Immagine dell'autore.

Edward Gibbon (1737–1794)

Autore di Declino e caduta dell'impero romano

664+ opere 14,533 membri 135 recensioni 37 preferito


Fonte dell'immagine: Wikipedia


Opere di Edward Gibbon

Memoirs of My Life (1796) 391 copie
Der Sieg des Islam (2003) 9 copie
Man and society (1982) 2 copie
The Works 2 copie
Charlemagne (2012) 2 copie
These Splendid Fighters. (1925) 1 copia
Der Sieg des Islam. (1985) 1 copia
Milman's Gibbon's Rome (1883) 1 copia

Opere correlate

Extraordinary Tales (1955) — Collaboratore — 266 copie
Eighteenth-Century English Literature (1969) — Autore — 184 copie
Candide [Norton Critical Edition, 1st ed.] (1966) — Collaboratore — 150 copie
Classic Essays in English (1961) — Collaboratore — 22 copie
The Decline and Fall (1967) 5 copie
Book handbook, no. 2, 1947 (1947) — Collaboratore — 2 copie


Informazioni generali



EP Decline and Fall for sale/swap in Easton Press Collectors (Novembre 2013)
Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" footnote in Ancient History (Luglio 2010)


I read these volumes over one summer as sort of a challenge for myself, reading along often without paying much attention. Now, I wonder why I finished these.
mykl-s | 1 altra recensione | Aug 10, 2023 |
Like a series of visits to an eccentric, garrulous and bigoted uncle who is a famous expert on Roman history (I think of him as being played by Sir Ralph Richardson). The structure of his sentences and the pattern of his sentence structures (e.g. backwards, inside-out, simple declarative), especially in relationship to their content and especially considering the length of the work, is incredible.
markm2315 | 6 altre recensioni | Jul 1, 2023 |
An 18th century exploration into the events surrounding the Roman Empire and its territories from ca. 180 until the 15th century.

The author is an 18th century Brit who has granted the ancient Romans their conceit, and the work must be read and understood in that light. One of the great opportunities for reflection in reading this work in the early 21st century is to consider what Europe, north Africa, and western Asia must have looked like to someone living in 1776, and the different forms of continuity and discontinuity which are maintained. As an example, Gibbon confesses how there are some areas of Italy which, in his day, had not yet recovered in population from the Byzantine-Gothic wars and the bubonic plague of the middle of the 6th century; we would not be able to make such an observation on the other side of the population boom which has attended to the industrial revolution.

Gibbon does well at considering not just secondary but especially primary sources, and he is rather opaque about his biases and prejudices regarding them. The length of discourse ebbs and flows with the amount and quality of these witnesses: the introductory books set forth the condition of the Empire in the days of the Antonines, the generally confessed high point of the Roman Empire, and fills in some of the details about the infrastructure of the Empire as it had developed from the days of Augustus. Then over a few books Gibbon covers the long/awful "third century" of 180-280 and all of the trials of the Empire. The fourth century resurgence and crisis defeats of 280-400 are covered in many books, including discussions of the development of Christianity, and thus ends the first modern volume. Then Gibbon gets to the collapse of the Empire at the hands of the German tribes in the West, and the maintenance of the Empire in the East. Over many books we read of Justinian, his conquests, and his law code; Gibbon has precious little to say about the Justinian plague beyond its virulence. Gibbon quickly covers Justinian through Heraclius, and the second modern volume ends with his characterization of the various Emperors from Heraclius until Isaac Angelus and the Latin conquest of Constantinople. The third modern volume covers the medieval period, and does so in two phases: from 600-1200, looking in across the world of the former Roman Empire and the exploits in Italy, Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, Muhammad, the rise of Islam, the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, the Bulgarians, Russians, Normans, the Turks, and then the Crusades, leading to the Fourth Crusade. Then Gibbon does something similar with the 1200-1450 period: the Greek loss of Constantinople, their fragmented empires, and recovery of Constantinople; the Mongols and the rise of the Ottomans; relationship between Byzantium and the West; the final loss of the Eastern Roman Empire; and Gibbon concludes by considering Rome itself from the tenth century until the end of the Great Schism. He then renders some conclusions.

Gibbon is often criticized for how he blames the fall of Rome on Christianity. I did not perceive in his work any truly monocausal explanation of this sort. In places where he would presume Christianity would have loosened the "martial spirit" of the Romans, he would be misguided. While Gibbon is a man of the Enlightenment - and in his notes you can tell he is a big fan of Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment in particular - his explorations of the various doctrinal controversies are well expressed and reasoned, and he seems less condemnatory of the religion itself and much more fatigued with the constant in-fighting over ultimately speculative matters. And in truth the divisions within Christianity absolutely weakened the standing of the Empire: when the Coptic Christians of Egypt welcomed the conquest of the Muslims so they would no longer be under the yoke of Constantinople, that tells you something; a big part of the ultimate end of the Byzantine Empire was the division and hostility engendered between them and the Catholics to the west.

What should stand out about this narrative, both as told by Gibbon and in general, is not about how Rome declined and fell, as if we can thus read the tea leaves about how such powers decline and fall in order to ameliorate our own, because all powers invariably rise, decline, and fall. Instead, it should be about the resilience of the Roman Empire: the miracle is not that it collapsed, but that it endured for so long in reality, and has never been exorcised from the mentality of Europeans ever since. "Caesars" as Kaisers and Czars and Sultans ruled in Europe until only a century ago; one cannot understand medieval and modern European history without grappling with how the Roman Empire continually captured their imagination.

The most modern research leads us to put far more weight on the role of climate change and its attendant consequences: more challenging food growing conditions which can quickly lead to greater ravaging and repine, the ferret and the transmission of the bubonic plague, and thus a devastation in the 6th century which leaves its mark in the archaeological record for over a century and which the world of Late Antiquity could not adequately recover (and, as seen above, in some respects, had not even recovered by the time the United States of America came into being!). If we're looking for a big lesson from Rome about how powers fall, that's the one we should heed.
… (altro)
deusvitae | 39 altre recensioni | Jun 12, 2023 |
Cuarto y último de la nueva edición íntegra, en cuatro volúmenes, de este gran clásico de la historiografía concebido según los cánones del espíritu de la Ilustración. El cuarto tomo (años 733 a 1430) se ocupa, entre otros acontecimientos, de la desintegración del Imperio Romano de Occidente, las tres primeras cruzadas, la conquista de Constantinopla por los turcos y la consolidación de Estado eclesiástico.
Natt90 | Apr 12, 2023 |


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