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The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Vol. I

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,796 Ratings  ·  152 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
Hardcover, 536 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1776)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
As to Volume II of The History and Decline of the Roman Empire as provided us by Eduard Gibbon

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
Justin Evans
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-etc
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 perfectly matched. Certainly some constructions seem a little dated, but generally that makes me think that contemporary prose is impoverished, rather than that Gibbon's is overly difficult. Just as all We ...more
Bob Mayer
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 lack of religious tolerance definitely hurt the Romans. Religious tolerance had been a staple and helped greatly in both the expansion and maintenance of the Empire. You can take a lot of things from peop
Roy Lotz
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 positivists, anti-positivists, materialists, anti-materialists. But not a Gibbonian in the bunch.

This is because Gibbon’s extraordinary mind cannot be reduced to a simple formula. Many have tried—he was a militan
فهد الفهد
اضمحلال الإمبراطورية الرومانية وسقوطها

بحثت عن هذا الكتاب طويلاً، وقنعت أخيراً أن اقرأ الكترونياً هذه النسخة المختصرة منه، تقع النسخة التي كتبها إدوارد جيبون في ستة مجلدات، قام المؤرخ (دي. إم لو) باختصارها في ثلاثة مجلدات، حاذفاً الكثير من الفصول مشيراً في ملخص سريع إلى أهم ما تضمنته الفصول المحذوفة، وبقراءة الأجزاء الثلاثة لا أشعر بأي حسرة على المحذوف – ما خلا الفصول التي تتناول الفتوحات العربية -.

يتناول جيبون الفترة الإمبراطورية من التاريخ الروماني، فلذا كتابه يبدأ بعهد أوغسطس مع تمهيد عن الع
Bar Shirtcliff
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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 Nietzsche's complaints about Christianity seem to have been anticipated by Gibbon.

I'm amused by Gibbon's dry tone and his brevity: the effect of this and his wit together is altogether refreshing (perhap
You hear people refer to Gibbon's magisterial style for a reason--it is. The sentences just roll on and on. He had read everything about the period and for the most part selects and organizes the material very well (by which I mean that the history flows and makes sense; I don't know enough to know whether he selected a balanced and coherent subset of facts and events). But this isn't an endless recitation of facts. Gibbon assesses the people and explains their actions; he shares his reflections ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Jul 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've just finished Volume I, and II is up next. I would recommend against getting the version edited by H.H. Milman if at all possible, unless you like books that are edited by someone who thinks it's okay to mutilate someone else's work by adding a LOT more Christian nonsense to it. He even criticizes the author for attempting to be reasonably objective. This is NOT okay, and it is detrimental to a book that is rightly considered to be a masterpiece of historical writing. Do yourself a favor an ...more
May 04, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazingly readable. Unfortunately, no matter how easy the reading, 1000 pages are still 1000 pages (with footnotes but no pictures or white-spacey dialogue). I don't think I'm going to finish this before book club on Thursday. ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, and my other quibble, aside from the large bulk, is the sad lack of maps and a chronology. This book is 1000 pages, people! I don't have time to pull out my atlas and look up dates on Wikipedia!
David Huff
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Tackling this massive classic has been on my bucket list for some time, and after finishing Volume One, the first of Six (I know, I can hardly believe it either) volumes, here are some summary thoughts so far:

1. Took me a while to decide whether to read it, or listen on Audible. I've listened to quite a few books on Audible, so my comfort level (plus all the spare moments I can find in traffic or longer drives to listen) gave me the courage to go that route. I'm loving the Naxos AudioBooks versi
I have been reading this for the last five months and I feel exhausted. Definitely not for people who prefer light reading. The explanation is sometimes frivolous and redundant. The footnotes are not really helpful; they just confused me even 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
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most readers, including myself, are discouraged from ever attempting to read Decline and Fall because of its length. I can confirm, having reached the end of the first volume, that our fears of boredom or exhaustion are exaggerated. In truth, Gibbon needs an editor, not an abridgement. A small number of dull and superfluous passages, often dealing with trifles remote from our own concerns (such as the internecine squabbles over Trinitarianism, or the unspectacular lives of quickly-forgotten pret ...more
Louis Shalako
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. I've read it ten times, and it's an eight volume set. Gibbon has his idiosyncrasies. He will use the same phrase, for example, 'it would not offer much instruction to the reader nor amusement to the writer,' and several others more than once, but it is a big book.

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
Brian Eshleman
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The particulars of a given place and time are incidental to why this work and its author have had a lasting impact. At least for me, curiosity about Rome subsided as I was more and more drawn in to the spell of the author. This was Edward Gibbon's space within which to expound on the sweeping currents of history and the trickling eddies of individual flawed lives that feed into them. How does the discipline of a common goal strengthen individual men and the broader culture? How does the irony of ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where to begin? How do you even rate a legendary text like this, after two hundred years of existence, carrying two hundred years of cultural baggage along with it.

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
The first volume of Modern Library’s three-volume reprint of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire covers the first 26 chapters of the author’s epic historical work. Beginning with the death of Domitian and ending with Theodosius I’s treaty with the Goths and early reign, Gibbon’s spans nearly 300 years of political, social, and religious history on how the great empire of antiquity slowly began to fade from the its greatest heights.

The history of the decline of Rome actually
Michael Nash
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship, which prevailed i ...more
Mina Soare
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mina by: Random pick
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 went for a walk.

First of all, this is an audiobook free librivox edition; many thanks to Kirsten Ferreri, Chris Chapman, Sibella Denton, Christie Nowak, Gesine, ontheroad, Jim Mowatt, krithiga, Robin C
Laurel Kane
I can honestly say that this book changed the way I think about some things. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it - and it gets much better with with re-reads. I love Gibbon's snarkiness.

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
Marcus Aurelius

Description: 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.

This film covers the incidents that historians pin-point as the start of the end of the Roman Empire. It took a further 300 years to finish the job.


Bust of Commodus as Hercules
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read Gibbon over thirty years ago, and made it through the three Modern Library volumes. Over the years I have reread the first volume, and his conclusions, a half dozen times, and his notorious Ch 15 on Judaism and Christianity maybe two dozen. I read it as contemporary news; for instance,
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, leaving office, recently pardoned over 200 prisoners, including several convicted of murder. Doubtless Barbour's Christianity played into his pardoning, possibly of
Dan Graser
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This really is a gorgeous edition of Gibbon's classic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol 1 is his most scandalous of texts - mainly due to the final two chapters - but ignoring the centuries old "controversy" of daring to chart the history of early Christianity in Rome, this is still THE seminal work of historical writing in the English language and fully codified the ridiculous relationship of the later emperors of Rome with the Senate, the various factions of the army and legions, the P ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
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 around on the timeline so often. Lastly, it has an abrupt ending. Do not expect an epilogue.
May 30, 2017 marked it as on-pause  ·  review of another edition
Volume I

It is a testament to the breadth of Gibbon's passion that his Decline and Fall, widely regarded as a literary monument, on reading appears merely to expatiate on some salient thoughts. The charm of Gibbon resides in his unashamed partiality, notwithstanding his wise words on the responsibility of historians to extract truth from exaggeration and understatement alike.

Gibbon, in the mould of his beloved Tacitus, is not for the faint-hearted, nor for the politically correct, religiously dev
I have this book in a Victorian copy inherited from my great-grandfather, one of the only books left from such a long time ago, mostly Dutch Bibles. I've thought about reading it since I was in high school--this looming, solid, six-volume set of reddish-brown books, the spine reading only "GIBBON'S ROME". Finally this spring I finished The Dispossessed, which I really hated (many of you may wish to discount the following review on that basis) and I was feeling disgruntled, because I had thought ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I snagged the free version from Amazon for my Kindle. The page count said it was 350 pages, I thought that would be a quick read. Hooboy, that count was an utter lie! Amazon reports that a paperback edition from Penguin Classics weighs in at 1232 pages, this isn't a light, quick read on the beach.

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
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I didn't really finish this book. I didn't even make it to three-digit page number : ( The subject is very interesting, but due to various events going on my life right now I just couldn't get into it. I really wanted to keep going with the book because I'm curious to find out what the author thought about the Roman empire. May be I can pick it up again in the future.

One passage (out of a few) stuck out in my mind:
The authority of Plato and Aristotle, of Zeno and Epicurus, still reigned in
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A magnificent work of history. This volume extends from the reign of Augustus to that of Constantine. The last two chapters cover the rise of Christianity, although Gibbon considers this new religion "superstition."

Far more bloody than any persecution of the Christians were the ends of the emperors and the fights to replace a decapitated Caesar with a new one. Several Caesars survived only months (one only weeks).

Does the decline of the Roman Empire imply anything for the American century of po
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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...
“... as long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.” 20 likes
“The value of money has been settled by general consent to express our wants and our property, as letters were invented to express our ideas; and both these institutions, by giving a more active energy to the powers and passions of human nature, have contributed to multiply the objects they were designed to represent.” 7 likes
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