Another review of Chris Wickham's Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000, this time by Allan Massie in the Scotsman:
In Italy, Spain and Gaul (which would become France) the Roman or Romanised elites adapted to the new regime, and served it. Continuity was also maintained by the Church, for all the Germanic tribes accepted Christianity. In these three countries, it was the incomers who lost their language, and came to speak a Latin tongue. (Gaulish – one of the group of what we call for convenience "Celtic" languages – had been superseded by Latin in the second century AD.)
In Britain, where The Empire's roots had never gone deep, Roman influence disappeared quickly. Though nobody now believes that the existing British inhabitants of England were either massacred or driven into Wales, nevertheless England was the only part of the Western Empire where a Germanic tongue prevailed, ousting both Latin and the native language. This happened though Wickham suggests that the ratio of Anglo-Saxon invaders to native Britains was no more than 1:10.
If the inheritance of Rome survived only patchily in the west, the Empire itself flourished in the East, with its capital in Constantinople. Not until the Arab invasions of the seventh century did it lose territory – its granary in Egypt, all the north African provinces, and what came to be called the Levant: Syria and Palestine. Increasingly Greek (though its inhabitants continued to call themselves Romans), it would nevertheless enjoy periods of resurgence and even expansion, surviving until the 15th century.