The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Style

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Summary

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (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 Western civilization (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 1788–89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections,

Details

Gibbon's style is frequently distinguished by an ironically detached and somewhat dispassionate yet critical tone. He occasionally lapsed into moralization and aphorism.

"[A]s long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters".


"The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people" (Chapter Three p. 52).

"History...is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind" (ibid. p. 69).

"If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [of gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind" (Chapter 65,p. 68).

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  • WikipediaThe History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireThe History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireThe History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

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