Restorer of the World: The Roman Emperor Aurelian By John F. White

This book is a cliche. Apparently everyone in the world, other than the Romans, were mindless barbarian savages. Who were evil. And terrorists.

The author's language intentionally dehumanises large swathes of different peoples, rendering them into unthinking zombie hordes with no distinct cultures, no motives, and no history.

When a Roman does something reprehensible, the author uses neutral wording and quickly moves on. Sometimes he can't help himself, and even praises them. When a non-Roman does the same, the author slows down and brings out words like 'savage' and 'wicked' to vividly bring barbarian caricatures to life.

Rome is assaulted by 'greedy' 'migrant hordes' sent by 'regimes' in the east.

There is no nuance, exploration or analysis of these existential threats. Just a shlocky read, unashamed of leaning on the unreliable Historia Augusta. Rife with opinionated tone, possibly the worst type of writing a historian can inflict on readers.

Never take authors like Adrian Goldsworthy for granted, folks. We are so fortunate to have writers like them. 1862272506 Es una biografía que empieza bien y se cae horrible a la mitad. Y se cae porque el libro es más largo de lo que debería: en lugar de circunscribirse a la vida de Aureliano termina abarcando los gobiernos de Tacitos, Probus, Carus y Diocleciano de una forma demasiado apresurada como para que valga la pena.

De igual forma, el autor no logra dar una narrativa coherente a los aspectos administrativos del reinado de Aureliano, aunque el aspecto de reconquista y reintegración del imperio sí está bien narrado.

El personaje de Aureliano es en si mismo interesante, pero no le recomendaría este libro a alguien que no sabe nada sobre ese emperador, justo por los problemas de narrativa histórica y organización. 1862272506 The book has two hundred pages, of which just over half are his biography. There is a twenty-page introduction (not counted in the two hundred pages) containing a detailed discussion and comparison of the past (ancient) histories written of Our Hero. The other ninety-five pages discuss the periods before and after. Rome was in big trouble then. The imperial electoral process was “assassination,” and rare was the man who died in bed. Barbarians were running loose all over the empire, and things were generally in a bad way. The author describes this and the emperors who preceded Aurelian. After Aurelian himself was dispatched (not dying in bed, and I hope that’s not a spoiler—well, it was for Aurelian), there are a number of pages recounting the careers of the emperors who followed.

Between Marcus Aurelius and Diocletian or Constantine, there is little known of the Roman emperors of the calamitous third century A.D. Aurelian was one of a trio who beat back the barbarians and brought some security in the latter portion of the century, the other two being Claudius Gothicus and Probus. I don’t think—don’t know, actually—the author is introducing much that is new; he is covering what earlier ancient writers wrote and evaluating their accuracy and motives. He examines the era’s coinage to get clues about economic prosperity and that seems to be fresh,if, to me, dry. I liked the coverage of Aurelian’s campaigns; he moved rapidly and employed some clever tactics in his victories.

It’s a thin volume when considering Aurelian’s career only. There isn’t much known about these short-reigned folks. But these later third-century emperors did accomplish the postponement of Rome’s fall for nearly two centuries. Even if this short bio is just a rehash of the ancients' (and Gibbon's) accounts, it serves well.

There are photographs in the middle of the book, and the author places his footnotes at the back of the book. The maps are fair, but could have better illustrated troop movements in Aurelian's campaign against Palmyra.
1862272506 This was quite a strange book. The crisis of the 3rd century is definitely one of the most difficult periods of Rome's history to write about due to the scarceness of sources. The sources that are available have been disregarded (in part or in full) as biased, unreliable or straight out wrong.

The author does a a good job of highlighting this and presents alternative views when there are such things.

The portrait painted of Aurelian is a stern; bordering on cruel man who wished to see Rome returned to the glory days he remembered from his youth. Despite his strictness, he imposed no standards on his countrymen that he himself could not live up to.

The accomplishments of this man in five years years are nothing short of incredible. Stitching back Gaul and Palmyra into the fold, while defending off almost every border from barbarian hordes, while putting down usurper emperors at the same time and reforming the army and stemming inflation. Without him the Roman empire would have fallen centuries earlier. The authors reference to him as a 'Danubian Superman' is well deserved.

Its a tragedy of this time period that so little information is available about his life.

However at times the author's extreme disdain for barbarian's seems to cloud his judgement, and jumps to some extreme conclusions at times.

More alarming is the sheer amount of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and incorrect names. On one page I counted three glaringly obvious spelling mistakes. He also refers to Emperor Justinian as 'Justiruan' and confuses Constantine XI with Constantine XIII (there was no such person).
Such blatant errors make me question the credibility of the rest of the book. 1862272506 A great book dealing with a little known period of the Roman Empire when it almost collapsed due to barbarian invasions and the self-proclaimed independence of the western and eastern provinces of the empire. The first two chapters of the book are about Aurelian's immediate predecessors, and particularly Gallienus, who is also an interesting but little known emperor. The book is also of interests to coin collectors as the author explains repeatedly when coins were minted for special occasions, when mints were closed and new ones opened, how the currency suffered from debasement and how Aurelian dealt with this monetary crisis. 1862272506

I first learned the name Aurelian from a YouTube video on the Gods and Generals channel. After that I spent a lot of time trying to learn about him. This excellent book has answered all the questions I had on him. It explored multiple prevailing theories on the emperor, and cleared up misinformation I had picked up from my own studies. If you are at all interested in Aurelian I can’t recommend this highly enough. 1862272506 Good piece of historical work

A very up to date and Historical ! The author has given a fair account of Aurelian with notes of verification! Accounts correct using logic ie as in knowing the dates of events based on last know written word versus time table of an armies day of March 1862272506 A very decent overview of Aurelian and the history of the 'third century crisis' both before and after his reign. A good place to start in trying to understand this tumultuous period. 1862272506 The author has made a book which follows the life of Emperor Aurelian. It follows him well and there is no significant problem in the narrative, for parts of his life that could have different paths they are all listed out for the reader while the author makes his arguments for them. There is also a small bit about the treatment of the Gallic Empire which I found enjoyable. Unfourtanetley, the author is horribly biased, he is a pro-Roman, Barbarian hating writer. His epilogue is mostly a lament of how the Barbarians bought an end to the Roman Empire and how much was lost from it. Not a very good end for a history book which should be unbiased. 1862272506

review Restorer of the World: The Roman Emperor Aurelian

The Roman Empire almost disintegrated in the 3rd Century AD, under the onslaught of barbarians and the defections of rebel governors, the general-emperor Aurelian restored the whole Roman world allowing the empire to survive just long enough for civilization to be salvaged after the Dark Ages. This is the first non-specialist book to be devoted to this extraordinary, yet little known, Roman emperor folowing his carrer from obscurity to savior of the Empire. The author's original research uses the most up-to-date interpretations of ancient literature and inscriptions to examine Aurelian's methods and achievements. Details of the little-described 3rd Century Roman army are also included, as are many photographs. Restorer of the World: The Roman Emperor Aurelian