Written with the characteristic pugilistic vim that has become the hallmark of his recent publications, Peter Heather's latest book is a political and military history of the reign of Justinian. The central aim of the book is to interrogate previous assumptions that instability caused by Justinian's storied military campaigns, and the strain that these campaigns placed on eastern imperial resources, eventually caused both the reversal of his military successes and, ultimately, the downfall of the eastern provinces in the face of Muslim conquest (pp. 7–9). Thus, the book attempts to provide a balance sheet for the successes and failures of Justinian's reign, primarily by focusing on the effectiveness and overall impact...

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