and weaponry with which they carved a path across the Western Roman Empire to Spain. It was in…

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