Gibbon

From Hull AWE
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a bibliography page, concerning a work to which reference is made elsewhere in this guide.


Gibbon, Edward (1776-1788) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, six volumes first published by Strahan and Cadell. It has not subsequently been out of print.
This seminal work of history by Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) is now much admired, and remains a model for students of history. The Decline and Fall, as it is usually known, is remarkable as an historical text from as early as the 18th century which relies, as far as was then possible, on primary sources, and it is seen as a model of prose style and elegant historiography ("the summit of European Enlightenment historiography", ODNB). Horace Walpole, David Hume and Adam Smith all admired it in early times, as, abroad, did the French historian Guizot and the great Germans, Niebuhr, Mommsen, and Ranke; and Churchill in the twentieth century. Its early reputation was marred by Gibbon's perceived hostility to Christianity, and to a lesser extent Judaism. Gibbon was clearly not a fervent Christian himself; but his writing conveys no real attack on religion. He is also, clearly, no friend to empire: the 'decline' of which he speaks is mostly cultural.