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PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.
This edition of the 'History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' is distinguished by a correct text, the verification of the references to ancient writers, and corrective and supplementary notes. On each of these points a few words of explanation are necessary.
I. The text is carefully reprinted from the last quarto edition corrected by the Author. The work was originally published in six volumes quarto; of which the first appeared in 1776, the second and third in 1781, and the three last in 1788. The first edition of the three last volumes was the only one revised by Gibbon, and in the reprints of the second and third volumes he made hardly any alterations; but the later editions of the first volume differ considerably from the earlier ones. The edition of the first volume published in 1782 is the one from which that portion of the work is here reprinted; but as it contains several typographical errors which do not occur in the first edition, it has been collated with the latter. It is almost unnecessary to state that the text of the original has been faithfully preserved; and the Editor has not allowed himself to introduce any changes even in orthography, except in the case of evident misprints, and of a few modern names, of which the more correct forms are now substituted for those employed by the Author. It seemed pedantic to retain, for instance, such words as Nieater and Teyss, when custom had sanctioned the use of the correct orthography.
II. The references to the ancient writers in Gibbon's notes are of great value to the scholar and the historical student. Their value, however, is considerably diminished by their being frequently made to old editions, the divisions of which no longer correspond to those in general use. Moreover, notwithstanding Gibbon's extreme accuracy, the numerals in his references are not always correct; at which no one will feel surprised who has had experience in the composition or printing of a work containing numerous references, and who knows the difficulty, or rather the impossibility, of guarded