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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Download History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ebook. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces Western civilisation (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. It was published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–1789.

The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its heavy use of primary sources, unusual at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first “modern historian of ancient Rome”.

His work remains a great literary achievement and a very readable introduction to the period, but considerable progress has since been made in history and archaeology, and his interpretations no longer represent current academic knowledge or thought. In The World of Late Antiquity (1971), Peter Brown offers an alternative interpretation of the period between the second and eighth centuries AD, and Framing the Early Middle Ages (2005) by Christopher Wickham presents hitherto unavailable evidence from both documentary and archaeological sources.

Editorial Reviews

The merit of Gibbon’s masterpiece needs no defense. Readers are, I assume, looking for remarks about whether this Everyman set is a quality edition. Well, this is it. I looked at the Folio Society edition: lovely, yes; but fragile and grossly overpriced. The Everyman is sturdily bound with solid boards and paper. The typeface is clean. A handy bookmark is bound into each volume. It’s nice to hold in the hand.

The text is the standard one of 1910, with notes to catch major errors of fact; there are good, more recent introductions (to vols 1 and 4) by the eminent Hugh Trevor-Roper (does that man know everything, or what?). ALL of the original footnotes are here, and readers of Gibbon should consider them as essential. Someone once quipped that Gibbon lived out his sex life in footnotes; there’s some truth in that remark.

Reading Gibbon is a landmark achievement in a person’s life. Spend it with the quality production of this Everyman set.

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ebook pdf, epub, mobi, prc

About the Author

Edward Gibbon was born in 1737 in Putney, England, and was the only child of his parents to survive infancy. Although his education was frequently interrupted by ill health, his knowledge was far-reaching. His brief career as an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, ended when he joined the Catholic Church. His father sent him to Lausanne, in Switzerland, where, while studying Greek and French for the next five years, he re-joined the Protestant Church. In 1761 he published his Essai sur l’étude de la Littérature; the English version appeared in 1764. Meanwhile, Gibbon served as a captain in the Hampshire Militia until 1763, when he returned to the Continent. It was while he was in Rome in 1764 that he first conceived the work that was eventually to become The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

In 1774, after the death of his father, Gibbon settled in London and was elected to Parliament where he sat for the next eight years, although he never once spoke in the Commons. He also took his place among the literary circles of London. The first volume of his famous History was published in 1776; it was highly praised for its learning and style but incurred some censure for its treatment of the early Christians. The second and third volumes appeared in 1781 and the final three, which were written in Lausanne, in 1788. He died while on a visit to his friend, Lord Sheffield, who posthumously edited Gibbon’s autobiographical papers and published them in 1796.

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