Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon FRS was an English historian, writer 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 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organized religion.
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Edward Gibbon
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.
Edward Gibbon
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 sixth of seven volumes, readers will find Chapter 52 ("More Conquests by the Arabs") through Chapter 63 ("Civil Wars and the Ruin of the Greek Empire"), which cover the continued wars between Constantinople and the Arabs; the rise of Harun al Rashid; Islamic advances in the sciences; the invasion of Rome by the Saracens; the state of the Byzantine Empire in the 10th century; the rise of Greek power and influence in the Eastern Roman Empire; the Paulicans; the establishment of a Bulgarian kingdom; the origin of the Russian monarchy; the rise of the Normans in Italy; the life of Robert Guiscard; the many conquests of Sicily; the origin of the Seljuk Turks and their empire; the Turkish conquest of Jerusalem; the First, Second, and Third Crusades; the break between the Greeks and Latins in Constantinople; the rule of Emperor Baldwin I; the resurgence of Greek power in Constantinople; the origins of the family of Courtenay; and the establishment of the Greek Empire. English parliamentarian and historian EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794) attendedMagdelan 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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