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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1-3: Volumes 1, 2, 3 (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire #1)

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  377 ratings  ·  38 reviews
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the Bury Text, in a boxed set. Introduction by Hugh Trevor-Roper
Hardcover, 1788 pages
Published October 26th 1993 by Everyman's Library
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Edward Gibbon est un historien anglais de la seconde moitié du XVIIIème siècle. Il est célèbre pour son Histoire sur le déclin et la chute de l'empire romain, dont j'avais lu et apprécié une version abrégée. A cette époque, la question du déclin de Rome passionne l'Angleterre, surtout depuis que la guerre de sept ans l'a mise dans la situation d'un nouvel empire universel: comment durer? Quelles sont les erreurs à ne pas commettre, maintenant qu'on a subjugué presque la terre entière ? Le texte
The most astounding work of history ever written. The irony is great, the footnotes are hilarious. He never gets old. His greatest detractors are usually those who never could stomach 2,400 pages or more nor the healthy dose of footnotes. Those who have made the journey realize subtle differences creeping into their existence -- they begin slipping words like 'indolent' and 'flagitious' into memos and conversations or they construct sentences with a newfound reliance on the semicolon. I can pict ...more
Volume 1. Many years ago, I read a 800 or 900 page abridgment, and assumed I had "read" Gibbon. Not so. After reading the first volume, it's clear, you can't cram 6 books into 1 book. Just not the same thing. The author and his achievement are lost in such packaging. Oh, you'll get some good nuggets (Gibbon is great on those), but what you're losing is a true sense of the vastness of Rome, and its history.

And what of that history? The first volume. I'm not even going to try to describe in any de
I read this one summer while working as a temp during college, I found the set at a garage sale. My assignment, answering the phones (in a small closet made mostly of glass) at an advertising agency, was making me feel low and stupid so these books were my antidote. Who could make fun of a temp reading Gibbon?

As I recall I wound up with a little notebook full of lists of characters and family trees so that as I read along and forgot what had happened earlier I could refresh my memory. At times,
Bob Simon
May 16, 2012 Bob Simon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Momsen was a better historian, but Gibbon a better writer. Forget about historical accuracy and just enjoy the writing. I purchased the three volume Heritage Press edition, with Piranesi illustrations, when I was a young paratrooper. I carried at least one of the volumes in my field pack...a labor of intense love, as they are not light. The middle volume has dried blood on it from when I was injured and wouldn't part with it. I read and re-read...and then re-re-read. Open it to any volume.. to a ...more
Gibbon's Enlightenment era perspective tends to occlude the accuracy of historical account (as is often the case). What's funny is just how much critical flack this book has received for being inaccurate. In historical context, it may have something to do with Gibbon's ostensibly atheistic views regarding the rise of Christianity that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. He writes about religious zeal with the same indignant revulsion as Freud or Darwin later would. Gibbon does provide a melli ...more
I'm only on the second book of this series, but I think I've read enough to mention a point of caution to prospective buyers. Like all classics, "The Decline and Fall" is available in an untold number of editions and I would simply advise against buying the boxed set from Everyman's Library.

I'm going to confess that I bought this particular edition because it looked academic and gave me a warm smug feeling. Just open that plain green hardcover with golden lettering and thread bookmark, and try N
1680+ pages and I am now officially 1/2 done. 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 intere ...more
Susan Ames
Jan 02, 2009 Susan Ames is currently reading it
I have an old hardbound 7 volume copy of this "book" and have just finished book 3. I can only take it in small doses and frequently re-read sections because of the style of writing - 18th century English. But I will finish it, because it is an amazing chronicle of history that has affected us all for the last milennia. I wish I had read it sooner.
Frederick Jackson
Vol 3 on the thousand years of the Eastern Empire and its long list of eunoch emperors ets can put you to sleep. But his beautiful prose does not flag. Gibbon is wonderful, right to the last blast of Mehemts great cannon.
Adebayo Oyagbola
Fantastic imagery, the best writer of English ever!
Best ever. Words don't do it justice.
After finishing Volume I:

I picked up the first three volumes of the Everyman set when Borders closed its closest store, and decided to dig in as the capper of my "independent study" on Turkish history.

Gibbon's inimitable writing was a major draw, and it's proven true that his style and wit has pulled me along through chapters that might otherwise be heavy-sledding.

Gibbon's 18th century masterpiece (the first half of which was published before he was 40) sets out an epic tale of Rome's degenerat
Thus far, I'm really enjoying this. Gibbon's writing has such a far-sighted and sonorous tone. There's little I can say that I'm sure others haven't already said over the years, but still I can say that I am delighted to finally get round to this classic and to find it more enjoyable than I expected. The subject matter sounds dry, but Gibbon's observations about matters of privilege, power and the inexorable ravages of time on civilizations are all so pithy. Time upon time he makes a sweeping ge ...more
It took a while to slug through these three volumes of this masterpiece of history. Gibbon clearly sets the standard for historical academic writing, although these unabridged volumes are not for the casual reader. Although often dry, the footnotes are often humorous, suprisingly so. One definitely gets a good feel for how and why the Roman Empire, especially in the West, slid into decline. What was most interesting to me was the fact that the Western Empire didn't collapse quicker than it did. ...more
A classic work. One of the quotes from these volumes resonates with me still, as I observe the decline of the United States: "At the same time, when [the Roman Emperor] Decius was struggling with the violence of the tempest, his mind, calm and deliberate amidst the tumult of war, investigated the more general causes that, since the age of the Antonines, had so impetuously urged the decline of the Roman greatness. He soon discovered that it was impossible to replace that greatness on a permanent ...more
Drayton Alan
I enjoyed this history although I felt it went off on tangents in a few places.
Gibbon's work is well written, but so comprehensive that it was easy to get lost as soon as I lost focus and began reading other books. The final straw was his lengthy section on the early history of Christianity. Not that it wasn't interesting, but it felt like such a shift from his year by year history of Rome that I became totally lost. Someday I'll go back and try and tackle this again, preferably after I brush up on the history of the Empire in a more accessible, less detailed format.
I guess this is the standard popular accounting. not sure if it's correct in either its factual allegations or its conceptual conclusions. but the prose is great and it's a lot of fun arguing back at him.

as to facts & conclusions, i prefer to counter with GEM de. Ste. Croix's Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World.
Feb 27, 2008 Inder marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, europe
Update: My dad came to visit last night, and with his eagle eyes, this is the first thing he saw on my bookshelf. I admit, there is a nice coating of dust on them (and a bunch of porcelain dogs all around them) - I've just been looking at these gorgeous volumes and getting intimidated, but he says #1 is best anyway, so maybe I'll get started sooner rather than later?


I want to read this before I die. And I'll start small, with volumes 1-3.
Dirk Buken
Verfall und Untergang des Römischen Reiches habe ich während des Zivildienst gelesen. Es war eine Phase in der ich nicht wenig Zeit hatte.
Bedauerlicherweise habe ich die deutsche Übersetzung dem Original vorgezogen. Doch auch so war der Stil unverwechselbar und brilliant.
Es ist erstaunlich, dass ein Werk, das 300 Jahre alt ist, dennoch auch heute noch so kraftvoll erscheint.
Yes I read all 7, 8 if you count the notes and addendums. (old everymans library edition) Yes it took me a long time, 6 months. No I do not understand all of it as my Latin is barely conversational, but yes I see the similarities. I would recommend it to any aspiring polotician or milatary officer, the rest of us should remain blissfully ignorant.
David Johnson
As part of my Great Books reading for this year, I am reading chapter 15 & 16 regarding the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire.

Although doctrines have changed and the group as a whole has splintered, the Christian has not changed much since Roman times.
William Masero
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is up there with the very best of books written in English: King James Bible (English translation from Hebrew and Greek), the complete works of Shakespeare, and the complete works of Dickens. Nothing else comes remotely close.
I read the Folio Society Editions. It was great, but I should note that the final volumes exclude several footnotes as determined by the editor (the editor changed for later editions as the initial editor died while the editions were being prepared)
OK, to be honest I only read/heard the first 300+ pages, but by then the patterns of good emperor/bad emperor, corrupt Praetorian Guards and increasing Barabarian inroads were well established ;-)
Dec 18, 2008 Craig marked it as to-read
I bounced off this book 25 years ago, but I'm back in. Mainly to figure out just what about this magmum opus so annoyed Evelyn Waugh. Perhaps, a fool's errand.
Bookendsused Pefferly
Aug 10, 2012 Bookendsused Pefferly is currently reading it
It's interesting to read a work that is as old as the country I live in. I don't know how far I will get but I do like Gibbon's writing style.
Bill Tucker
This one is sapping my will to live! I like the voice with which Gibbon writes, but 400 pages at a time is plenty!
Sherrie L. Fuqua
Very difficult to read, even with already having a comfortable knowledge of Roman history.
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Edward Gibbon (8 May 1737 – 16 January 1794) was an English historian and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. The Decline and Fall is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organised religion.

Gibbon returned to England
More about Edward Gibbon...

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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (2 books)
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