Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

1850 Words8 Pages
Despite being an immediate bestseller, shortly after publishing, Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire became unpopular with large groups of the British reading public. The abridged edition consecutively presents the stories behind the Empire’s leadership and course of action. Gibbon revivifies the complex and compelling period of the Romans by detailing the prosperous conditions of the empire, the decline, and the aftermath of the fall. At the same time, Gibbon efficiently scrutinizes the declining virtue of the Roman people. Gibbon made an argument that the intellectual inflexibility of the Roman Empire had declined into “barbarism” and “Christianity,” which ultimately attributed to the fall of the Empire.…show more content…
This is exactly what Gibbon did. “Change is inevitable. But, so is continuity.” The nature of military power is about shaping international politics and the weight of material resources. Gibbon’s strict focus on social factors led to his writing the Decline and it becoming a lost paradigm so quickly. The argument should not be solely based on whether or not virtue matters, but on how the characteristics of a leader, coupled with the military and economic prosperity of a state, led to the decline. Gibbon focuses largely on the social themes of barbarism and Christianity, and in doing so, gives a humanist approach as the reason for the end of the Roman Empire instead of analyzing all the pieces. Gibbon begins his work by idolizing the Empire under Augustus and the subsequent rulers who followed in his footsteps. “The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour... During a happy period (A.D. 98-180) of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this … to describe the prosperous condition of their empire…” From the onset of the book, Gibbon sets out on a path to explain the virtuous characteristics of the empires. These emperors, the “good” emperors, were the last before the start of the

More about Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Open Document