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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1788)

by Edward Gibbon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,905393,944 (4.29)2 / 182
The pre-eminent historian of his day, Edward Gibbon (1737-94) produced his magnum opus in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. Reissued here is the authoritative seven-volume edition prepared by J. B. Bury (1861-1927) between 1896 and 1900. Immediately and widely acclaimed, Gibbon's work remains justly famous for its magisterial account of Roman imperialism and Christianity from the first century CE through to the fall of Constantinople and beyond. Innovative in its use of primary sources and notable for its tone of religious scepticism, this epic narrative stands as a masterpiece of English literature and historical scholarship. Volume 4 focuses on the fifth and sixth centuries CE, examining the Vandal sack of Rome and the fall of the Western Empire, the conversion of barbarians to Christianity, the Saxon conquest of Britain, and the wars of the Goths and the Vandals.… (more)
  1. 21
    Byzantium: The Early Centuries by John Julius Norwich (nessreader)
  2. 00
    Memoirs of My Life by Edward Gibbon (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: An obligatory read for anybody who enjoys the Decline and Fall. Gibbon's complex personality is more than palpable in his magnum opus, but it can be experienced with much greater force in his uniquely spiritual (in the secular sense of the word!), exquisitely written, stylishly candid and much too short Memoirs.… (more)
  3. 00
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire {abridged by Lentin and Norman} by Edward Gibbon (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Excellent abridged edition to start with before tackling the real thing. Reprints 28 complete chapters (out of 71, the rest are supplied with short summaries). Gibbon's footnotes are complete, the numerous Latin phrases in them are translated. Very nice introduction (plus occasional footnotes) by the editors, Antony Lentin and Brian Norman. On the downside, the volume is not especially handy in paperback and the font is rather smallish.… (more)
  4. 00
    On Liberty by John Stuart Mill (themulhern)
    themulhern: Well turned, caustic sentences about human nature.
  5. 01
    An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409 by David Mattingly (John_Vaughan)
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English (39)  Dutch (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Best narrative history ever written. Gibbon had so many fewer sources and tools than we have today, but his basic conclusions from the late 18th century information he had are still largely correct today.

A weakened military and political state that relied heavily on barbarian mercenary soldiers for defense was doomed. The different internal barbarian factions just served to divide the military and political and religious structures to a point to where they were easy pickin's from both inside and outside the empire. The western empire falling first while the eastern (Greek) Byzantine empire, under less external pressure, survives much longer. (Until their Roman Christian Crusader brothers came to sack them.)

Gibbons details the whole ugly mess down to minute detail and doesn't leave anything out, from incest to slaughter. His narrative is lively and opinionated, full of both shock and humor.

Read the whole damned thing, footnotes and all, not some abridged abomination. This is a literary work as much as an historical work.

Anyone who needs an abject lesson on how the modern western world is going to go, should read these books. We're already in the age of bread and circuses. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
A continuous narrative from the 2nd century ce to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, it is distinguished by its rigorous scholarship, its historical perspective, and its incomparable literary style. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 20, 2022 |
The first four volumes are highly intriguing and very interesting. Gibbon has a very interesting take on Rome’s fall and its connection to what he was experiencing in the 1770s. Given this connection to him, it’s hard to separate his bias, but the bias makes sense. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I can’t wait to read the last four volumes. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
Il 27 giugno nel 1787, lo storico inglese Edward Gibbon completò il volume finale de “La Storia del Declino e della Caduta dell’Impero Romano”, nel suo giardino di Losanna, in Svizzera.
Nel diario, scrisse: “Non intendo nascondere le prime emozioni di gioia per il recupero della mia libertà e forse anche la speranza della mia fama … Mi ero abituato ad una vecchia e piacevole compagnia”.
La Storia richiese 20 anni di lavoro e sei volumi di stampa per essere completata. Traccia la traiettoria della civiltà occidentale dalla massima espansione e splendore dell’Impero romano alla caduta di Bisanzio.
Il libro fu un grande successo, divenne il modello per tutti i futuri testi storici. Gibbon è considerato il primo storico moderno dell’antica Roma.
Ha scritto: “La storia è, in effetti, poco più che il registro dei crimini, delle follie e della sventura dell’umanità”.
----
On this day June 27 in 1787, English historian Edward Gibbon completed the final volume of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, in his garden in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In his diary, he wrote, “I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom and perhaps the establishment of my fame … I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion.”
The history took 20 years and six volumes to complete. It traces the trajectory of Western Civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium.
The book was a sensation, becoming the model for all future historical texts. Gibbon is considered the first modern historian of ancient Rome. He wrote:
“History … is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind.” ( )
  AntonioGallo | Sep 24, 2020 |
Il 27 giugno nel 1787, lo storico inglese Edward Gibbon completò il volume finale de “La Storia del Declino e della Caduta dell’Impero Romano”, nel suo giardino di Losanna, in Svizzera.
Nel diario, scrisse: “Non intendo nascondere le prime emozioni di gioia per il recupero della mia libertà e forse anche la speranza della mia fama … Mi ero abituato ad una vecchia e piacevole compagnia”.
La Storia richiese 20 anni di lavoro e sei volumi di stampa per essere completata. Traccia la traiettoria della civiltà occidentale dalla massima espansione e splendore dell’Impero romano alla caduta di Bisanzio.
Il libro fu un grande successo, divenne il modello per tutti i futuri testi storici. Gibbon è considerato il primo storico moderno dell’antica Roma.
Ha scritto: “La storia è, in effetti, poco più che il registro dei crimini, delle follie e della sventura dell’umanità”.
-------
On this day June 27 in 1787, English historian Edward Gibbon completed the final volume of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, in his garden in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In his diary, he wrote, “I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom and perhaps the establishment of my fame … I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion.”
The history took 20 years and six volumes to complete. It traces the trajectory of Western Civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium.
The book was a sensation, becoming the model for all future historical texts. Gibbon is considered the first modern historian of ancient Rome. He wrote:
“History … is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind.” ( )
  AntonioGallo | Sep 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (170 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edward Gibbonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bury, John BagnellEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bury, John BagnellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guedalla, PhilipForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Low, D.M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piranesi, Giovanni BattistaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radice, BettyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Sir WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevor-Roper, HughIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Womersley, David P.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the second century of the Christian Æra, the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valor. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government. During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this, and of the two succeeding chapters, to describe the prosperous condition of their empire; and after wards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall; a revolution which will ever be remembered, and is still felt by the nations of the earth.
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The pre-eminent historian of his day, Edward Gibbon (1737-94) produced his magnum opus in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. Reissued here is the authoritative seven-volume edition prepared by J. B. Bury (1861-1927) between 1896 and 1900. Immediately and widely acclaimed, Gibbon's work remains justly famous for its magisterial account of Roman imperialism and Christianity from the first century CE through to the fall of Constantinople and beyond. Innovative in its use of primary sources and notable for its tone of religious scepticism, this epic narrative stands as a masterpiece of English literature and historical scholarship. Volume 4 focuses on the fifth and sixth centuries CE, examining the Vandal sack of Rome and the fall of the Western Empire, the conversion of barbarians to Christianity, the Saxon conquest of Britain, and the wars of the Goths and the Vandals.

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General Books publication date: 2009 Original publication date: 1825 Original Publisher: Printed by J.F. Dove [for] G. Cowie and co. Subjects: Rome Byzantine Empire History / Ancient / General History / Ancient / Rome History / Medieval History / Europe / Greece Notes: This is a black and white OCR reprint of the original. It has no illustrations and there may be typos or missing text. When you buy the General Books edition of this book you get free trial access to Million-Books.com where you can select from more than a million books for free. Excerpt: First In the choice of the attack, the French and siflgeand Venetians were divided by their habits of life conquest ofCon- and warfare. The former affirmed with truth, pie by the that Constantinople was most accessible on the side of the sea and the harbour. The latter -- ia. might assert with honour, that they had long enough trusted their lives and fortunes to a frail bark and a precarious element, and loudly demanded a trial of knighthood, a firm ground, and a close onset, either on foot or horseback. After a prudent compromise, of employing the two nations by sea and land, in the service best suited to their character, the fleet covering the army, they both proceeded from the entrance to the extremity of the harbour: the stone bridge of the river was hastily repaired; and the six battles of the French formed their encampment against the front of the capital, the basis of the triangle which runs about four miles from the port to the Propontis. On the edge of a broad ditch, at the foot of a lofty rampart, they had leisure to contemplate the difficulties of their enterprise. The gates to the right and left of their narrow camp poured forth frequent sallies of cavalry and light-infantry, which cut off their stragglers, swept the country of provisions, sounded the alarm five or six times in the course of each day, and compelled them to plant a pallisade, and sink an in- trenchment, for their immediate s...
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