British historian Edward Gibbon.

Edward Gibbon

(1737 - 1794)

While in Rome in 1764, among “barefooted friars” singing “in the temple of Jupiter,” Edward Gibbon at the age of twenty-six received the inspiration to write his famous work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The historian published the first volume in February 1776, five months before the American Revolution, and published the final three volumes in May 1788, one year before the French Revolution.

All Writing

Style is the image of character.

—Edward Gibbon, c. 1789

Voices In Time

1453 | Constantinople

Regime Change

The curtain falls on the Roman Empire.More

According to the law of custom, and perhaps of reason, foreign travel completes the education of an English gentleman.

—Edward Gibbon, c. 1794

The various modes of religion which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosophers equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.

—Edward Gibbon, 1776

It has always been my practice to cast a long paragraph in a single mold, to try it by my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to suspend the action of the pen till I had given the last polish to my work.

—Edward Gibbon, c. 1790


“The death of a newborn child before that of its parents may seem an unnatural, but it is strictly a probable, event,” observed Edward Gibbon in his Memoirs. He was his parents’ first child; the next six all died in infancy. Some twenty years earlier, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “One half of the children who are born die before their eighth year…This is nature’s law; why contradict it?”

Issues Contributed