Gibbon, Part 5: Attila and the End of the Western Empire

From last time, we saw that the reign of Honorius resulted with the loss of Britain and all of the territory beyond the Alps. For the first time in its history, Rome was besieged, defeated and sacked. Here we continue examining Gibbon’s narrative of the Eastern Empire under Arcadius and the Western Empire after the death … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 5: Attila and the End of the Western Empire”

Gibbon, Part 4: Theodosius and the Last Roman General

In the last two posts, we reflected on the latter half of Volume I of Gibbon. Struggling under its immense size and the frequent civil strife of the 3rd century (including a period so tumultuous that it is known as the Crisis of the Third Century), the empire finally found some long-term stability during the reign of … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 4: Theodosius and the Last Roman General”

Gibbon, Part 3: The Rise of Christianity

Here we shall continue with the second half of Volume I, but focusing on Gibbon’s chapters on the progress of religion in the Roman Empire. Gibbon’s General Reflections on Christian Persecution Chapters 15 and 16 of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall have historically been denounced for their critical attitude towards Christianity, and Gibbon in general was infamous for his … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 3: The Rise of Christianity”

Gibbon, Part 2: Constantine and His Sons

Having covered Rome’s Golden Age and the chaotic succession of short-lived or tyrannical emperors during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD in Part 1 (chapters 1-14), we now continue in Part 2 with the remainder of Volume I of Decline and Fall (chapters 15-26), describing the reign of Constantine the Great and his descendants, and the increasing importance of … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 2: Constantine and His Sons”

Gibbon, Part 1: Golden Age and First Signs of Decline

The time has finally come for the last part of the trio of Great Books volumes in our 5-year reading schedule for this semester: Edward Gibbon’s massive The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon’s tome is a monumental work in the history of historical writing. Although its scholarship might be outdated … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 1: Golden Age and First Signs of Decline”