In response to one public – and several private – requests, here are a few snippets from reviews of Belisarius and Stilicho:


“It is a good narrative / chronological history of this enigmatic figure Belisarius with an emphasis on analyzing the battles from a strategic / tactical point of view: in short a picture of Belisarius as a general.”

“There’s no getting away from it – this is a very informative book. Diagrams, maps, and illustrations are plentiful, almost making this a sourcebook on the period alone.”

“Hughes’s strengths as military historian are readily apparent in the diagrams and explanation of the battle of Callinicum … Chapters 6-11 are arguably the most interesting in the book. They trace the progress of Belisarius’s campaigns from his initial invasion of Africa in 533 A.D. to his recall back to Constantinople in 548 A.D. Hughes continues to shine in this part of the book in explanations of battles and strategic maneuvers. Among the highlights are his narratives of the Battle of Ad Decimum in 533 A.D. and the Battle of Rome in 537 A.D.”

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.10.08


“Hughes eloquently describes the details of this Roman life, and much more besides. His book is both a well-wrought, superbly researched biography and a thorough glimpse into the Roman world at the end of the Western Empire. Hughes deftly describes the cast of characters around Stilicho and the main events of his life, and in several excurses fleshes out his story with excellent details, as when describing the late Roman army and its opponents.”

Choice Mag (review at Pen and Sword)

“While this book is titled as a biography of Stilicho, it provides a very vivid depiction and thorough analysis of the turbulent times of the last era of Roman dominance. This book is a really good companion to many of the “why Rome fell” books because its level of detail. Hughes has a knack for pointing out and discussing from a “boots on the ground” perspective, what was actually happening during this time period. In so many other books of this era, the author is focused on grand macro trends and theories for why Rome fell, and a lot of the detail is overlooked. In other books so many names and battles are discussed that anyone without a sincere interest in the topic will get lost. Hughes does a great job of breathing life into the personalities of characters, detailing the ever changing personal alliances and political factors in operation, and discussing matters in enough detail that the reader understands what was actually happening.”

There is also a long, detailed review of ‘Stilicho’  that includes an aside about ‘Belisarius’ at Armarium Magnus


Writing this blog has reminded me of why I write about Late Antiquity.  It’s to share with others my deep interest in the period, in the hope that they join me.  With that in mind, I would like to thank those who have written such kind comments.

On the other hand, I’ve also had a bit of a surprise.  Obviously, I did a quick trawl of the net to find the reviews, only to discover that I am now included in the ‘Bibliography’ in Wikipedia’s article on Stilicho.  My book being used as a reference?  This is a very odd feeling.  I’m now going to have a cup of strong tea and a nice lie-down before I fall over in shock!