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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 hay? presumed to lay before the public a firsz volume only of the History of the Decline and Fall of . . . Empire, it will perhaps he expected that I should explain, in a few words, the nature and limits of my general
la - - - P o able series of revolutions, which, in the course of he memor - dermined about thirteen centuries, gradually undermined, and at, length destroyed, the solid, fabric of human ore” so moy, with some pro . 'be ; vided into the three follow...g. periods: * i. first of these periods may be traced from the age of Traian and the Antonines, when the Roman monarchy, having att *: it full strength and naturity, began to yerge towards it aned 1 s and will extend to the subversion of the western eo o to barbarians of Gero. o i.thia, the rude ..o.o. opioio...'..."...w...”. .."; evolution, which so...'....”. a G o ..aueror, was complet ed about the beginning of the sixth century. - ; ne and Fall of Rome m ii. The second period of the Decl:. of Justinian, who i. su. ... commence with the reo d a trans y his l ppose ii as by his victori restored a transient splenaws, as we n - *iol comprehend the invasion of dour to the eastern “mpire. It wil of the Asiatic and African Italy by the o: .. oquo. ... the religion of Mahomet; provinces by #: R S, who embra o 1st the feeble princes of Con. i. of o to o ago forlemagne, who, in the year 8o . ; hed th i ion of C empire, of the west. o, established the second, or ger 2. eriods includes about six III. The last and longest of thee 1 of the western empire, till centuries and a half; from the revivorks, and the extinction of the taking of Constantinople by the T oued to assume the titles a degenerate race of princes, wh;"22"...inions were contracted to §§o after their do. 1anguage, as well as mano: single city, in whij, to 10ng since forgotten. The acts, of the ancient Romans, had jee”
"rite; who should undertake to relate the events of this period, would find himself obliged to enterij, the general history of the **sades, as far as they contributed to jo the Greek empire; and he would soarcely be able to restrain his curiosity from making some inquiry into the state of the city of Rome, during the darkness and confusion of the middle ages.
As I have ventured, Perhaps too hastily, to commit to the press * work, which, in every sens of the word, deserves the epithet of impersect, I consider "yself as contracting an engagement to finish, most probably, in a jej volume, the first of these onorable periods; and to deliver to the public the complete History of the Decline and F all of Rome, from the age of the Antonines to the subversion of the western empire. With regard to the subsequent Periods, though I may entertain some hopes, I dare not P'o", to give any assurances. The execution of the extensive plan which i have described would connect the ancient and modern history of the World; but it would require many years of health, of leisure, and of perseverance.
BENTINCR STREET, FEB. 1, 1776.
P.S.—The entire History, which is now published, of the Pecline and Fall of the Roon Empire in the West, abundantly discharges my engagements with the public. Perhaps their favourable opinion may encourage me to prosecute a work, which, however laborious it may seem, is the most agreeable occupation of my leisure hours.
BosTinck Street, Manch 1, 1781
An author easily persuades himself that the public opinion is still favourable to his labours; and I have now embraced the serious resolution of proceeding to the last period of my original design, and of the Roman empire, the taking of .."...ople by the Turks, in the year 1453. The most patient rea i; Vvho computes that three ponderous volumes have been h: ready employed on the events of four centuries, may, *os; be alarmed at the long prospect of nine hundred years... out it is not my intention to expatiate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the Byzantine history. At our o: §: this period, the reign of Justinian, and the conquests of | ". one: fans, will deserve and detain our attention ; and the o: *ge of Constantinople (the crusades and the Turks) is . ed with the revolutions of modern Europe. F rom the . d b to the eleventh century, the obscure interval will be o: into concise narrative of such facts as may still appear ei esting or important.
BENTINCE STREET, MARCH 1, 1782.
THE History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is now delivered to the public in a more convenient form. Some alterations and improments had presented themselves to my mind; but I was unwilling to injure or offend the purchasers of the preceding editions. The accuracy of the corrector of the press has been already tried and approved; and, perhaps, I may stand excused, if, amidst the avocations of a busy winter, I have preferred the pleasures of composition and study to the minute
diligence of revising a former publication.
BENTIN co- STREET, APRIL 20, 1783.
FACE TO THE FIRST VOLUME.
PRE l h ... a accuracy are the only merits, which an histori oo:::::::it: to . if any merit indeed can be o i.o. 1-1 nance of an indispo. duty. a' *ay therefore i. .. o say: that I have carefully,onio all the original e allowe t could illustrate the subject which I had undermaterials the . Should I ever complete the extensive design taken to o in sketched out in the Preface, I might perhaps which has. with a critical account of the authors consulted conclude,” rogress of the whole work; and however such an during o }. incur the censure of .." I od ... "...i. be susceptible of ...tertainment, as well as intormation. f with a single observation.
At present I shall content my so of Diocletian and ConThe biographers, who, under the i.d, the lives of the emperors stantine, composed, or rather comp” re usually mentioned under jiadrian to the sons of Caru 52 al is Capitolinus, AElius Lamthe names of Ælius Spartianus ius Polio, and Flavius Vojdius, Vulcatius Goiticanus, fr. 12.1exity in the titles of the iiscus." But there is so much eosen among the critics (see MSS, and so many disputes havé **C.) concerning their numFabrícius, Biblioth. Latin, lib. iii 2a P",3roperty, that for the most bor, their names, and their respectix.2.Éotion under the general part I have quoted them without 21ía Žistory. and well-known title of the Auguszz”
be given in its proper plate. *...* The Preface to the Fourth Volume w
CONTE N T S
CHAPTER I.--THE *TENT AND MILITARY Force or * AGE OF THE ANTonings.
INTRODUCTION - - - - e
Pacific System of Hadrian and the two Antonines
Military Establishment of the Roman Emperors.
Discipline . - - -
AN3 - - - - - -
Spain . - - - - - -
THE EMPIRE, nu