Inspired during a trip to Rome to write a work that would come to define a large portion of his life, Gibbon proceeded to write one of the most ambitious histories in the English language. "The History" is an epic narrative, comprised of six volumes, that covers thirteen centuries of Roman history. Beginning after Marcus Aurelius in 180 and concluding in 1453, Gibbon provides both the broad pattern and the illuminating details of this time period, covering an enormous number of characters and topics with insightful precision. The general objective of this history is to mark the gradual fall of the Roman Empire, stating many reasons for Rome's decay, from political decisions to religious behavior. Published between 1776 and 1788, "The History" has all of the detached irony and objective quality of eighteenth century prose, and it is additionally praised for its extensive and accurate use of reference materials. Gibbon's use of citations became the precursor to today's footnotes, providing entertaining commentary on both ancient Rome and the Great Britain of his own time. Now called the 'modern historian of ancient Rome,' Gibbon's bold work has become the model of most modern historians. Contained here is volume I of VI, representing chapters I through XV and is extensively annotated by H. H. Milman.
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