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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Modern Library Classics) Modern Library Edition
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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?Read more ›
On the one hand, we have every abominable act, every imaginable vice, every imprudent lunacy able to be committed by man here recorded. After all, this was written by a man who considered history "little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind." Imagine an alien race picking up the capsule and deciphering our language. Imagine the looks on their faces (if they have faces) when they hear of the grotesque bunch of bipeds on the other side of the galaxy who do nothing but rape, pillage, and kill each other. Imagine this happens after our sun explodes or we blow ourselves up; this is the last utterance of an extinguished species. Would we want it to be this? Why not Don Quixote or the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
On the other hand, intimately connected with this narrative of wickedness and stupidity, inextricably intertwined in the fabric of the narrative, is the genius of its author. Who could read a single page of this great book and not be humbled by the quality of his thought, the care of his method, the power of his prose? If ever there was a document that singlehandedly redeems all of the idiocy our race insistently indulges in, it's this book. At least the aliens would know that one of us had a good head on our shoulders.
It is impossible to discuss this work without its author.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A readable version of this historic classic. If you didn't read this in school, you can still enjoy it in a more condensed version. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Manicreader
Pressed for time here, so I'll keep this review to one word: awesome!Published 11 months ago by BookReview
Cover was worn as advertised but the book is fine. I'm satisfied.Published 13 months ago by Ronald Timm
Enjoy history and yes, this version is a little easier to read.Published 13 months ago by Susie Slack
Well written, beautifully organized, and very descriptive. Great analogies of history the contemporary can compare to today's events.Published 14 months ago by Publius Cincinnatus
Good Read to understand ancient Rome, Emperors, some causes of decline, but you must be interested in ancient history.... Read morePublished 16 months ago by noname
What can be said of Mr Gibbons that has not been said before and lot of times?
This is a resume, but it is useful to remember most of what we read before in full. Read more