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The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. IV

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  119 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is Edward Gibbon's magnum opus, written and published over a 13-year period beginning in 1776. It not only chronicles the events of the downfall starting with the end of the rule of Marcus Aurelius, but proposes a theory as to why Rome collapsed: the populace, Gibbon theorizes, lost its moral fortitude, its militarist ...more
Paperback, 564 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1788)
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I own a five-volume edition of Gibbon from the 19th Century, inherited from some worthy on my paternal grandmother's side. It came from him to her, to my father, and to me, surviving multiple trips across the continent of America and being stuck in basement boxes several times. I must be the first to have read it entire, because some of the pages were uncut. I like to think it was waiting for me; it's appropriate to the scale of the book (a novel where, as Borges says, the protagonists are the n ...more
David Huff
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
My bucket list reading journey through 15 centuries of Roman history is well along now; 2/3 completed, to be precise. With this brief review I conclude Volume 4, with 2 more Volumes to follow. This project began last September 22nd and one of the many things I’ve learned is just how much small increments of time, spent in the car, or walking my dog, can add up and be put to good use (plus it makes my dog really smart!). Those are the two segments of my day when I listen to Gibbon, and I actually ...more
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Continuing the story after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Gibbon takes the opportunity to take the reader through the aftermath of fall of the western empire in Italy and the other regions of the western empire. Using the same powerfully descriptive style, Gibbon is able to give the reader a detailed, although not overwhelming, breakdown of the “barbarian” tribes that take over Italy, Gaul and Spain. This brief overview helped to dissuade some of the erroneous perceptions that some reader ...more
Phil Barker
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julian the apostate, division of the empire, Persians, Huns and Goths. It's not going well.

There's a lot I like. For example the wit. There's a description of one of Julian's military campaigns into Germany which ends with "After he had given peace to the Barbarians,.." And my favourite: a temple had been burnt down after some protests by Christians (Galilaeans) who claimed divine intercession "Julian was reduced to the alternative of believing either a crime or a miracle, he chose, without hesi
Seth Holler
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like the author, we lose ourselves in the romance of the wars of Belisarius.
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-history
Of all the volumes I've read so far, this is the one I found most difficult to read, partly from the fact that Byzantine history just doesn't appeal to me as much as the Western Roman Empire but also partly because Gibbon clearly doesn't like it either. The difference between him and me is that I don't mean that its not a worthwhile interest.Gibbon makes it quite plain in the last section of the volume that he only carried on his history past the 5th century to highlight how the decline of Byzan ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, history
William Butler Yeats wrote a fine poem “Sailing to Byzantium” in which he idealized the city. I wonder if he read this fourth volume. He probably would have picked another city name to fantasize about if he did.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the toughest of the volumes so far, as a reader. Much of the book tracked the evolution of roman jurisprudence, which makes for slower reading. The volume contains fantastic prose, as expected, but I started and finished other books while reading this volume. I needed a few breaks.

"Suicides are enumerated by Virgil among the unfortunate, rather than the guilty; and the poetical fables of the infernal shades could not seriously influence the faith or practice of mankind. But the precept
Dan Graser
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After describing in detail the last remnants of the Western Roman Empire, volume 4 (of 6) pivots to the East. However, before making that move, Gibbon does a wonderful job explaining the lay of the land towards the end of the 5th and beginning of the 6th century in Europe and Northern Africa and the competing factions of "barbarians," contained therein, now emboldened with the fall of Rome. A particularly interesting bit of commentary is found at the end of chapter 38 with his General Observatio ...more
Steve Gordon
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"But the subjects of the Byzantine empire, who assume and dishonor the names both of Greeks and Romans, present a dead uniformity of abject vices, which are neither softened by the weakness of humanity, nor animated by the vigor of memorable crimes." The highlight of this volume is the exploits of Belisarius in retaking much of the Roman world from the Goths and Vandals. Though what I find most intriguing so far in the work as a whole is how Christianity has been soaked in blood from its very be ...more
Scott Harris
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Justinian to the Greek emperors, this is a dense book that ranges in depth and span. Gibbon's coverage of this topic is thorough for his age and, though it betrays his historical and social biases, it is nevertheless a rigourous study of the times.
Mike Murray
2016 Book #27/35 This one was a little tougher to get through. Lots of stuff about religion, lots of eastern stuff, which I'm not as interested in reading about.
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M Pereira
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: byzantine, gibbon
I quite liked the byzantine insight
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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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