Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece has never been surpassed for scholarship or elegant prose, remaining an everlasting historical classic. The spread of Christianity; the Barbarian invasions; the various sacks of Rome by Goths, Huns and Vandals; the Crusades; the conquests of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane; the rise of Islam ... From the Antonine Emperors to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ranges over thirteen centuries with flair and wit. A spectacular cast includes Attila the Hun, the Prophet Muhammad, the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne and the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, who re-conquered North Africa and Italy with the aid of his illustrious general, Belisarius. A perennial favourite with our members, and the blueprint for any study of history.
Volume V: Justinian and the Roman Law
Volume VI: Mohammed and the Rise of the Arabs
Volume VII: The Normans in Italy and the Crusades
Volume VIII: The Fall of Constantinople and the Papacy in Rome
John Julius Norwich’s Desert Island Companion ‘I love Gibbon for three reasons: the story, the style and the jokes. ‘Story’ is hardly the word; The Decline and Fall is an epic drama, stuffed full of tremendous characters, most of them monstrous, nearly all of them larger than life. To enjoy that quite individual, remarkable style – has any prose-writer ever surpassed him in his ear for the rhythm of the English language? – you have to take him at his own speed: don’t rush him, savour the sentences. Only that way will you capture that marvellous dry humour, which is once again all his own. Who could improve on that marvellous description of someone’s reputation – it doesn’t even matter who’s – as depending on ‘the uncertain testimony of his own applause? ’'A fascinating period of history in some of the greatest English prose. Gibbon knew how to be offensive about religion in the most elegant manner.'
Read more about the life and work of Edward Gibbon