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The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire 2

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4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  397 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
"Its theme is the most overwhelming phenomenon in recorded history #151; the disintegration not of a nation, but of an old and rich and apparently indestructible civilization." #151;Moses Hadas, editor.
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Published (first published 1781)
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Lotz
As I’ve already written two panegyric reviews of Gibbon, I’ll keep this one short. In fact, I only want to say something briefly about prose style.

Anyone who peruses a few books on writing will notice some similarities. We are advised to write short sentences, to use simple words, and generally to be direct and terse. In On Writing, Stephen King urges the potential writer to entirely eschew adverbs. In On Writing Well, William Zinsser has this to say: “Among good writers it is the short sentence
...more
Justin Evans
Jul 03, 2014 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, the paradoxes of contemporary publishing: Gibbon is generally divided into three books, with two 'volumes' per book; here we have volumes three and four. That makes perfectly good sense, on the one hand, since six books would be very expensive and two books would each be unwieldy. However, due to that publishing decision, this book is broken backed: it combines the last volume of the first series. Volume three ends with Gibbon's 'General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the We ...more
Individualfrog
In this volume we find what, I assume, most people expect out of a book called "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire": waves of invasions by Goths, Huns, and Vandals, the city of Rome plundered, and the Western empire disintegrated. It's action-packed, although not always when or how you expect.

The beginning of the volume is dominated by Gibbon's favorite, the heroic Julian the Apostate, whose pointless but exciting campaign in Persia is related with uncharacteristic detail and thrills; the
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Alejandro Melo-Florián
Al terminar de leer este libro surge la sensación de haber pasado por una excitante aventura, que finalmente Gibbon termina de escribir en 1787, luego de casi 20 años de trabajo como él modestamente indica en su epílogo, donde prácticamente da una extensa vista panorámica a la cultura de occidente y la de oriente, con la perspectiva de los mogoles, un Islam en sus etapas tempranas y la formación de la cultura europea a partir de los restos de la conocida ciudad de Constantino, Constantinopla. No ...more
Stacy
Mar 06, 2016 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as sweeping or prosaic as the first volume, the second book focuses on the role of Christianity and Constantine as the first Christian emperor. Still, however, moments of beautiful prose and odd timeliness, given the state of religion in 2016.

“If we are more deeply affected by the ruin of a palace than by the conflagration of a cottage, our humanity must have formed a very erroneous estimate of the miseries of human life.”

“After he became master of the world, he unfortunately forgot, that w
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Kevin
Jul 30, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading history often pays off because it tells us as much about the time in which the work was written as it does about the period it is describing. Gibbon's "Decline and Fall..." is a great example of this historiographical value. The first two chapters of volume 2 are regarded as the ones in which he expresses a personal disdain for Christianity. Reading the chapters, I found it hard to discern anything that was insulting toward that faith - in fact, the case seemed much to the contrary. I de ...more
Radu-cristian Ionita
Although the author is one of the first which focuses on the history of the Late Roman Empire and does so with great insight, his approach on the history of the Byzantine Empire is deeply biased and therefore not suited for the specialist or the history buff who would like to learn more about this period and this state. He regards the Byzantine Empire as a creation of the malevolent, cowardly and effeminate Greeks who perverted the values promoted by the Roman Empire. He misses completely to ack ...more
Frank O'donnell
Still a strong narrative, although not quite of the same calibre as the first volume. Gibbon's exploration of early Christianity manages to maintain a veneer of an impartial recording of facts in the first volume, but it unnecessarily continues and descends here into an incoherent, almost whiny series of criticisms of every perceived internal inconsistency and compromise of the early religion, and also at the cost of narrative flow. This is also a level of mocking scrutiny that he fails to apply ...more
Carlos Burga
Sep 27, 2012 Carlos Burga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I continue to be impressed with Gibbon’s ability to relate what is quoted as the most numbing part of western history with a grace and grandeur that is not only engaging but intoxicating for the reader. Throughout this second volume, Gibbon is able to once again tell both sides of the story; that which the Christian posterity emphasizes and that which takes into account the Empire as a whole.
Throughout Gibbon’s description of the reign and posterity of Constantine, he is able to show not just C
...more
M Pereira
I wish I could have something profound to say about this book. But it's really long and there are so many details that just pass me by without really understanding it. I quite enjoy the way that Gibbon goes over many different aspects of Roman History. Particularly the role of Christianity, trade, military engagements and of course, Roman Britain.

My classics teacher (who looked and dressed like Indiana Jones) once quoted someone who taught him saying that Roman Britain is the arsehole end of an
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Tim Jollymore
Mar 08, 2016 Tim Jollymore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I have a few chapters left. I had to return the book, and I don't need the research for a while yet. Rather than pretend I'm currently reading, I am marking this as read.

The sections on the Christian and pagan persecutions which seemed to alternate from before the time of Constantine through the short reign of Julian were most helpful to me. The historical context of the Donatist and Arian heresies, so called, also helps frame the subject of my historical fiction, a novel concerning 4th Ce
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Mike Murray
May 09, 2016 Mike Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2016 Book # 25/35. More great info. In this volume, he used "notwithstanding" a lot less, and decided to go to town on the word "specious". I wouldn't call it fun, but the book is kind of fun. I just like reading (listening to) it, even if the info is again randomly organized. It hasn't gotten completely dull yet, so it's on to volume number three.
Garnette
Apr 25, 2016 Garnette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most controversial aspect of Gibbon's account is his treatment of Christianity. He notes that the Romans were generally tolerant of different religions, but the Christians were not. Christian condemnation of Roman paganism led to persecution of Christians, which was inconsistently applied in different places at different times. In any case, factionalism among Christians and accusations of heresy led to much greater violence and suffering. Gibbon's account of early Christianity highlighted ho ...more
Lindsey
He spent far too much time on the development of the Arian Heresy and what happened to Athanasius for my taste. Yeah, it's important for the empire, but not as important as he thinks. And before starting these, I never realized how much Gibbon associated the history of Christianity with the Roman Empire. They are intertwined, but we spent half the book on the Arian Heresy and Athanasius. More time was spent on them than any of the barbarian wars at the edge of the empire, than on the wars with P ...more
Bryan
Oct 14, 2013 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
My goal is to read 100 books this year. I thought about calling it halfway through this book and getting a new hobby. But I stopped, took stock and a deep breath, and finished it. I'm glad I did. This book is dense yet rewarding. The subject is interesting and Gibbon is a master story teller. All my heroes have read The Decline and Fall -Truman, Churchill, Richard Russell (notwithstanding his civil rights stance)- and I'm going to read it too. I can't give it anything less than 5 stars because i ...more
Alex Milledge
Dec 20, 2013 Alex Milledge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A long and arduous read, but I still think its interesting. In this book, the Roman Empire makes a transition to not being the true Western Roman Empire, and focused mainly on the eastern half, because the western half was no longer. I think that the end of western half of the empire was technically the end of the Roman Empire. Make your arguments and cast your bids on the Eastern half, but the Eastern half became the Byzantines after a while. I do not believe that Justinian could be considered ...more
Avi
May 19, 2015 Avi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm beginning to realize that a book about the "decline and fall" of the Roman Empire spends equal time discussing the Roman Empire and Christianity.
Alexis
Mar 03, 2015 Alexis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
6: well written, but not much of a page turner.
Joe
Oct 21, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another thousand pages from the end of the 4th century to the early 7th. The comparisons between Roman decline (with its Patrician classes willing to let the country go to the dogs whilst taking every opportunity to enrich themselves and secure placement, as the edifice crumbles around them) and our own era are too delicious to ignore. I particularly enjoy Gibbon’s scorn; he’s an 18th century man through and through.

Steve Gordon
Nov 17, 2012 Steve Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The obscure millions of a great empire have much less to dread from the cruelty than from the avarice of their masters, and their humble happiness is principally affected by the grievance of excessive taxes, which, gently pressing on the wealthy, descend with accelerated weight on the meaner and more indigent classes of society."
Steve
Jun 24, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another 800 years of human greatness and human folly, reason and superstition. There is no doubt that this is one of the true classics both of Western History and Literature. I should have read it 40 years ago, but I probably would not have appreciated or understood Gibbon at that point in my life. Now it is at the top of my list.
Roy
WOW finished it at last . It was a chore to get through but there is one more to go and I have to wait awhile to tackle it . In the meantime I will read another book , one with a bit less killing in it . Thanks
Galicius
Dec 30, 2012 Galicius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Barker
Feb 19, 2013 Phil Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look out, here come the Germans. And the Christians.
Walter Medenbach
This series is growing on me.
Kent
Jul 01, 2009 Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Not this edition, actually.
Wachlin007 Hotmail
Feb 21, 2008 Wachlin007 Hotmail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Same as for vol. 1
Callum
Callum marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2016
Rachel Holtz
Rachel Holtz marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2016
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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
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