The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume 1

Cosimo, Inc.
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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 militaristic will, and its sense of civic duty. History is considered a classic in world literature, and Gibbon is sometimes called the first "modern historian" for his insistence upon using primary sources for his research. Many scholars today still use his highly regarded work as reference. In this first of seven volumes, readers will find Chapter 1 ("The Extent of the Empire in the Age of the Antonines") through Chapter 14 ("Six Emperors at the Same Time, Reunion of the Empire"), which cover the Age of the Antonines; the rule and murder of Commodus; the sale of the Empire to Didius Julianus; the rules of Severus, Caracalla, Alexander Severus, Maximin, Decius, Gallus, milianus, Valerian, Gallienus, Claudius, Tacitus, Probus, Carus, Diocletian, Maximinus Thrax, Gordian I, Gordian II, Pupienus, Balbinus, and Gordian III; the current state of Persia; and the current state of Germany. English parliamentarian and historian EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794) attended Magdelan College, Oxford for 14 months before his father sent him to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he continued his education. He published Essai sur l'tude de la Littrature (1761) and other autobiographical works, including Mmoire Justificatif pour servir de Rponse l'Expos, etc. de la Cour de France (1779).
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This edition also includes an illustrated history of BOTH the RISE AND FALL of the Roman Empire from its very beginning. HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE COMPLETE VOLUMES 1 - 6 (sometimes shortened to "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire") is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of the Roman Empire—and Western civilization as a whole—from the late first century AD to the fall of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. 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, VI in 1788-89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome". Gibbon offers an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell, a task made difficult by a lack of comprehensive written sources, though he was not the only historian to tackle the subject. According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens. They had become weak, outsourcing their duties to defend their Empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, had become effeminate, unwilling to live a tougher, "manly" military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire. He also believed its comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious, dark age. It was not until his own age of reason and rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress. Gibbon sees the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire's initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus at the establishment of the empire. He cites repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Cosimo, Inc.
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Published on
Jul 1, 2008
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Pages
536
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ISBN
9781605201191
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Rome
History / Reference
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Foreign Affairs, and Kirkus Reviews
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (Nonfiction)
Shortlisted for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
A San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Gift Guide Selection
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection

A sweeping, "magisterial" history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists shows why Rome remains "relevant to people many centuries later" (Atlantic).

 

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a book of history which traces the trajectory of Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West: I. The first period may be traced from the age of Trajan and the Antonines, when the Roman monarchy, having attained its full strength and maturity, began to verge towards its decline; and will extend to the subversion of the Western Empire, by the barbarians of Germany and Scythia, the rude ancestors of the most polished nations of modern Europe. This extraordinary revolution, which subjected Rome to the power of a Gothic conqueror, was completed about the beginning of the sixth century. II. The second period commences with the reign of Justinian, who, by his laws, as well as by his victories, restored a transient splendor to the Eastern Empire. It will comprehend the invasion of Italy by the Lombards; the conquest of the Asiatic and African provinces by the Arabs, who embraced the religion of Mahomet; the revolt of the Roman people against the feeble princes of Constantinople; and the elevation of Charlemagne, who, in the year eight hundred, established the second, or German Empire of the West III. The last and longest period includes about six centuries and a half; from the revival of the Western Empire, till the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, and the extinction of a degenerate race of princes. Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) was an English historian and Member of Parliament.
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