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It is n variety, a
treat; sir ness of tł as I have
the Histo perhaps and limit
“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.
thirteen solid fab into the
I. Thế and the
THIS EDITION HAS BEEN CAREFULLY EDITED BY
full stres will exte
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
INTRODUCTION, 17. Moderation of Augustus, 18. Conquest of
221 ate luxur
itles of Augustus and Cæsar, 66; policy of Augustus, 67; image
liberty for the people, 67 ; attempts of the senate after the
doption and character of Trajan ; A. D. 117, of Hadrian; adop-
the Romans under their tyrants, 74; insensibility of the Orien-
lbinus, Pescennius Niger, Pannonia and Dalmatia, declare