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History of Decline of Roman Empire - Vol 3

Edward Gibbon

Book Overview: 

The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a major literary achievement of the 18th century published in six volumes, was written by the celebrated English historian Edward Gibbon.

The books cover the period of the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius, from just before 180 to 1453 and beyond, concluding in 1590. They take as their material the behavior and decisions that led to the decay and eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the East and West, offering an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell.

Gibbon is sometimes called the first “modern historian of ancient Rome.” By virtue of its mostly objective approach and highly accurate use of reference material, Gibbon’s work was adopted as a model for the methodologies of 19th and 20th century historians.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Bell. Gild. 415-423. The change of discipline allowed him to use indifferently the names of Legio Cohors, Manipulus. See Notitia Imperii, S. 38, 40.]

45 (return)
[ Orosius (l. vii. c. 36, p. 565) qualifies this account with an expression of doubt, (ut aiunt;) and it scarcely coincides with Zosimus, (l. v. p. 303.) Yet Claudian, after some declamation about Cadmus, soldiers, frankly owns that Stilicho sent a small army lest the rebels should fly, ne timeare times, (i. Cons. Stilich. l. i. 314 &c.)]

46 (return)
[ Claud. Rutil. Numatian. Itinerar. i. 439-448. He afterwards (515-526) mentions a religious madman on the Isle of Gorgona. For such profane remarks, Rutilius and his accomplices are styled, by his commentator, Barthius, rabiosi canes diaboli. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles com. xii. p. 471) more calmly observes, that the unbelieving poet praises where he means to censure.]

47 (return. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Let's be very clear about one thing: if you write English prose, and if you read a lot and care about English prose, you should read Gibbon. His sentences are perfect. Each is carefully weighted, pulling the reader through like a kind of perpetual motion machine; the syntax and the content are pe...more

It speaks to the genius of Gibbon, and the grandeur of this work, that there are no historians or social scientists who call themselves ‘Gibbonians’. There are Marxists, Freudians, Foucaultians; there are postcolonial theorists, gender theorists, post-structuralist theorists; there are positivist...more

Although Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece has a fearsome reputation, it’s surprisingly readable. Far from being the dry, dusty tome that you expect its absolutely loaded with what my friend Josh calls “18th-century aristocratic snark.” Some great examples: "The policy of the emperors and the senate, a...more

I love this book because:
it's great value for money - there is so much reading
Gibbon is not just a sublime historian, he is also an prototype psychologist, sociologist, and anthropologist.
His history is of the human condition and not just of Romans
Once you get used to the peculiar writing style y...more

This is a book that has grown on me. The first time I picked it up, I probably didn't make it past the tenth page. Now I'm halfway through volume 1 and totally hooked. I've found the section that I'm currently reading (about the early history of Christianity) a bit dull, but interesting: many of...more

It’s Gibbon. It’s definitive. It’s a titan of scholarship. As a reader I took a while to get into that baroque prose rhythm, but found the latter half of the volume very engaging.
He may Overly harsh on the role of Christianity, and has his major reasons for the decline scattered and tucked away...more

I promptly blew a fuse upon being sent an article on the relative barbarism of the Roman Empire in relation to Asian cultures of the same time. Some time later I realised I hadn't thought on the history of the Romans for some time and this book was well-recommended, so I put on the headphones and...more

Just too many footnotes...I'm reading a kobo version so the passages are constantly interrupted. I do not recommend reading an electronic version. Taking that into account, I've learned an immense amount about the end years of a grand era. I would have retained more knowledge if it didn't jump ar...more

Every Empire eventually falls. Given the largest modern Empire is the United States, it might behoove Americans to read this.

The epic series is a must read for historical buffs. The premise that Christianity played a large role in the collapse of the Roman Empire might not go over well, but the l...more

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