The history of the fifth century is better known, and has been more thoroughly worked up than that of its successors. I have therefore treated it with comparative brevity, and omitted many of the details, which the reader may find in the works of Gibbon and Mn, Hodgkin. In fact, I originally intended to treat the dismemberment of the Empire by the Germans and the fortunes of the houses of Theodosius and Leo I. As a mere introduction to a history of the subsequent period. But I was carried further than I intended, and the result considerably exceeds the limits of an introduction, while it is something less than a co-ordinate part of the work. The dismemberment of the Empire by the Germans brings us into contact with the nations who dismembered it, and tempts a writer to stray into the domains which have been so fully surveyed by Dahn in his Konige der Germanen. I have been careful not to yield to this temptation I have avoided episodes and digressions; and have not concerned myself with tracing the doubtful antecedents of the various nations who settled in the Roman provinces. In fact, I have tried to trespass as little as possible on the field occupied by Dahn in Germany and by Mr. Hodgkin in England. Coming to the sixth century, my account of the reconquest of Italy by Belisarius and Narses is compressed; while I have narrated fully the Persian wars on the Euphrates and in Colchis. As far as I am aware, no complete account of the latter has ever been published in an English form, Gibbon's treatment being nothing more than a sketch; while as to the former, after the brilliant fourth volume of Mr. Hodgkin's Italy and her Invaders, one could not think of rewriting all the details. But, notwithstanding, a critic may charge me with want of proportion, and ask why I occupy considerable space with the details of wars, which, even for special historians.