Gibbon's masterpiece on Rome is a monument of literature and a model of modern historical research. There has never been anything quite like it since its publication between 1776 and 1788. Although some of Gibbon's views are considered controversial today, there is no doubt that his research and patient devotion to scholarship produced one of the most valuable and renowned histories of all time.
Gibbon begins his story during the height of the Roman Empire under the Antonines. From there we are shown how the Roman civilization began a long, agonizing slide into chaos and debauchery. Although it is a story familiar to many, never has it been told with such panache and vigor. Volume one comes to an end with the accession of the Emperors Gratian and Valentinian II in the year A.D. 375.The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire will continue in Volumes two and three.
Very flowery, often non linear and confusing. I was going to listen to all the volumes, now i know i wont bother. Rubicon or the histroy of rome podcast is alot better. Its only saving grace is that the narrator is great.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you enjoy Roman History then you will love this book. Gibbon goes into excruciating detail to describe slow decline of the empire and the monumental steps toward the eventual fall.
There is a span of time before Diocletian that almost no Emperor was able to remain in power, or alive for that matter, for more than a year or two after assuming the purple.
It was very interesting to see the slow loss of impact that the city of Rome itself had on the empire. Several of the Emperors rarely if ever, even visited Rome. And I was amazed at how many non Italian born Roman Emperors that there were. With the emergence of Constantinople, Rome continued to slide somewhat into irrelevance.
The impact of Religion, particularly of the role of Christianity is discussed in great detail.
Even with the eventual fall of the empire, Europe, both Western and Eastern, to this day retains some striking resemblances to the Roman Empire.
Charlton Griffon is one of the premier narrators of audio books and he performs magnificently in this lengthy and detailed book.
Well worth the credit
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
A linear detailed presentation of a bunch of Roman Emperors and wannabe emperors after the reign of Marcus Aurelius for which you most likely have never heard of. There's no doubt Gibbon writes better than almost anyone ("all the German men were brave, and their women were chaste, and notwithstanding the latter of these virtues is acquired and preserved with much more difficulty than the former"), but there is a reason why the emperors after 150 AD to 300 AD are so little known today and are best just a footnote instead of the main story of a history.
Read at your own risk. Beautifully written, but comprehensive to the point of tedium. Beautifully read by narrator, but doesn't change the fact that the story leaves little impression with the listener.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful