It is n variety, a

treat; sir ness of tł as I have

the Histo perhaps and limit

The m

It was at Rome, on the 15th of Oct. 1764, as he sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the bare-footed friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter (now the church of the Zoccolantes, or Franciscan friars), that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city (empire) first started to his mind."-Sheffield's Life of Gibbon, 1796.

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It is not my intention to detain the reader by expatiating on the variety, or the importance of the subject, which I have undertaken to treat; since the merit of the choice would serve to render the weakness of the execution still more apparent, and still less excusable. But as I have presumed to lay before the Public a first volume only' of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, it will perhaps be expected that I should explain, in a few words, the nature and limits of my general plan.

The memorable series of revolutions, which, in the course of about thirteen centuries, gradually undermined, and at length destroyed, the solid fabric of human greatness, may, with some propriety, be divided into the three following periods.

1. The first of these periods may be traced from the age of Trajan and the Antonines, when the Roman monarchy, having attained its full strength and maturity, began to verge towards its decline; and will extend to the subversion of the Western Empire, by the barbarians of Germany and Scythia, the rude ancestors of the most polished nations of modern Europe. This extraordinary revolution, which subjected Rome to the power of a Gothic conqueror, was completed about the beginning of the sixth century.

II. The second period of the Decline and Fall of Rome, may be supposed to commence with the reign of Justinian, who by his laws, as well as by his victories, restored a transient splendour to the Eastern Empire. It will comprehend the invasion of Italy by the Lombards; the conquest of the Asiatic and African provinces by the Arabs, who embraced the religion of Mahomet; the revolt of the Roman people against the feeble princes of Constantinople; and the elevation of Charlemagne, who, in the year eight hundred, established the second, or German, Empire of the West.

III. The last and longest of these periods includes about six centuries and a half; from the revival of the Western Empire, till the

I The first volume of the quarto is now contained in the two first volumes of this octavo edition in twelve volumes,-all given in this edition.


< literatu regiment and Ror “and fal labour o for him entered went ba troubles reached Jan. 15, leum of the autot

king of Constantinople by the Turks, and the extinction of a deenerate race of princes, who continued to assume the titles of Cæsar nd Augustus, after their dominions were contracted to the limits of a ngle city; in which the language as well as manners of the ancient Lomans had been long since forgotten. The writer who should ndertake to relate the events of this period, would find himself bliged to enter into the general history of the Crusades, as far as ney contributed to the ruin of the Greek Empire; and he would carcely be able to restrain his curiosity from making some inquiry to the state of the city of Rome, during the darkness and confusion

the middle ages. As I have ventured, perhaps too hastily, to commit to the press, a ork, which, in every sense of the word, deserves the epithet of imerfect, I consider myself as contracting an engagement to finish, ost probably in a second volume, the first of these memorable eriods; and to deliver to the Public the complete history of the Deine and Fall of Rome, from the age of the Antonines, to the subersion of the Western Empire. With regard to the subsequent eriods, though I may entertain some hopes, I dare not presume to ve any assurances. The execution of the extensive plan which I uve described, would connect the ancient and modern history of the 'orld;

but it would require many years of health, of leisure, and of



BENTINCK-ST., Feb. 1, 1776.

IN Brita sign 22. 23; artil legic The and mati Mind the N

[ See Preface to Vol. II. of this Edition.]


[BIOGRAPHIC NOTICE. The grandfather and father of Edward ibbon were both in Parliament. At Putney, near London, on April , O.S. 1737, the future historian was born, a sickly child. In 1749 he is entered at Westminster School; and, April 3, 1752, he matriculated,

a gentleman commoner, at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he ent, “unprofitably," he declares, fourteen months. His course of ading induced him to join the Catholic church in London ; which so inoyed his father, that, with scant allowance, he was sent to live in e family of a Calvinistic clergyman at Lausanne, whose instruction

wrought on his pupil, that“ on full conviction” he rejoined the cotestant church on Dec. 25, 1754. The first and the last love of

G. was Miss Curchod, which his parent disapproving, she became e wife of M. Neckar, the mother of Madame de Staël, but continued roughout the literary correspondent of the historian. In 1759 Gibbon turned home; in 1761 he produced, in French, a work on “the study of

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CHAP. I.The Extent and military Force of the Empire, in the Age

of the Antonines.

INTRODUCTION, 17. Moderation of Augustus, 18. Conquest of

Britain, 19; of Dacia, 20; conquests of Trajan in the East re-

signed by Hadrian, 21; contrast of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius,

Military establishment of the Roman emperors : discipline,

23; exercises, 24; the legions, arms, 25; cavalry, 26; auxiliaries,

artillery, encampment, 27; march, number and disposition of the

legions, 28; navy, 29; amount of the whole establishment, 30.

The provinces of Spain, Gaul, 30; Britain, Italy, 31; the Danube

and Illyrian frontier, Rhætia, Noricum, and Pannonia, 32; Dal-

matia, Mæsia and Dacia, Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece, Asia

Minor, 33; Syria, Phænicia and Palestine, Egypt, 34; Africa,

the Mediterranean, 35; the Roman empire, 36.

CHAP. II.- Of the Union and internal Prosperity of the Roman Em-

pire in the Age of the Antonines.

Principles of government, 36; spirit of toleration at Rome, 37

—39. Freedom of Rome, Italy, the provinces, colonies, and

municipal towns, division of the Latin and the Greek provinces,

40–43. Use of both the Greek and Latin languages, 44. Slaves,

their treatment, numbers, 44–46. Populousness of the empire,

obedience and union, 47; Roman monuments, erected for pub-

lic use, temples, theatres, aqueducts, 50; number of the cities of

the empire, in Italy, Gaul and Spain, Africa, Asia, 51, 52 ; Roman

roads, posts, navigation, 52, 53; agriculture in the empire, 54;

introduction of the vine, the olive, flax, artificial grass, 54, 55;

general plenty, arts of luxury, 55; foreign trade, gold and silver,

55–57; decline of courage, of genius, 57, 58.

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222 Alexande:

'. III.--Of the Constitution of the Roman Empire in the Age of

the Antonines.

Idea of a monarchy, 59. Situation of Augustus; he reforms the

nate; his power; under the title of emperor or general, 59, 60.

he Roman generals, 61. Division of the provinces between the

nperor and the senate, 62; consular and tribunitian powers, 62;

perial prerogatives, 63; the magistrates; the senate, 64. The

perial system, 65; court of the emperors; deification, 65, 66.

itles of Augustus and Cæsar, 66; policy of Augustus, 67; image

liberty for the people, 67 ; attempts of the senate after the

ath of Caligula, 68. Image of government for the armies; their

bedience, 68. The race of the Cæsars, and Flavian family, 69.

doption and character of Trajan ; A. D. 117, of Hadrian; adop-
80 tion of the elder and younger Verus, 70, 71; adoption of
e two Antonines, 71. Reign of Pius and Marcus, 72. Hap-
ness of the Romans; its precarious nature, 73. Peculiar misery

the Romans under their tyrants, 74; insensibility of the Orien-

ls, 74; knowledge and free spirit of the Romans, 74; extent of

eir empire left them no place of refuge, 75.

?. IV.The Cruelty, Follies, and Murder of Commodus.-

ction of Pertinax.His Attempts to reform the State.--His

assination by the Prætorian Guards.

Indulgence of Marcus to his son Commodus, 76, 77. A. D. 180,

ccession of Commodus, 77; his character, 78. A. D. 183, is

ounded by an assassin, 78; hatred of Commodus towards the

enate, 79. A. D. 186, Perennis; revolt of Maternus, 80; Clean-

er; his avarice and cruelty, 81. A. D. 189, sedition and death of

leander, 82; dissolute pleasures of Commodus, 82; his low sports;

unting of wild beasts, 83; exhibits his skill in the amphitheatre,

4. His infamy; conspiracy of his domestics, 85. A. D. 192, death of

ommodus, 86; Pertinax emperor, 86; acknowledged, 87 ; legal

trisdiction of the senate over the emperors, 87. Virtues of Per-

nax; he endeavours to reform the state, 88, 89. Murder of Per-

nax by the Prætorians, 89, 90.

P. V.-Public Sale of the Empire to Didius Julianus by the

etorian Guards.-Clodius Albinus in Britain, Pescennius ŠNiger

Syria, and Septimus Severus in Pannonia, declare against the

rderers of Pertinax.Victory of Severus over his three Rivals.

elaxation of Discipline.New Maxims of Government.

Proportion of the military force to the number of the people, 90.

he Prætorian guards; their camp, strength, and confidence, 91.

hey offer the empire to sale; A. D. 193, it is purchased by Julian,

2, 93; Julian acknowledged by the senate, 93, 94.


lbinus, Pescennius Niger, Pannonia and Dalmatia, declare
gainst Julian, 94-96. Septimius Severus declared emperor by
ne Pannonian legions; he marches into Italy, 96, 97. Distress of

ulian, who is executed by order of the senate, 98, 99. Disgrace

f the Prætorian guards, 99; apotheosis of Pertinax, 99; suc-

197 cess of Severus against Niger and Albinus, 100. Arts of

Feverus towards Niger and Albinus, 100, 101; siege of Byzan-

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