The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I
Comments short for this volume. The sweep of the narrative I will represent below via Gibbon’s own chapter headers ; a story themselves.
First, a very turgid beginning to the volume. Foundation of Constantinople and other administrative necessities ; taxation, etc. Imagine that you were bored by the cetology chapters of Moby-Dick and then lengthen those chapters by a factor of six or seven. On with the s...more
I'm amused by Gibbon's dry tone and his brevity: the effect of this and his wit together is altogether refreshing (perhap...more
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 you will actually enjoy it. It takes only 20 pages to get into it.
It is impossible to believe that his insights are from so long ago because they are still so fresh.
I take a star off because he just goes...more
The first chapters are the best. The last ones...well, not so much except the parts on Diocletian. Nevertheless, I'd still recommend this as a reference for those who are interested in Roman Empire history. So many interesting tidbits and background i...more
It's Gibbon. He doesn't need me, because he's like Tacitus or Herodotus, or any of those other historians that you refer to by only one name. Men who wrote monumental tomes that everyone familiar with them acknowledges as masterpieces, but nobody has ever seems to want to read.
Still, I feel bad to own a book that I've not read, and t...more
One passage (out of a few) stuck out in my mind:
The authority of Plato and Aristotle, of Zeno and Epicurus, still reigned in...more
Page 446: "A candid but rational inquiry into the progress and establishment of Christianity, may be considered as a very essential part of the history of the Roman empire. While that great body was invaded by open violence, or undermined by slow decay, a pure and humble religion gently insinuated itself...more
Critics have noted that Gibbon squashes a vast sweep of history into the last two or three volumes, but my personal favourite is volume three. As I recall, this one traces the emperors, and Julian, in particular. He's the one...more
Gibbon's set the bar for modern historians by investing so much research into the subject. The first volume was published in 1776, and though we've added much to our knowledge of the past through discip...more
The 18th century was a wealth of knowledge, exploration and rapidly growing technology and expanding record-keeping made possible by advances in the printing press. In its determination to preserve the century of revolution, Gale initiated a revolution of its own: digitization of epic proportions to preserve these invaluable works in the largest archive of its kind. Now for the first time these high-quality digital copies of original 18th century manuscripts are available in print, making them
A mammoth of a read, but its always very interesting. To be facetious, I could probably summarize how the Roman Empire fell and declined in a few points:
1. Barbarian Invasions all fronts
2. Poor leadership and political strife among the senate and the Emperor
3. Disgruntled people no longer wanting to live under Roman rule
4. Going broke and lost lands from barbarian invasions - therefore, less tax revenue to fund expansion and armies
5. Division of the...more
I braced myself for something dry and slightly inaccessible, but to my delight, he weaves a story that is full of character and archetypes that careful readers will recognize from a variety of other media -- from careful Augustus to the monster Caligula to the brilliant Diocletian.
Despite reading warnings that Gibbon's language was...more
I enter this title as one of my very favorites. Glimpsing its length, its generic classics series binding, or perhaps a portrait of its 18th century English author on the spine, one might judge Decline and Fall as a dull and academic work. Not the case. Imagine the dry wit which reputedly characterizes British writing and self-expression. Gibbon's writing represents a distillation of that character, if not its...more
Gibbon returned to England...more