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Edward Gibbon, born in 1.737, was the eldest of seven children and the only one to survive infancy. At the age of sixteen he was sent to Oxford, where he received, "neither instruction nor companionship", and complained about it to his father, who sent him to Lausanne in Switzerland. There he became a calvinist, and studied french and latin, greatly mastering both languages. He returned to England in 1758, serving in the army until 1763. After this, he travelled to Paris and Rome, where in October of 1.764,..."as I sat musing on the ruins of the Capitol....the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city, first started to my mind" . He returned to London and proceeded to submerge himself in the chronicles of Roman historians, many of which have fortunately reached us. Gibbon published the first part of this book in 1.776, and the last part in 1.787. The books reflect the author's passion on the subject matter, and his drive for objectivity, a trait which made him dig into every possible available record, a fact underscored by the huge number of footnotes in his book, (over 100 per chapter). His descriptions are extremely detailed, and, frequently, very entertaining, ranging from accounts of an emperor's personality , to observations on the most important crops in Syria, to comments on the nuances of the different early christian creeds, etc etc .He tells an absolutely fascinating story, and a real one , like no one has told it before or since. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, remains one of the master works of history. My objective is, not to provide reading pleasure, (which readers will certainly find in the book), but to facilitate an introduction, a quick first glimpse, to the magnificent and dramatic history of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire is at the root of all European nations, from Russia in the East, to Britain in the West; and from Scandinavia and Germany in the North to Spain, and of course Italy and Greece, in the south. We as Europeans, owe it to ourselves to know our history, and the Roman Empire is a common root, and a very important part of it . A I say, my summary cannot transmit the pleasure of reading Gibbon's wonderfully baroque prose, which I summarize from the two tome, 1982 University of Chicago edition of his book , (copyright Encyclopaedia Britannica). But hopefully, in its 70 pages, it transmits the essential core facts told in his work, in a format which facilitates retention, and future reference. The summary ends in chapter 45, which covers the fall of the Ravenna Exarchate in 575, as from then on Gibbon's book tells the history of Byzantium, which is no longer as relevant to a Western European,as the first part of his book.