The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long Edward Gibbon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire compresses thirteen turbulent

Instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long Edward Gibbon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire compresses thirteen turbulent centuries into an epic narrative shot through with insight, irony and incisive character analysis Sceptical about Christianity, sympathetic to the barbarian invaders and the Instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long Edward Gibbon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire compresses thirteen turbulent centuries into an epic narrative shot through with insight, irony and incisive character analysis Sceptical about Christianity, sympathetic to the barbarian invaders and the Byzantine Empire, constantly aware of how political leaders often achieve the exact opposite of what they intend, Gibbon was both alert to the broad pattern of events and significant revealing detail The first of the six volumes, published in 1776, was attacked for its enlightened views on politics, sexuality and religion, yet it was an immediate bestseller and widely acclaimed for the elegance of its prose Gripping, powerfully intelligent and wonderfully entertaining, this is among the greatest works of history in the English language and a literary masterpiece of its age.

  • ↠ The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ☆ Edward Gibbon David Womersley
    342 Edward Gibbon David Womersley
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  1. Edward Gibbon 8 May 1737 16 January 1794 was an English historian and Member of Parliament His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 The Decline and Fall is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organised religion.Gibbon returned to England in June 1765 His father died in 1770, and after tending to the estate, which was by no means in good condition, there remained quite enough for Gibbon to settle fashionably in London at 7 Bentinck Street, independent of financial concerns By February 1773, he was writing in earnest, but not without the occasional self imposed distraction He took to London society quite easily, joined the better social clubs, including Dr Johnson s Literary Club, and looked in from time to time on his friend Holroyd in Sussex He succeeded Oliver Goldsmith at the Royal Academy as professor in ancient history honorary but prestigious In late 1774, he was initiated a freemason of the Premier Grand Lodge of England And, perhaps least productively in that same year, he was returned to the House of Commons for Liskeard, Cornwall through the intervention of his relative and patron, Edward Eliot He became the archetypal back bencher, benignly mute and indifferent, his support of the Whig ministry invariably automatic Gibbon s indolence in that position, perhaps fully intentional, subtracted little from the progress of his writing.After several rewrites, with Gibbon often tempted to throw away the labours of seven years, the first volume of what would become his life s major achievement, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published on 17 February 1776 Through 1777, the reading public eagerly consumed three editions for which Gibbon was rewarded handsomely two thirds of the profits amounting to approximately 1,000 Biographer Leslie Stephen wrote that thereafter, His fame was as rapid as it has been lasting And as regards this first volume, Some warm praise from David Hume overpaid the labour of ten years Volumes II and III appeared on 1 March 1781, eventually rising to a level with the previous volume in general esteem Volume IV was finished in June 1784 the final two were completed during a second Lausanne sojourn September 1783 to August 1787 where Gibbon reunited with his friend Deyverdun in leisurely comfort By early 1787, he was straining for the goal and with great relief the project was finished in June Gibbon later wrote It was on the day, or rather the night, of 27 June 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer house in my garden I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.Volumes IV, V, and VI finally reached the press in May 1788, their publication having been delayed since March so it could coincide with a dinner party celebrating Gibbon s 51st birthday the 8th Mounting a bandwagon of praise for the later volumes were such contemporary luminaries as Adam Smith, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Lord Camden, and Horace Walpole Smith remarked that Gibbon s triumph had positioned him at the very head of Europe s literary tribe.

900 Reply to “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”

  1. The history of human civilization and society is basically a continuum of idiots, sociopaths, murderers and bores, punctuated by the occasional rational individual whose life is cut short by those very sociopaths that succeed him Gibbon s classic documents a tiny cross section of some of the most lamentably pathetic mistakes and awful personalities this doomed species has ever suffered Oh, how times have changed.

  2. the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireVolumes 1 6 3589 pages, and I can t think of than 200 that I would have preferred to have skipped Love Gibbon s sense of humor, his methodology, his hard bigotry towards the Huns, his soft bigotry towards the Christians, and his ability to find interesting nouns to link with rapine idleness, poverty, and rap [...]

  3. Well, it s not actually the last word on the Empire Gibbon hated the Byzantines, thought they were appallingly religious and ineluctably corrupt So he didn t have a good word to say on the Eastern Empire which lasted 1000 years after the fall of the Western Empire Modern historians have rehabilitated the Byzantines to a great extent.You have to give it up for Mr Gibbon and his grossly distended testicles he smuggled into the universities and libraries of the west a most refreshingly undermined v [...]

  4. I have a question that I think you might be able to help me with should we send this book into space You know, download it into a golden thumb drive or perhaps seal a nice leather bound set in a container strap it to a rocket, and let it float like the Voyager space probe for all of time There are weighty reasons for answering in either the positive or the negative Let us examine them.On the one hand, we have every abominable act, every imaginable vice, every imprudent lunacy able to be committe [...]

  5. I borrowed the first two volumes amongst my Dad s all time favourites from his study when I was around fourteen and my enduring fascination with the Roman Empire, and ancient history in general, most likely stems from a combination of the heady brews of Gibbon s and Tolkien s masterworks, which ignited within me a terrific thirst for mythology, legend, and history that has yet to be slaked As far as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is concerned, I believe that Gibbon is the greatest pros [...]

  6. Description Edward Gibbon s masterpiece, which narrates the history of the Roman Empire from the second century A.D to its collapse in the west in the fifth century and in the east in the fifteenth century, is widely considered the greatest work of history ever written This abridgment retains the full scope of the original, but in a breadth comparable to a novel Casual readers now have access to the full sweep of Gibbon s narrative, while instructors and students have a volume that can be read i [...]

  7. The obvious issue to address in reviewing the 3,500 page unabridged edition of Gibbon s masterpiece, is whether the maniacal effort to attack such a work could ever justify preferring it over a single volume abridged edition That is an easy call This work is occasionally tough, often exciting, but in every sense a necessity over any attempts to edit down Gibbon I tried the 1200 page Modern Library edition and found it fragmented and hard to follow, simply because Gibbon is telling a story that d [...]

  8. Classic treatment by the eminent historian Gibbon of not only the contributing factors to the fall of the Roman Empire, but a blow by blow account of the course of its decline.For pertinent thoughts, please see the comment box below.

  9. Best narrative history ever written Gibbon had so many fewer sources and tools than we have today, but his basic conclusions from the late 18th century information he had are still largely correct today.A weakened military and political state that relied heavily on barbarian mercenary soldiers for defense was doomed The different internal barbarian factions just served to divide the military and political and religious structures to a point to where they were easy pickin s from both inside and o [...]

  10. I m sure a whole book could be written just about the history of this book From the introduction of my abridged edition, edited by Mueller The present abridgment is hardly the first and will likely not remain the last Each age and each reader will find his or her own Gibbon We must first ask then why Gibbon s words should be abridged at all The short answer because there are so many of them For my own reference, Mueller s aim was to preserve the thread of the spectacle of the decline and fall of [...]

  11. Hard to know where to begin with this His much praised style Sure, it s better than most historians, but it still bears the scars of the eighteenth century in general, and eighteenth century self importance in particular Yes, there s the odd ironic gotcha, but I got the distinct impression that he was shooting fish in a barrel With a shotgun An automatic shotgun, like in a video game Compare, for instance, Swift he was hunting big game The ideology Only one kind of person could read this and thi [...]

  12. Gibbon s great, repeated subject magnificent, superior ideas reduced by human motives to narrow self aggrandising brutality Not all historians are ironists, and few can summarize albeit in compound paragraphs complex Christian beliefs in stark contrast to un Chrstian behavior need a Gibbon for current US politics don t see one but as the angels who protected the catholic cause were only visible to the eyes of faith, Theodosius prudently reinforced those heavenly legions with the effectual aid o [...]

  13. Ce livre rate les cinq toiles du fait de l usage d testablement r pandu consistant commercialiser des extraits d un ouvrage sous le titre de l int gral Gibbon, anglais du 18 me si cle, se mesure l histoire de la chute de l empire romain d occident, mais l o son pr d cesseur Montesquieu cherchait par des consid rations g n rales fustiger la vanit de la gloire militaire et faire l loge du commerce et du lib ralisme, Gibbon r dige un v ritable livre d histoire dans la lign e des ceux de l antiquit [...]

  14. Avoid this abridged edition of Gibbon s classic It is a huge disappointment to be being fully absorbed in the text and then groan as a cross is marked where a significant portion has been cut This is depressing and makes for a disjointed unsatisfying read But, that is not the worst crime of this edition Every single one of Gibbon s footnotes has been removed Some of his footnotes just give his sources which are important in themselves , but others comment on the text and continue it, and others [...]

  15. For those who hated to learn dates in history, read this, it will change your mind It covers 1200 years, and five volumes yet, only has two dates A masterpiece without doubt, but his subjectivity, and preference for western European history is evident He covers 300 years history of the Eastern Empire in one chapter This book is like an elephant You eat it one bite at a time I read two sections between each book I read Took me a year and a half, but I ate the elephant

  16. Truly grand in scope, in subject matter, in style Some conclusions sources are out of date, but it is still a joy to read.

  17. I want to tell you why I decided to read this original six volume edition now.The primary reason was that I had just finished revisiting Isaac Asimov s original Foundation trilogy early this year I thought, at first, to finally get to the other volumes, which I read back when they first appeared, but that was decades ago , and it occurred to me that I had never really settled down with Gibbon for any extended length of time Asimov s debt to Gibbon is much clearer to me now he never made a secret [...]

  18. I ll never find here my edition, which is a cute set of seven little hardbacks, 6 inches high, from 1904 I thought it would be charming to read this work in such old fashioned books I have to report that my bookmark is at p.476 of volume four That s well than halfway But that was the consistent read I ve dipped in, and the portions nearest to my heart say, on Attila and on Zingis as he calls him, and on other assorted barbarians Theodoric was a great story greatly told these I have dwelt on and [...]

  19. I have almost finished Volume 1 The first fourteen chapters were excellent Unfortunately chapter 15 drones on about Christianity, in a way that I don t find very compelling and normally I am not that averse to the history of religion Further the edition I have is edited by some religious nut job who, whenever the topic turns to religion, becomes very excited and starts inserting 10 times as many footnotes as he normally does.On the whole, however, I am very much enjoying this work Gibbon has a v [...]

  20. from Iggy Pop s essay on this book Here are just some of the ways I benefit 1 I feel a great comfort and relief knowing that there were others who lived and died and thought and fought so long ago I feel less tyrannized by the present day 2 I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system origins military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy I have gained perspective 3 The language in which the book is wr [...]

  21. Although the Empire teeters almost from the beginning, it takes a long time to fall It turns out the fall, if not the decline, was all the fault of Christianity And evil, thoroughly debauched emperors, like Gordion, Commodus, and Palpatine With Gibbon s assistance, they fall in the best prose possible I was going to insert a few of my favorite passages here, but there were about 6 volumes of them, so I desisted.

  22. I ll review this thoroughly the next time around, but for now, I would just like to direct anyone reading this to three excellent, long, epic works of truly Gibbonian proportions covering Roman History that they may wish to read both before, and after, Gibbon, as I did.Before GibbonI Theodor Mommsen s A History of Rome is a magisterial 5 volume work published 1854 1856, which begins with the founding of Rome in 753 BC and goes down to the reign of Julius Caesar This work helped Mommsen win the N [...]

  23. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon.J.B Bury reprint edition in 7 hardcover volumes ISBN 9780404028206 AMS Press, 1974 3,928 pages.This is the mint condition set that has been in my library for 30 years.Thanks to the hash that and have made of proper and sensible listing of this work on the website, I am having to move my previous listing to this page Somehow, the other page that listed the complete set now lists the item on that page as Volume V only This p [...]

  24. I started reading this tome in 1990 It was a gift from my mother, the only gift that I have truly valued, because it revealed to me the harshness and indifference of the world, that virtue and stoicism are a leader s better qualities, and that money is the corrupter of any body politic.This book has relevance to American politics than at any time in this Republic s 235 year history The central thesis is provocative Is moral education enough to stem the tide of political corruption In a way, it [...]

  25. If I could only have one book for the rest of my life, it would be this one And its extreme length is only part of the reason A true epic that combines stunning scholarship, storytelling, and philosophical insight If this were all fiction, it would still be one of the great masterpieces of English literature That fact that this is history is stunning beyond words In a typical chapter, Edward Gibbon will make you feel like you re standing on the walls of Rome as the Goths lay siege then he ll mak [...]

  26. Winston Churchill described reading The Decline and Fall best He writes I set out uponGibbon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and was immediately dominated both by the story and the style I devoured Gibbon I rode triumphantly through it from end to end and enjoyed it all Having spent so much time with Gibbon, and having had so much fun along the way, I find it hard to accept the ride is over Nevertheless, it is over Rome has fallen, and it fell spectacularly.

  27. The very best of histories It is telling that Mr Gibbon spent two decades of his life on these six volumes the research and the writing are both superior to most other works Though written in the latter half of the 18th century, The History of the Decline and Fall reads as if it was put to paper yesterday Mr Gibbon s timeless penmanship has created and destroyed reputations, for it should be kept in one s mind how much of today s view on some people was shaped by this original and thought provok [...]

  28. Nestorians, Arians and Ebionites Avars, Lombards and Dacians Visigoths and Ostrogoths, Belasarius, Barbarossa and Saladin, Bonniface and Baldwin, Trebizon and Nicaea there are enormous heaps of history here, each story full of drama and lessons for today But when you go through all six of these volumes, covering a millenium and a half of the Western world and some of the East, there isn t much time to dwell on specifics.Thus an audiobook The benefit ofthe format that you can power through the bo [...]

  29. The year 1776 was a year of immense significance manifested in the publication of three books documents, first in February with the first volume of Edward Gibbon s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, then in March with Adam Smith s Wealth of Nations, and finally in July with the Declaration of Independent not to mention Thomas Paine s Common Sense which was also published in January this year The density of important events in this year was by no means a historical coincidence the lasting [...]

  30. UPDATES BELOWIn his wonderful book, Cultural Amnesia, Clive James is not particularly kind to Gibbon While admitting that Decline and Fall should be read, he complains about Gibbon s baroque but perfectly balanced sentences They distract Gibbon s book, he says, inadvertently raises the question whether English prose style can be, or even should be, an end in itself The phrase cuts, but I m not sure in which direction, and one can t help but ask whether James, as a reader, encounters similar diff [...]

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