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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Modern Library Classics) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0375758119 ISBN-10: 0375758119 Edition: Modern Library

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1312 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library edition (August 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375758119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758119
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Gibbon] stood on the summit of the Renaissance achievement and looked back over the waste of history to ancient Rome, as from one mountain top to another.”—Christopher Dawson

From the Inside Flap

Gibbon's masterpiece, which narrates the history of the Roman Empire from the second century a.d. to its collapse in the west in the fifth century and in the east in the fifteenth century, is widely considered the greatest work of history ever written. This abridgment retains the full scope of the original, but in a compass equivalent to a long novel. Casual readers now have access to the full sweep of Gibbon's narrative, while instructors and students have a volume that can be read in a single term. This unique edition emphasizes elements ignored in all other abridgments—in particular the role of religion in the empire and the rise of Islam.

More About the Author

Hans-Friedrich Mueller (aka Molinarius) was born in Columbus, Ohio, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, educated at Henry Clay Elementary School, Whitefish Bay High School (1978), Brown University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (BA, 1983 & 1985), the University of South Florida, the University of Florida (MA, 1989), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PhD, 1994). From 1994-1995, he was an NEH-APA post-doctoral fellow, working as a lexicographer at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich). He has held teaching posts at Countryside High School (Clearwater, Florida, 1985-1991), the Florida State University (Tallahassee, 1995-2001), and the University of Florida (Gainesville, 2001-2004). He currently serves as William D. Williams Professor of Classics, Chair of the Department, and Campus Trustee at Union College (Schenectady, New York). Further details may be found at http://minerva.union.edu/muellerh

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
Anyone with interest in history must read this.
David J Silchman
His choice of words and his style of sentence construction is consummate on every level.
The madcap laughs
Edit: I have read over 80% of time and I can say I am truly impressed.
Adrian-Costin Tundrea

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By MARK DIMASSIMO on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How did Gibbon do it?! This book is so good and so rich on so many levels, and the centuries have not made it any less a terrific read than it must have been when first published. There are so many reasons to read it -- I'll choose one. If you want to understand human nature in something approaching all it's depth and complexity, you can do no better than to read Gibbon's tales of what happens when a long succession of very different characters attain total dominion over the entire civilized world. The incredible variety of comedy, calamity and infamy is unmatched even in Greek Myths or the Bible, and to my mind, at least, the story telling is better.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By The madcap laughs on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's a literary work of art. Gibbon's style of narration is breathtaking. On every page he comes out as the true scholar that he really is. His choice of words and his style of sentence construction is consummate on every level.

Other than that, the whole account is Gibbon's perspective of the Roman Empire on a strict level. While most will concur with him on the insanity of the likes of say, Caligula, Nero; or the politically cunning inclinations of Augustus, his treatment of Christianity is open to debate. Gibbon places Christianity at the top in his list of the factors that could possibly have accelerated the empire towards decadence and its ultimate disintegration. Though this can be true on some accounts, he offers no clear explanation on how the Eastern empire could have carried on for more centuries with the religion at its very centre. It's an unwritten edict that the Byzantines were more passionate about Jesus than Western christendom.

Also, in some pages, Gibbon argues that the Roman emperors, say Marcus Aurelius for example, never really would have had an inclination towards persecuting christians on grounds of political gains. For Gibbon argues that the political elite of Rome were well aware of the fact that some kind of religion maintained social order. But his arguments are at considerable, if not complete, loggerheads with the several accounts from other historians that Rome continued to persecute Christianity until Constantine.

Persecution of Christianity might necessarily not have completely been primary disdain for the christian concept which totally conflicts with the Roman edicts of deifying dead emperors. Christianity came in handy for rogue emperors to have this sect of minorities scapegoated for their own excesses (remember Nero's fire?
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jason Joseph-Holmes on January 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
The three-star review reflects that it's an abridged edition -- not a deal-breaker, since few lose sleep over missing passages when a book is well over 1200 pages. But what really rankles is the lack of an index. I don't have any other edition to compare this to, but publishing a 1200+ page history book WITHOUT an index is a form of sadism.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Guy the Gorilla on November 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
At long last I have tackled one of the great achievements of the English language, and I am glad that I dedicated the time and effort to do so. I have no regrets about investing in the unabridged version, anymore than I would want to watch a two-hour TV program that hacks and condenses and combines the first two Godfather movies into a bowdlerized shell of its former self. Some works must be enjoyed in their entirety, as they were originally created, and this is one of them. Not that I should be comparing one of the crowning achievements of Western culture to a few hours of celluloid produced in Hollywood - that's like comparing Mozart to say, the Beatles - but it was just to make a point. Read the unabridged version, or don't read it all. (And BTW, no knock on the Beatles, who were great, but comparing them to Mozart? I don't think so...)

I suppose the first thing I should point out to potential buyers is to make sure that you buy the complete set of books. Gibbon's magnum opus has been published in so many different ways - I've seen the unabridged version in anywhere from three to seven volumes - that you need to be careful. This version has all of Gibbon's footnotes, which serve two purposes. First - you can get additional insight (and sometimes witty/snarky asides) to the narrative, and second - you get to see just how authoritative and reputable a source Gibbon is - he completely and fully researched all available writings and histories - ancient, medieval, and contemporary - in preparing his text. This work is one of the gold standard sources for historical information - if Gibbon reports an incident or fact in this work - you can bet good money that it is probably true.

The language is majestic, the style fluid and articulate.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Snyder on January 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had, already nearly 20 years ago, browsed passages of Gibbon's original, and used it as a reference. But I had no desire to plow through the complete unabridged six volumes.

Finally, I decided to look for an abridged version, and I found Mueller's. Long and detailed enough to catch all of Gibbon's high points. He also keeps enough of the original to capture Gibbon's style and love of subject.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Adrian-Costin Tundrea on July 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only read about 25% of this book since it is a very large one (over 1000 pages), but I can say The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon is one of the best history books I have ever read.
Thought English is not my native language, the book is, with a few exceptions, very easy to read. It is loaded with a lot of history since it covers over 1000 years, but this fact does not give you a headache if you are not into learning everything in it.
The book covers the history of the Roman Empire from the 1st century A.D. to the final collapse of it in the 11th century. What I like about Gibbon's writing style is that he follows every emperor's reign and (not going into very much details) explains the ups and (mainly) downs of this great empire.
That is why I wormly recommand this book to any history lover and specially to the ones interested in the reasons of the great fall of The Roman Empire.

Edit: I have read over 80% of time and I can say I am truly impressed. From all the theories of why the Roman Empire fell, Gibbon's ones are the most respected. Some argue he is a "paganist" writer since he thinks christianity is the main reason for the fall of the Roman Empire (maybe that's why I like the book so much... I totaly agree with his opinion). If you are interested in the fall of the Roman Empire this book is a must and should come first before any other book on this subject.
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