Rome was the center of the most powerful empire the world had ever seen, but that didn't stop it falling to Alaric the Goth, his horde of barbarian tribesmen and their wild spell-casting shamans. Having split the walls with their sorcery and slaughtered the inhabitants with their axes, the victors carved up the empire into a series of bickering states which were never more than an insult away from war.
A thousand years later, and Europe has become an almost civilized place. The rulers of the old Roman palatinates confine their warfare to the short summer months, trade flourishes along the rivers and roads, and farming has become less back-breaking, all due to the magic, bestowed by gods, that infuses daily life.
Even the barbarians' gods have been tamed: where once human sacrifices poured their blood onto the ground, there are parties and picnics, drinking and singing, fit for decent people and their children.
But it looks like the gods are going to have the last laugh before they slip quietly into ill-remembered obscurity...