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Empires of Oil: Corporate Oil in Barbarian Worlds by Duncan Clarke

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3Empires and oil

Edward Gibbon’s monumental study of the Roman Empire was published over 1776–88. It remains a classic study, though the interpretation of events has been much challenged and revised since. Gibbon provided a portrait of many aspects of ancient Rome, including the assault on the empire from within and without by an array of barbarian forces. These included the Vandals, Goths, Visigoths, Huns, Celts, Alans and the coalescing tribes drawn together from Germania.

The limitations of the long-enduring Roman Empire emerged in numerous, sometimes subtle, ways. They included military constraints, problems in co-opting the barbarians, periodic rebellions, divide-and-rule strategies with faulted alliances, the split of empire into western ...

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