"Instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it has subsisted so long."
Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire compresses thirteen turbulent centuries into an epic narrative shot through with insight, irony and incisive character analysis. Skeptical about Christianity, sympathetic to the barbarian invaders and the Byzantine Empire, constantly aware of how political leaders often achieve the exact opposite of what they intend, Gibbon was both alert to the broad pattern of events and significant revealing details. The first of the six volumes, published in 1776, was attacked for its enlightened views on politics, sexuality and religion, yet it was an immediate bestseller and widely acclaimed for the elegance of its prose. Gripping, powerfully intelligent and wonderfully entertaining, this is among the greatest works of history in the English language and a literary masterpiece of its age.
This edition is abridged.
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