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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, All 6 volumes plus Biography, Historiography and more. Over 8,000 Links (Illustrated)

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Includes all 6 volumes fully footnoted with over 8,000 hypertext links, active Table of Contents and more. Also includes: • Illustrated Biography of Andrew Gibbon • A History of the Publication • Modern Perspectives on the Decline (Illustrated) NO OTHER EDITION GIVES THIS MUCH! (and takes half the space) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction Includes all 6 volumes fully footnoted with over 8,000 hypertext links, active Table of Contents and more. Also includes: • Illustrated Biography of Andrew Gibbon • A History of the Publication • Modern Perspectives on the Decline (Illustrated) NO OTHER EDITION GIVES THIS MUCH! (and takes half the space) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome." • Volume 1: 1-The Extent Of The Empire In The Age Of The Antonines 2-The Internal Prosperity In The Age Of The Antonines 3-The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines 4-The Cruelty, Follies And Murder Of Commodus 5-Sale Of The Empire To Didius Julianus 6-Death Of Severus, Tyranny Of Caracalla, Usurpation Of Marcinus 7-Tyranny Of Maximin, Rebellion, Civil Wars, Death Of Maximin 8-State Of Persion And Restoration Of The Monarchy 9-State Of Germany Until The Barbarians 10-Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian And Gallienus 11-Reign Of Claudius, Defeat Of The Goths 12-Reigns Of Tacitus, Probus, Carus And His Sons 13-Reign Of Diocletian And This Three Associates 14-Six Emperors At The Same Time, Reunion Of The Empire 15-Progress Of The Christian Religion • Volume 2: 16-Conduct Towards The Christians, From Nero To Constantine 17-Foundation Of Constantinople etc. 18-Character Of Constantine And His Sons 19-Constantius Sole Emperor 20-Conversion Of Constantine 21-Persecution Of Heresy, State Of The Church 22-Julian Declared Emperor 23-Reign Of Julian 24-The Retreat And Death Of Julian 25-Reigns Of Jovian And Valentinian, Division Of The Empire 26-Progress of The Huns • Volume 3: 27-Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius 28-Destruction Of Paganism 29-Division Of Roman Empire Between Sons Of Theodosius 30-Revolt Of The Goths 31-Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians 32-Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II 33-Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals 34-Attila 35-Invasion By Attila 36-Total Extinction Of The Western Empire 37-Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity 38-Reign Of Clovis • Volume 4: 39-Gothic Kingdom Of Italy 40-Reign Of Justinian 41-Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius 42-State Of The Barbaric World 43-Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian 44-Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence 45-State Of Italy Under The Lombards 46-Troubles In Persia 47-Ecclesiastical Discord 48-Succession And Characters Of The Greek Emperors • Volume 5: 49-Conquest Of Italy By The Franks 50-Description Of Arabia And Its Inhabitants 51-Conquests By The Arabs 52-More Conquests By The Arabs 53-Fate Of The Eastern Empire 54-Origin And Doctrine


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Includes all 6 volumes fully footnoted with over 8,000 hypertext links, active Table of Contents and more. Also includes: • Illustrated Biography of Andrew Gibbon • A History of the Publication • Modern Perspectives on the Decline (Illustrated) NO OTHER EDITION GIVES THIS MUCH! (and takes half the space) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction Includes all 6 volumes fully footnoted with over 8,000 hypertext links, active Table of Contents and more. Also includes: • Illustrated Biography of Andrew Gibbon • A History of the Publication • Modern Perspectives on the Decline (Illustrated) NO OTHER EDITION GIVES THIS MUCH! (and takes half the space) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome." • Volume 1: 1-The Extent Of The Empire In The Age Of The Antonines 2-The Internal Prosperity In The Age Of The Antonines 3-The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines 4-The Cruelty, Follies And Murder Of Commodus 5-Sale Of The Empire To Didius Julianus 6-Death Of Severus, Tyranny Of Caracalla, Usurpation Of Marcinus 7-Tyranny Of Maximin, Rebellion, Civil Wars, Death Of Maximin 8-State Of Persion And Restoration Of The Monarchy 9-State Of Germany Until The Barbarians 10-Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian And Gallienus 11-Reign Of Claudius, Defeat Of The Goths 12-Reigns Of Tacitus, Probus, Carus And His Sons 13-Reign Of Diocletian And This Three Associates 14-Six Emperors At The Same Time, Reunion Of The Empire 15-Progress Of The Christian Religion • Volume 2: 16-Conduct Towards The Christians, From Nero To Constantine 17-Foundation Of Constantinople etc. 18-Character Of Constantine And His Sons 19-Constantius Sole Emperor 20-Conversion Of Constantine 21-Persecution Of Heresy, State Of The Church 22-Julian Declared Emperor 23-Reign Of Julian 24-The Retreat And Death Of Julian 25-Reigns Of Jovian And Valentinian, Division Of The Empire 26-Progress of The Huns • Volume 3: 27-Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius 28-Destruction Of Paganism 29-Division Of Roman Empire Between Sons Of Theodosius 30-Revolt Of The Goths 31-Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians 32-Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II 33-Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals 34-Attila 35-Invasion By Attila 36-Total Extinction Of The Western Empire 37-Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity 38-Reign Of Clovis • Volume 4: 39-Gothic Kingdom Of Italy 40-Reign Of Justinian 41-Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius 42-State Of The Barbaric World 43-Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian 44-Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence 45-State Of Italy Under The Lombards 46-Troubles In Persia 47-Ecclesiastical Discord 48-Succession And Characters Of The Greek Emperors • Volume 5: 49-Conquest Of Italy By The Franks 50-Description Of Arabia And Its Inhabitants 51-Conquests By The Arabs 52-More Conquests By The Arabs 53-Fate Of The Eastern Empire 54-Origin And Doctrine

30 review for History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, All 6 volumes plus Biography, Historiography and more. Over 8,000 Links (Illustrated)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “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 Empire Volumes 1 - 6 = 3589 pages, and I can't think of more 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, “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 Empire Volumes 1 - 6 = 3589 pages, and I can't think of more 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 rapine"; "rapine and oppression"; "violence and rapine"; "rapine and cruelty"; "rapine and torture"; "rapine and corruption"; "rapine and disregard"; "War, rapine, and freewill offerings" AND that is all just volume one. An important and interesting work, that moves with a quicker pace than its size or age would suggest. There was some drudgery with the minor, post Constantine emperors. I was also not as excited by the HRE sections as I was by the sections on the Rise of Islam, the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crusades. Those sections alone are why I rated the second half 5 stars and not 4. Anyway, a fantastic read. Ironic to finish it right after S&P lowers our national credit rating and our senators again fail to do anything productive.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tedb0t

    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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    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 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 version of Christianity. I hold him partially responsible for the inside-out version of religion you see in the modern Church of England (aka Anglicans, aka Episcopalians). All the supernatural has been bled right out of the thing. They are not Byzantines any more. I only read vols 1-3 but intend to finish the whole thing one day. Hey, half of Gibbon is still twice as long as anyone else!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon. It traces Western civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; Volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–1789. The six volumes cover the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon. It traces Western civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; Volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–1789. The six volumes cover the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire among other things. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و ششم ماه می سال 1975 میلادی عنوان: ان‍ح‍طاط و س‍ق‍وط ام‍پ‍رات‍وری روم؛ اثر: ادوارد گ‍ی‍ب‍ون؛ مترج‍م: اب‍وال‍ق‍اس‍م‌ طاه‍ری؛ نشر: ت‍ه‍ران، س‍ازم‍ان‌ ان‍ت‍ش‍ارات‌ و آم‍وزش‌ ان‍ق‍لاب‌ اس‍لام‍ی‌، 1370، در 623 ص‌؛ ن‍ق‍ش‍ه‌؛ چ‍اپ‌ نخست 1347، ک‍ت‍اب‍ه‍ای‌ جی‍ب‍ی‌؛ ف‍ران‍ک‍ل‍ی‍ن‌، یادداشت: ای‍ن‌ ک‍ت‍اب‌ را ب‍ا ت‍رج‍م‍ه‌ بانو ف‍رن‍گ‍ی‍س‌ ش‍ادم‍ان‌ (ن‍م‍ازی‌) ب‍ن‍گ‍اه‌ ت‍رج‍م‍ه‌ و ن‍ش‍ر ک‍ت‍اب‌ نیز در س‍ه‌ ج‍ل‍د،و در س‍ال‌های 1351 تا سال 1353 هجری خورشیدی م‍ن‍ت‍ش‍ر کرده‌ اس‍ت‌ کتاب «تاریخ انحطاط و سقوط امپراتوری روم»، یا: «انحطاط و سقوط امپراتوری روم:، کتابی تاریخی بنوشته ی: «ادوارد گیبون»، تاریخ‌نگار انگلیسی است، که به امپراتوری روم، از اواخر سده ی نخست میلادی، تا سقوط امپراتوری روم شرقی، می‌پردازد. نسخه اصلی کتاب در شش جلد منتشر شده‌ است. جلد نخست آن: در سال 1776 میلادی، جلدهای دوم و سوم: در سال 1781 میلادی، و جلدهای چهارم، پنجم و ششم: در سالهای 1788 میلادی و 1789 میلادی، منتشر شدند. این اثر به امپراتوری روم، اروپا، و کلیسای کاتولیک از سال 98 میلادی تا سال 1590 میلادی میپردازد و درباره ی انحطاط امپراتوری روم، در شرق و غرب، بحث می‌کند. به سبب عینیت اثر، و استفاده ی بسیار از منابع اولیه، روش‌شناسی به کار گرفته شده در این اثر، در آن زمان، مدلی برای تاریخ‌دانان بعدی شد، و «ادوارد گیبون» به «نخستین تاریخ نگار مدرن روم باستان» شهره شدند. ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    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 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 committed by man here recorded. After all, this was written by a man who considered history “little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.” Imagine an alien race picking up the capsule and deciphering our language. Imagine the looks on their faces (if they have faces) when they hear of the grotesque bunch of bipeds on the other side of the galaxy who do nothing but rape, pillage, and kill each other. Imagine this happens after our sun explodes or we blow ourselves up; this is the last utterance of an extinguished species. Would we want it to be this? Why not Don Quixote or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? On the other hand, intimately connected with this narrative of wickedness and stupidity, inextricably intertwined in the fabric of this book, is the genius of its author. Who could read a single page of this great book and not be humbled by the quality of his thought, the care of his method, the power of his prose? If ever there was a document that singlehandedly redeems all of the idiocy our race insistently indulges in, it’s this book. At least the aliens would know that one of us had a good head on our shoulders. It is impossible to discuss this work without its author. In perusing The Decline and Fall we find innumerable facets of Gibbon: the philosopher, the poet, the politician, the theologian, the strategist, the humanist, the public servant, the lawyer, the yellow journalist, the sage, (and the historian). But what we find, most of all, is Gibbon the lover of life. No man has ever loved more the variegated tapestry of human affairs—from the daily ritual of a serf to the greatest battles ever waged, from the planning of a palace to the marital squabbles of a prince. He will cast a glance at events large and small, weigh the facts with a disinterested hand, and with a knowing nod and amiable wink he will describe them in his inimitable prose. Gibbon views life like well-aged wine; he will take it in sips and draughts, savoring every strain in the flavor—from the musky, rotten odor to the sweet, honeyed tinge—and then discuss it with you at length. He is a connoisseur of life. Won’t you join him for a drink?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Szplug

    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 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 prose stylist in the English language after Shakespeare: even today, decades after that always-so-important first read, I still bear the scars—and leave lingering traces—of my hapless efforts to simulate the effortless erudition, sinuous sublimity, poetic polish, and mellifluous majesty of the supremely gifted Gibbon in my own comparatively shabby scribbling. If you read no other history of the Roman Empire besides this, you would still be impressively knowledgeable, especially about its (frequently deposed and/or murdered) ruler's fortunes, favorites, forays, fratricides, and follies, as well as the general impact on it of Christianity, both in its embryonic, defiant stages and after imperial mass-conversion—though it should be kept in mind that modern scholarship (see, for instance, Peter Heather's recent effort of propinquitous theme and rubric) challenges Gibbon's assignation of primacy to it in undermining the imperial structure. I always recommend reading the unabridged version—how dare they slice up Gibbon's beautiful prose painting!—as the Englishman's musings on the empire's Byzantine stepchild—and its melancholy, lingering efforts to clutch and hold the eastern provinces in seesaw struggle against Slav, Arab, Crusader, and Turk—is well worth the extra pound or two of paper and potential ligament damage.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Loring Wirbel

    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 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 defies attempts to hone it down. Is the language stilted and occasionally hard to follow? Sure. The first three volumes were released in 1776, and the last three in 1787. Not only are the sentences convoluted and overextended in a manner far greater than 19th-century writers like Dickens, but Gibbon is inclined to use quaint, silly, and occasionally racist terms that were common in his era. Notions that racial characteristics could be determined by the latitudinal source of an indigenous people's homeland, or that a national culture could be described as "effeminate," have to be taken with an understanding of the limited intelligence of Western philosophers 250 years ago. But let's remind ourselves of what Gibbon really accomplished. Without the benefits of online inquiries or Wikipedia, without the easy ability to travel that some historians take for granted, Gibbon did far more than compile a history of the Western Roman empire from the time of Commodius to the collapse of Rome in the 470s, as well as the companion history of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) empire from 325 AD to 1453 AD. On the way, he compiles histories of Christianity (heresies as well as Catholic and Eastern Orthodoxies), Islam (Sunni and Shia), and a host of "barbarian" and tribal cultures such as Franks, Goths, Suevi, Huns, Vandals, Persian (Sassanid and beyond), khanates, Timurid, and every imaginable iteration thereof. Gibbon tells history as it should be told - as a flow of peoples across a landscape, not as a collection of static dates and personages to be memorized in history class (though, truth be told, it would be useful for him to include a few more dates than the years placed in the margins of each page). It deserves mention that the Catholic Church proscribed this book for more than 200 years, and not only or primarily because of how cruel Gibbon was to the Catholic Church (I for one would call him "cruel but fair," and he often bent over backward to make the case for orthodox interpretations of Christianity). Instead, the main reason the Catholic Church attacked Gibbon is because he described events that really happened. At several points in the last 1700 years, the Catholic Church has tried to claim that certain events in its attacks on heresy, and certain fights between popes and anti-popes, never happened. Gibbon will have none of that, nor will be accept the events in the lives of the saints as being wholly truthful. When he demanded fact-checking on claims of the Catholic Church, it is no wonder the church hierarchy wanted him banned. Many suggest that Gibbon worked with more care on the first three volumes covering the Western Empire than he did on the final three volumes. It's true that after the attempt by Emperor Justinian to re-take the Mediterranean, the narrative falters a bit. Some critics say that this is because Gibbon found the Greek Orthodox Byzantines to be less palatable than the traditional Romans. It's understandable he would have these feelings, because the Byzantine government and culture did not give rise to any great philosophers and historians, only treacherous rulers who would torture each other in odd lines of succession. After the ridiculous wars of iconoclasm in the eighth and ninth centuries, the rest of Byzantine history was just a slow ride down to the day in the mid-15th century when Constantinople was finally conquered by Ottoman Muslims. But Gibbon's problems in the final three volumes were really ones of organization. Perhaps because he didn't want to confuse the readers with the strange succession of emperors, Gibbon groups capsule histories of the emperors early on, then goes back to talk about Islam's spread, the schisms between Orthodox and Catholic churches, the meaning of the steppe-warrior invasions (both Zingis Khan and Timur), and even some odd chapters on Roman civil uprisings. There are times in the last two volumes of the history that the reader has to focus to keep the narrative train on the tracks. And the modern reader always must keep access to Wikipedia handy, because Gibbon rattles off some names tangentially that must be looked up and appraised merely to understand the point he is trying to make. But as challenging as Gibbon's own idiosyncracies are, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire deserves its reputation as the most significant work of history ever accomplished by a single author in the last 500 years. The personality that comes through in the writing shows us that this multi-volume study was not written by committee. Yet the scope of what Gibbon did, writing in 1776, seems far beyond what most modern historians could accomplish with the aid of electronic tools. Maybe Will and Ariel Durant's Civilization series deserves to be placed ahead of Gibbon's for that series' massive size and the equally exquisite writing. Yet the Durants were trying to describe global cultures and their histories in an open and free-flowing way. Gibbon was on a mission to tell a story that had no happy ending, and the reader morbidly follows as though this was the real-world Game of Thrones: the story inevitably will end badly for all concerned, yet we can't put the book(s) down.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    Reading parts of this again for work, and realised I never reviewed this absolutely massive book. One of the most fascinating (and distorted) works of history ever written, created by one of the most famous (and biased and opinionated) historians of all time. Full review to come.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    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 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 in a single term. This unique edition emphasizes elements ignored in all other abridgments—in particular the role of religion in the empire and the rise of Islam. audio 6 volumes g drive Will I ever get around to this? In the meantime I have found a film (which beats the faeces out of Gladiator) to entertain whilst I paint a yellow streak down my back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWEzp... 03:04:20 - - This film is called 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' deals with Marcus Aurelius 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD (from wiki): He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. ETA: there is a TV documentary series, not as classy by any means but beggars and choosers and all that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61g4B...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Randolph

    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 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 outside the empire. The western empire falling first while the eastern (Greek) Byzantine empire, under less external pressure, survives much longer. (Until their Roman Christian Crusader brothers came to sack them.) Gibbons details the whole ugly mess down to minute detail and doesn't leave anything out, from incest to slaughter. His narrative is lively and opinionated, full of both shock and humor. Read the whole damned thing, footnotes and all, not some abridged abomination. This is a literary work as much as a historical work. Anyone who needs an abject lesson on how the modern western world is going to go, should read these books. We're already in the age of bread and circuses.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Traveller

    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 more pertinent thoughts, please see the comment box below.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    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 more 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 more effectual aid of temporal and carnal weapons, and the church of St Sophia was occupied by a large body of the Imperial guards”(II.12) His balanced, Tacitean grammar adds irony. Every paragraph may be read as a comment on our contemporary politics, because Gibbon writes of character and social structure. Take hypocrisy. Might we not find current U.S. equivalents for Augustus’s “tender respect for a free constitution which he had destroyed.” Gibbon sums up Augustus: “His virtues, and even his vices, were artificial” (Bk I, p.63), I‘ve often quoted. With a cool head and cowardly disposition, Augustus preserved the names and forms of the ancient administration: “But such was the propensity of the Romans to servitude, that the [military] oath was voluntarily taken by the magistrates, the senators, and the equestrian order, till the homage of flattery was insensibly converted into an annual and solemn protestation of fidelity”(57). “The corruption of Roman manners would always supply flatterers eager to applaud” and this, our White House in 2017 may equal. Augustus was sensible that “mankind is governed by names,” that Rustan’s Persian offered no words for any form of government except absolute monarchy, while “king” had alarmed even Caesar’s adherents. For the next couple hundred years the military chose the emperor; however, after the generals stabbed Aurelian, they felt guilty and declined the purple. So did the Senate, putative selector, decline because of the military tradition. The result: an eight month interregnum, without sedition (275). During these centuries after Augustus, Christianity grew. “Our curiosity is prompted to inquire by what means the Christian faith obtained so remarkable a victory over the established religions of the earth.” One possible answer, convincing evidence of the doctrine itself, “But as truth and reason seldom find so favorable a reception in the world…we may be permitted to ask…what were the secondary causes of the rapid growth.” 1 Inflexible zeal, 2 future life, 3 pure morals, 4 supernatural gifts, say with languages. (I.XV.383 & 409) This, from the famous chapter XV on Christianity and Judaism, boiled down from a full volume. Continuing"On the Progress of Christianity," "It is a very ancient reproach, suggested by the ignorance or the malice of infidelity, that the Christians allured into their party the most atrocious criminals, who, as soon as they were touched by a sense of remorse, were easily persuaded to wash away, in the water of baptism, the guilt of their past conduct…" Sounds like the Evangelicals in U.S, Jimmy Swaggart, "I have sinned!" (1988). He relegates to a footnote a Catholic detail, on miracles that Bernard of Clairvaux assigned to everybody but himself, "In the long series of ecclesiastical history, does there exist a single instance of a saint asserting that he himself possessed the gift of miracles?" More generally, "The expulsion of demons from the bodies of those unhappy persons whom they had been permitted to torment was considered as a signal though ordinary triumph of religion…and the most convincing evidence of the truth of Christianity." As I learned in a seminar with Sander Gilman (then of Cornell Medical School), disease was conceived as entering from outside the body, and exiting--especially at night, in the case of madness (say, Malvolio's curative dark box in Twelfth Night). As for Judaism, "The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews…(and their congregation) united the law of Moses and the doctrine of Christ (called Nazarenes)." But in his rationalist admonitory style, "When the tides of the ocean and the course of the planets were suspended for the convenience of the Israelites; and when temporal rewards and punishments were the immediate consequences of their piety or disobedience, they perpetually relapsed into rebellion..and placed the idols of the nations in the sanctuary of Jehovah…." "In contradiction to every known principle of the human mind, that singular people seems to have yielded a stronger and more ready assent to the traditions of their remote ancestors than to the evidence of their own senses." Concluding his whole work, Gibbon lists, as he did with the attractions of Christianity, the causes of the Decline and Fall: Voila! Christianity is a principal cause. As for the increase of the public riches of the Church, members were urged to over-tithe “at the expense of their unfortunate children, who found themselves beggars because their parents had been saints”(425, noting Prudentius). Tertullian recommended Christians flee to avoid murdering, in military service, and also in civil administration. Christianity valued chastity, that some Virgins in Africa disdained flight, "permitted deacons to share their bed and gloried...in their unsullied purity." As for the six Vestal Virgins (their small round temple survives by the Tiber), "It was with the utmost difficulty that Rome could support the institution”(I.415). Emperors found imaginative ways to execute Christians (see my Lactantius rev); Nero, for example, besides crucifixion, sewed them in the skins of animals, had them devoured by dogs, or burnt as torches for a horse-race in Nero’s gardens (457). Writing on Theodosius, who in Constantinople suppressed my favorite Arianism, his daughter Galla Placida in Ravenna—where some Arian chapels still exist, showing Christ with a penis. Of course, Theodosius’s basilica is also there. Perhaps my favorite sentence in all Gibbon, the emperor’s excluding Arians from Hagia Sophia, as I began. Gibbon continually contrasts idealism and force, religion and murder. Toward the end, Gibbon assesses Mohammed, “an illiterate barbarian,” whose relative solitude attests his genius (Volume III, Ch L). Mohammed refused to perform miracles, but the Qu’ran itself, from an illiterate, has been seen as a miracle, though published posthumously. Gibbon makes the great point: “the most arduous conquests of Mohammed were those of his servant, his pupil, and his friend; since he presented himself as a prophet to those who were most conversant with his infirmities as a man”(III.93).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    From the perspective of the 21st century, this book is quite preposterous. Beginning in 98 AD with the consulship of Trajan in Rome, it finishes in 1493 with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Thus it starts in the Italian peninsula and finishes in the Middle East. The narrative runs from classical antiquity, passes through the middle ages and concludes in the Renaissance. The scope is too wide and the time frame is absurdly long. It is of course a remarkable work of scholarship. At From the perspective of the 21st century, this book is quite preposterous. Beginning in 98 AD with the consulship of Trajan in Rome, it finishes in 1493 with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Thus it starts in the Italian peninsula and finishes in the Middle East. The narrative runs from classical antiquity, passes through the middle ages and concludes in the Renaissance. The scope is too wide and the time frame is absurdly long. It is of course a remarkable work of scholarship. At the time Gibbon was writing in the 18th century none of the classical works had been translated into modern languages so Gibbon read everything in the original Greek or Latin versions. This is an exploit that has never and will never be repeated. Reading "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" is a hellish and a pointless slog.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Great Book Study

    This history was impressive. Gibbon has a beautiful writing style. He makes reading history (one of the most important histories of the world) so pleasant to read. I will have to reread this someday, and much more slowly. Here's a blurb from my review (on my blog): You have heard it said, "History repeats itself," and "One thing we learn from history is that no one learns from history." Well, we have no excuse for this, and that is why everyone should read it. Do not be intimidated because it is This history was impressive. Gibbon has a beautiful writing style. He makes reading history (one of the most important histories of the world) so pleasant to read. I will have to reread this someday, and much more slowly. Here's a blurb from my review (on my blog): You have heard it said, "History repeats itself," and "One thing we learn from history is that no one learns from history." Well, we have no excuse for this, and that is why everyone should read it. Do not be intimidated because it is history. This is essential history, well written. It is one of those works that makes you rethink the way you think about the history you have been taught. It forces you to put aside your own preconceived ideas, if only for a moment. And I cannot stress enough how beautifully well written it is. It is too bad that not all history is written this well. For the full review: https://greatbookstudy.blogspot.com/2...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aloke

    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 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 a civilization across a thousand years". He also comments that he "has included as much religious history as possible, and certainly more than enough to offend." Cheeky.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    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 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 think 'oh, it's refreshing how fair and balanced he is.' Basically, if you're the kind of person who thinks there are two (and only two) sides to every story, who also reads revisionist histories without understanding why the authors of said histories feel the need to 'revise,' and who thinks that anything that's been said more than twice deserves to be revised... you'll find this fair and balanced. If, on the other hand, you think that someone who comes to history with an absolute determination to read it through their own highly idiosyncratic beliefs (here- and I say this without knowing what Gibbon actually believed, so I might be wrong- classical republicanism, classical liberalism, and Voltaire-induced anti-clericalism) is likely to write from a skewed perspective... well, you might disagree with the idea that he's anything other than an extraordinarily, perhaps uniquely intelligent, well-read eighteenth century liberal. I should, though, have started with the breadth of the thing, which is fabulous. Even in abridgment, it's more wide-ranging than almost any history I've ever read. And I was particularly thankful for the editor's work: he included chapters from all the volumes, including a great chapter on the origins of Islam, and a speculative chapter linking 'Paulicianism' to the Cathars (no idea if this is at all accurate). On this basis, I'd far rather read the final volumes in full and skip the first one. I know most people would rather read about Rome than about medieval Europe, or the Eastern Empire, and so on. But I still can't work out why. So this has all the strengths and all the weaknesses of non-scholarly history, but is stronger and less weak than most of it. In the absence of statistical or archaeological research, the best thing you could do was read everything and try to weed out the facts from the legend, and Gibbon did that better than anyone. This is history as a moral discipline, in which you pick your heroes and your villains and then write (about individuals- groups are ipso facto villainous, except for heretics, merchants and intellectuals) accordingly; it's closer to Dante than historiography. That said, you will learn something; and if you're anything like me, you'll learn the most from the closing chapters.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rob Roy

    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!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shyam

    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 Gibbon I. 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 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 Gibbon I. 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 Nobel Prize for Literature; this being the only work of History to receive such an honour. (The edition linked is abridged, and although I strongly agree with Montaigne's view that "every abridgement of a good book is a foolish abridgement.", I would still recommend it; it is intelligently abridged, and beautifully produced. There are unabridged, multi-volume editions available.) To fill the gap between the reign of Julius Caesar, where Mommsen ends, and the reign of Marcus Aurelius, where Gibbon begins, you could read Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars, and part of the Lives of the Later Caesars. (If you would prefer to go more in-depth, add Appian and Tacitus after Suetonius. See below for more . . .) After Gibbon II.Thomas Hodgkin's The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire. Originally titled "Italy and her Invaders", and published 1880-1899 in 8 volumes. Beginning with the history of the Goths and Alaric's siege of Rome, it continues on with the Huns and Vandals, the Ostrogoths, Lombards, finally ending with the Franks and the crowning and death of Charlemagne down to 814 AD. It's very thoroughly researched (for it's time of course, just like Gibbon), and made even more impressive by the fact that he worked on it during his spare time as a Banker, working at a house that would eventually become Lloyds, which still exists to this day. (The edition linked is beautifully produced, illustrated throughout, and can be had for cheaper than regular hardback editions of the work, if, like me, you're lucky.) III. John Julius Norwich's Byzantium: The Early Centuries/The Apogee/The Decline And Fall. An excellent, accessible work opening with Constantine in 274 AD, and going down to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Great if you enjoyed reading about the Eastern Empire in Gibbon, and would like to learn more. __________ If, like me, you want to read primary sources of Roman History in a chronological fashion, before moving on to secondary sources (something I can recommend), here's a list of works that I can recommend. It's not exhaustive, but it contains all the major works providing a continuous, almost unbroken narrative, from the foundation of Rome in 753BC, down to the third-century AD, in primary sources. (Editions linked are translations I have read and can recommend; dates bracketed below are periods the works cover, not publication dates) Livy's Ab Urbe Condita or From the Foundation of the City (753-9 BC (!)) Books 1-10 & 21-45 are fully extant, with epitomes surviving of books 46-142 • Books I-V: The Early History of Rome (753-390BC) • Books VI-X: Rome's Italian Wars: Books 6-10 (389-293 BC) • Books XXI-XXX: The War with Hannibal: Books XXI-XXX of the History of Rome from its Foundation (218-202 BC) • Books: XXXI-XL: The Dawn of the Roman Empire: Books Thirty-One to Forty (201-179 BC) • V. Books XLI-XLV & the Epitomies of Books XLVI-CXLVII: Rome's Mediterranean Empire: Books 41-45 and the Periochae (178-9 BC) Polybius' The Histories (264-146 BC) Caesar's The Gallic War (58-51 BC) Caesar's The Civil War (49-48 BC) Appian's The Civil Wars (133-35 BC) Sallust's Catiline's War, The Jugurthine War, Histories (86-35 BC) Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars (100BC-96 AD) Tacitus' The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius and Nero (14-68 AD) Tacitus' The Histories (69-96 AD) Historia Augusta/Augustan History/ Lives of the Later Caesars: Lives of the Later Caesars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    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 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 provide an ironic commentary. This edition is beyond awful, dig up the full editions and avoid at all costs. Who allowed this butchery to exist?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lee Walker

    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). Furthermore 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. 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). Furthermore 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 very lively style which I find comforting. I have heard others complain that his language is too flowery, or even that it is hard to read. I disagree with both those contentions. Gibbon also peppers his narrative with many intriguing tidbits. For instance did you know the emperor Maximin was supposed to be 8 feet tall, could break a horse's thigh bone with a single punch, drank up to 7-8 gallons of wine in a day, and could eat 30-40 pounds of meat (also in a single day!) Exaggerations, no doubt. But fun to read. And Gibbon always gives his sources for these myriad factoids, so diligent readers may check the primary record for themselves.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Richard Epstein

    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. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Gibbon expressed the hope that his book would be read for two centuries.’ I first dipped into various volumes of this work in 1972, when I was studying Ancient History (Greek and Roman) at Launceston Matriculation College. I’d read it at the Launceston Library, initially as part of my search for different sources of information about the Roman Empire. No, I didn’t (then) read the entire six volumes. I didn’t have time. I was busy imagining my future, studying hard, wondering about possibilities. ‘Gibbon expressed the hope that his book would be read for two centuries.’ I first dipped into various volumes of this work in 1972, when I was studying Ancient History (Greek and Roman) at Launceston Matriculation College. I’d read it at the Launceston Library, initially as part of my search for different sources of information about the Roman Empire. No, I didn’t (then) read the entire six volumes. I didn’t have time. I was busy imagining my future, studying hard, wondering about possibilities. Now, 47 years later, I’ve read the work (the Folio Edition, in eight volumes). As I read, I remembered the idealistic teenager who first picked up those books. I remembered wondering about how history was written (and by whom) about the influences on historiography. In 1972 Edward Gibbon’s work sparked my interest in Byzantine history (not his intention I am sure, but I was ever contrary). Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was published between 1776 and 1789. It took him seventeen years to write. While Gibbon’s views on the fall of the Roman Empire may be challenged by some modern historians, the History was (and remains) a remarkable achievement. I love it for two reasons. Firstly, opening the pages takes me back some 47 years in my own life into a time of (seemingly) endless possibility and into worlds far more interesting than the one I then inhabited. Secondly, Gibbon’s footnotes add such value to the text. I read the History slowly, over a period of months. I could not have read it more quickly: I had both Gibbon’s journey and my own to undertake. And at the end, while I don’t completely agree that the Roman Empire failed solely because of its own weakness and the influence of Christianity, it makes sense in Gibbon’s worldview. Will I read it again? No. My journey is complete. But I am tempted to revisit the Greek side of Ancient History, with Thucydides and Herodotus. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    It did not take me as long to read this as it took Gibbon to write it but at times it felt like a backwards race for who will take longer. Part of the advantage of reading it is that I got it as an ebook from gutenberg.org. Part of the disadvantage is that it is an ebook that I owned so I could take as long as I needed. It also ran across the deadly experience of trying to read it on an app on a tablet instead of an ebook reader. During that phase, I rarely read as opening the tablet hurt my It did not take me as long to read this as it took Gibbon to write it but at times it felt like a backwards race for who will take longer. Part of the advantage of reading it is that I got it as an ebook from gutenberg.org. Part of the disadvantage is that it is an ebook that I owned so I could take as long as I needed. It also ran across the deadly experience of trying to read it on an app on a tablet instead of an ebook reader. During that phase, I rarely read as opening the tablet hurt my eyes. There was no night time setting available on tablets at that phase so it was always full light. Ow, ow, ow. I could set my e-reader app to comfortable levels, but I had to go through pain until it opened. I started reading in December 2011 and finished in September 2019. V.2, the longest time was 2012 to 2o15. That was the tablet time. The shortest was v. 3 at only 1 month. To the book itself. Gibbon's writing is what kept me reading this very, very long work. In spite of problems, his engaging style kept me intrigued. I had no idea the Roman Empire itself went on for so long nor that it actually split into two separate parts with the focus of the empire in the east. One of my challenges in reading the book was that I never knew "when" I was. Is it still 400 or have we progressed to 600? Part of the problem was the re-use of names common in Latin language based cultures. But the pattern we have today of Jr or III, IV, V was not used then (or by Gibbon) so which who is this. And rarely did Gibbon actually identify the years in which things happened.

  24. 5 out of 5

    James

    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 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 of it. Also, I am now fifty years old (soon to be fifty-one), and there are still a lot of major works I haven't gotten to yet. Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall seemed to me to be one of the most important. And now, we live in the internet age, a time when I can pick up my (relatively small) Nook device, link it to the incredibly useful site gutenberg dot org, download the entire six volume edition for free, and carry it around to read. What's more, I discovered an unabridged audio recording on archive dot org, read by someone who clearly loved the language and structure of it, and so I downloaded that as well to help me through long stretches of the work. You can say what you want about electronic readers, but I will tell you that it is much easier to carry a tablet than a large book, or in this case, several volumes of a very large work. I did get bogged down in the last thousand pages or so. Also, don't ask me detailed questions about Goth tribes or late emperors by name. BUT the experience of reading most of this magisterial (if somewhat flawed) work is stupendous, and one I intend to do again very soon. If nothing else, Gibbon is the master of sentence structure. He writes so well about such momentous things that you feel the weight of history, the consequences of bad actions, or the lack of actions--the apathy of empire, the all too literal resting on its laurels. I was carried through most of this by a compulsion to hear these sentences in my head. I often revisited sections twice while I read, savoring Gibbon's intense desire to dig deeply into strange Christian rituals. (He had a very Age of Enlightenment disdain for religion.) I *did not* read this because I thought that we are now living in the twilight of the American empire, even though the news every day here in 2016 would make any thinking person believe that. I also did not realize until I had done some more internet digging while reading that I am almost exactly the same age as Gibbon was when he finished The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In fact, the publication of the last three volumes was delayed so that they would coincide with his fifty-first birthday (see above). The internet again: I will say that I did do several searches while reading. At the same time, I started the work diligently reading footnotes as they came up (which was something of a pain given that the electronic edition sometimes interspersed them within the text), but eventually I gave up on that because there are really quite a lot of them, and while most were somewhat helpful, some weren't, and I felt myself losing momentum. And I will again mention the audio version I found online, which also skipped the footnotes. As someone who thinks a lot about writing and reading, I cannot recommend the experience of reading Gibbon highly enough. Yes, he was somewhat hampered by his many obsessions, which become quite obvious over the course of this work, but it is still so clearly monumental that to avoid it is to do yourself a disservice, especially if you are a native English speaker and reader. And I certainly intend to revisit it before I pass from this mortal coil.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Hammond

    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 more 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 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 more 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 come back to. I need to forge ahead and read about the Turks and Byzantium. Why do I spend my time on lesser books? Just thought to add this since Napier's Attila hf that I'm into at the moment reminds me it's 'still the greatest single work of history', and strike me down if I ever doubted that. In English, at any rate. His English, as you know by acquaintance or by legend, is that of a great writer. I was chuffed that Gibbon has a chapter in a book on epic in English that I have: The English Epic and its Background. E.M.W. Tillyard thought his project qualifies as an epic. You thought there was only Paradise Lost, didn't you? I enjoyed the Tillyard book, and there Gibbon stands as the last chapter, the last attempt at an English epic: "he could and did contemplate a work of history in the spirit in which poets had contemplated their epic poems." There are sentences I have by heart -- and as with poetry, the cadence helps with that. One is this on Zingis: The Catholic inquisitors of Europe, who defended nonsense by cruelty, might have been confounded by the example of a barbarian, who anticipated the lessons of philosophy and established by his laws a system of pure theism and perfect toleration. Open-minded chap, Edward Gibbon. Except, possibly, on Catholics. Indeed he's notoriously unfond of Christianity, and its part in history. And his writings on the barbarians, nowadays, can offend. Still, you don't see sentences like that on Zingis too often, even now. He's willing to admire the Zingises and the Attilas and others, and in the Tacitus tradition perhaps, see virtues in the lifestyles of Goths and Ostrogoths.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ahmet Cihat Toker

    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 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 written is rich and complete, as the language of today is not. 4. I find out how little I know. 5. I am inspired by the will and erudition which enabled Gibbon to complete a work of twenty-odd years. The guy stuck with things. I urge anyone who wants life on earth to really come alive for them to enjoy the beautiful ancestral ancient world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    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 Amazon and Goodreads 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 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 Amazon and Goodreads 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 page contains the proper complete set of this particular reissue. So, apart from that, no, I haven't read this 4,000-page thing yet. I made an aborted start several years ago and, noting Gibbon's heavy, florid, idiosyncratic style and evident adoration of his own long-windedness, I decided that I would tackle this on another occasion, or in another lifetime, whichever comes first. Also, as fulsome as he is (and, of course, in light of his own blind spots), Gibbon does not give me enough context for the entire history of Rome, starting as he does rather late in the empire's history. So, in lieu of that, I began to engage the wonderful history of Rome podcast of 179 episodes that Mike Duncan labored over for five years and which can be found on itunes and several other places online. I didn't finish that one either, but got pretty far along, and am dedicated to completing that series. ([email protected] 2016)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barce

    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 more 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 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 more 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 is insulting to even have to rate such a work of a disciplined, thorough writer who examines his topic with great perspicacity. The prose is lucid and each word is chosen to give the correct gravitas to each thought. Unfortunately, American civilization has so declined that there are very few who could read such a work and understand it, now. The footnotes are sometimes in German, French, Italian, Latin and ancient Greek - all languages debased for the finer currency of Chinese and English. For the barely literate and mob who find themselves forced to read this, the battle descriptions are entertaining.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    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 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 make you understand the motivation and human character of Aleric, the Gothic warlord; then he'll lead you on a profound and freethinking exploration of the universal truths behnd war and humman suffering. Absolutely spell-binding, and life-changing in its philosophical insight. It took me over 18 months to finish all 6 volumes, so it's an epic read, but I'm already looking forward to experiencing it again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I read this while I was working in Rome and it is truly the definitive text about the Roman Empire. If you are interested in the subject matter it is worth the pain of wading your way through this challenging but rewarding text. From the Age of the Antonines in 180 AD all the way to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Gibbon shows us the historical paradoxes of the Roman Empire and the decline of a golden age.

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