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The History Of The Decline

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About the Book
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

British parliamentarian and soldier Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) conceived of his plan for Decline and Fall while "musing amid the ruins of the Capitol" on a visit to Rome. For the next 10 years he worked away at his great history, which traces the decadence of the late empire from the time of the Antonines and the rise of Western Christianity. "The confusion of the times, and the scarcity of authentic memorials, pose equal difficulties to the historian, who attempts to preserve a clear and unbroken thread of narration," he writes. Despite these obstacles, Decline and Fall remains a model of historical exposition, and required reading for students of European history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author
Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794

Historian, was born at Putney of an ancient Kentish family. His father was Edward G., and his mother Judith Porten. He was the only one of a family of seven who survived infancy, and was himself a delicate child with a precocious love of study. After receiving his early education at home he was sent to Westminster School, and when 15 was entered at Magdalen College, Oxford, where, according to his own account, he spent 14 months idly and unprofitably. Oxford was then at its lowest ebb, and earnest study or effort of any kind had little encouragement. G., however, appears to have maintained his wide reading in some degree, and his study of Bossuet and other controversialists led to his becoming in 1753 a Romanist. To counteract this his father placed him under the charge of David Mallet (q.v.), the poet, deist, and ed. of Bolingbroke's works, whose influence, not unnaturally, failed of the desired effect, and G. was next sent to Lausanne, and placed under the care of a Protestant pastor, M. Pavilliard. Various circumstances appear to have made G. not unwilling to be re-converted to Protestantism; at all events he soon returned to the reformed doctrines. At Lausanne he remained for over four years, and devoted himself assiduously to study, especially of French literature and the Latin classics. At this time also he became engaged to Mademoiselle Suzanne Curchod; but on the match being peremptorily opposed by his father it was broken off. With the lady, who eventually became the wife of Necker, and the mother of Madame de Staël, he remained on terms of friendship. In 1758 G. returned to England, and in 1761 published Essai sur l'Etude de la Littérature, translated into English in 1764. About this time he made a tour on the Continent, visiting Paris, where he stayed for three months, and thence proceeding to Switzerland and Italy. There it was that, musing amid the ruins of the Capitol at Rome on October 15, 1764, he formed the plan of writing the history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He returned to England in 1765, and in 1770 his father died.



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