The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a six-volume work By Edward Gibbon. The first quarto volume of it was published in 1776, volumes ii and iii in 1781, and the last three volumes in 1788. This monumental work falls into three divisions: from the age of Trajan and the Antonines to the subversion of the Western Empire; from the reign of Justinian in the East to the establishment of the second or German Empire of the West, under Charlemagne; from the revival of the Western Empire to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks.
It thus covers a period of about thirteen centuries, and comprehends such vast subjects as the establishment of Christianity, the movements and settlements of the Teutonic tribes, the conquests of the Muslims, and the Crusades. It traces, overall, the connection of the ancient world with the modern. Gibbon’s prose is cool, lucid, and enlivened by ironic wit, much of it controversially aimed at the early church and the credulity and barbarism that overwhelmed the noble Roman virtues he admired.
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