Barbarism and Religion: Volume 3, The First Decline and Fall

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This major intervention from one of the world's leading historians, challenges the notion of any one 'Enlightenment' and posits instead a plurality of enlightenments, of which the English was one. The first two volumes of Barbarism and Religion were warmly and widely reviewed, and won the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History of the American Philosophical Society. In the third volume in the sequence, John Pocock presents a historical introduction to the first fourteen chapters of Gibbon's great work, recounting the end of the classical civilization Gibbon and his readers knew so much better than the worlds that followed.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is essential reading for students of the British Enlightenments, their rhetorical arts, their relations to antiquity and to French historical writing, and their complex religious and civic politics. The authority and comprehensiveness of Pocock's understanding of this episode of classical and Enlightenment historiography and the reach of his prose, intuitive and resonant, are evident throughout this study." Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

"Like Gibbon, [J.G.A. Pocock] is a truly enlightened historian, one who takes ideas seriously and who has no patience for those of our own age who would 'deny the reality of authors and the readability of texts.'" New York Times Book Review

"For the specialist, it is indispensable." New England Classical Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521824453
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Pages: 542
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.57 (d)

Meet the Author

J. G. A. Pocock is one of the world's leading historians of ideas, and is Harry C. Black Emeritus Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Prologue: 1. Gibbon's first volume: the problem of the Antonine moment; Part I. The First Decline and Fall: Ancient Perceptions: 2. Alibi quam Romae: the Tacitean narrative; 3. The Gracchan explanation: Appian of Alexandria and the unknown historian; 4. The construction of Christian empire; Part II. The Ambivalence and Survival of Christian Empire: 5. Orosius and Augustine: the formation of a Christian anti-history; 6. Otto of Freising and the two cities; 7. The historiography of the translatio imperii; Part III. The Humanist Construction of Decline and Fall: 8. Leonardo Bruni: from translatio to declinatio; 9. Flavio Biondo and the decades of decline; 10. Niccolo Machiavelli and the imperial republic; Part IV. Extensive Monarchy and Roman History: 11. Pedro Mexia: empire and monarchy; 12. History in the western monarchies: barbarism, law and republican survivals; 13. Lipsius and Harrington: the problem of arms in ancient and modern monarchy; Part V. Republic and Empire: The Enlightened Narrative: 14. European Enlightenment and the Machiavellian Moment; 15. The French narrative: I: Boussuet and Tillemont, II: Montesquieu and Beaufort; 16. The Scottish narrative: I: David Hume and Adam Smith, II: Adam Ferguson's history of the republic; Part VI. Gibbon and the Structure of Decline: 17. The Antonine moment; 18. The Severi and the disintegration of the principate; 19. The Illyrian recovery and the new monarchy; Epilogue; 20. The Constantinean moment.
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