The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

by Edward Gibbon
3.1 36

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Overview

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

"Its theme is the most overwhelming phenomenon in recorded history — the disintegration not of a nation, but of an old and rich and apparently indestructible civilization." —Moses Hadas, editor.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940026658381
Publisher: Printed for T. Cadelland W. Davies [etc.]
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 871 KB

About the Author

Edward Gibbon was born in 1737 in Putney, England, and was the only child of his parents to survive infancy. Although his education was frequently interrupted by ill health, his knowledge was far-reaching. His brief career as an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, ended when he joined the Catholic Church. His father sent him to Lausanne, in Switzerland, where, while studying Greek and French for the next five years, he re-joined the Protestant Church. In 1761 he published his Essai sur l'étude de la Littérature; the English version appeared in 1764. Meanwhile, Gibbon served as a captain in the Hampshire Militia until 1763, when he returned to the Continent. It was while he was in Rome in 1764 that he first conceived the work that was eventually to become The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

In 1774, after the death of his father, Gibbon settled in London and was elected to Parliament where he sat for the next eight years, although he never once spoke in the Commons. He also took his place among the literary circles of London. The first volume of his famous History was published in 1776; it was highly praised for its learning and style but incurred some censure for its treatment of the early Christians. The second and third volumes appeared in 1781 and the final three, which were written in Lausanne, in 1788. He died while on a visit to his friend, Lord Sheffield, who posthumously edited Gibbon's autobiographical papers and published them in 1796.

David Womersley teaches at Jesus College, Oxford, and edited Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for Penguin Classics.

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The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This legendary work, which some consider the greatest history writing of all time, may strike potential readers as too intimidating to actually read, but resist that. Much more than the story of the Roman Empire from Augustus to 476 AD, it encompasses Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and some of outer Asia from ancient times through the whole of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Renaissance, and also tells much of the history of Christianity and Islam. Gibbon's justly famous prose style, with its combination of weightiness, good humor and perfect balance-- a kind of linguistic equivalent of the music of contemporaries Mozart and Haydn-- will rock you through all 3,000-plus pages/1,500-or-so years. Its old-fashioned emphasis on personal drama first, then ideas, makes it a surprisingly easy and compelling read, albeit long. Read some of it every day while reading other books on the side and you will be comfortably carried through the ages. (It took me about eight enjoyable months.) What the book does better than any work you're ever going to read is make you truly feel the rhythm and weight of that ongoing accumulation of time and our actions in it that we call history, and the way Gibbon balances these moments, from the highest attempts of consciousness in art and faith and government and law, to the lowest breakdowns of human violence, whether by the 'civilized' people or barbarians, gives the work its truth. That truth, plus its style, has made it a classic. Plus the sheer cinematic excitement of hurtling through the ages and passing Augustus, Constantine, Christ, Attila, Justinian, Mohammed, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, et al, in action, along with armies of lesser but still overwhelmingly vivid actors and actresses. Yes, modern scholarship has supplemented this work, especially in considering the economic reasons for Rome's decline, and you don't have to accept every one of Gibbon's judgments (for instance, blaming Christianity for an effeminate sapping of old Roman vigor), but today's historians can only dream of achieving his style and sweep. Warning: Don't read when young. You need to have lived some and read a lot and traveled some and thought a lot first. Second warning: While the book itself is five stars plus, the Penguin edition of it has real failings: An absolutely incredible complete absence of maps, republishing the inadequate original index, and above all else the infuriating and outrageous refusal of editor David Womersley to translate Gibbon's Latin, Greek and French footnotes, the most famous footnotes ever written, which make up (with the English footnotes) a volume of their own. By not doing so he has blacked out an important part of this great work. But the rest will amaze you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book needs some editing though
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unreadable bad scan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OCR errors
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although over two centuries old, Gibbon's narrative is still the definitive history of Rome and its collapse. The tale begins with the reigns of the Antonines and continues until the reigns of Constantine and Julian. Gibbon combines sweeping historical themese with minute but interesting anecdotes, tempering all with an Enlightenment view of the world. At times charming, at times shocking, Gibbon shows us the world of the Romans and uses them as a fable, a moral guide for our own lives. Certainly not outdated, endlessly fascinating, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all who wish to know both Rome and themselves better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No proof-reading whatsoever. Totally unreadable.
AKCITA More than 1 year ago
A miserable attempt at an e-book . So many errors you will feel you are translating it yourself.
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