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Old 01-25-2008, 10:49 PM   #1
shousa
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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

As I understand it, it is still the main textbook on this subject even though it was written in the 1800s.

However due to all the footnotes free ebook versions are not formatted well enough and for me it is unreadable.

Can anyone recommend a good version to buy or a free version?

If no-one can I am willing to spend a lot of time (and it will take a long time because it has many pages and footnotes) in making my own version and then share it with you all. I don't want to do all that work if a good version already exists, however.

It is one of the main reasons I bought the ebook reader because the whole set itself costs around $200 aussie and I was just about to fork over the cash when I thought again about getting an ebook reader.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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Isn't decline and fall available from connect? Here's a shorter history of rome
Attached Files
File Type: lrf A Shorter History of Rome - Lawrence, Eugene_57.lrf (7.77 MB, 186 views)
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Isn't decline and fall available from connect?
They have a three volume set put out by Random House for $4.70 per volume.

Fictionwise has the same Random House set in LIT and they also have a six volume version in Multiformat.
http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/Ed...bboneBooks.htm

Last edited by AnemicOak; 01-25-2008 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:43 PM   #4
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And the book is older than you think: the first volume was published in 1776 (- the same year as Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations).
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Old 01-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
They have a three volume set put out by Random House for $4.70 per volume.

Fictionwise has the same Random House set in LIT and they also have a six volume version in Multiformat.
http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/Ed...bboneBooks.htm
Thanks a lot for that
, I did not know of that set. I bought them for less than $4 at www.booksonboard.com.

They are formatted perfectly with many "illustrations".
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Old 01-26-2008, 12:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by shousa View Post
As I understand it, it is still the main textbook on this subject even though it was written in the 1800s.
Not really; it still has this role in the popular imagination insofar that deals with the "decline" of the Western Roman Empire, but most of its theses have been thoroughly rebuffed and discredited. It's still an entertaining read as historical fiction and attack on Christianity, but not if you want to understand the complicated history of those times.

And the dismissal of Byzantium (a vibrant Christian civilization that stood against terrible attacks for a very long while) is nothing short of ignorant and prejudiced. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 under the Islamic Jihad of the Ottomans after being severely weakened by the Catholic Crusades of the "Franks" (after all the Byzantines were infidel dogs or unrepentant heretics) was nothing short of cataclysmic and represented the final fall of Rome in many eyes.
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
Not really; it still has this role in the popular imagination insofar that deals with the "decline" of the Western Roman Empire, but most of its theses have been thoroughly rebuffed and discredited. It's still an entertaining read as historical fiction and attack on Christianity, but not if you want to understand the complicated history of those times.

And the dismissal of Byzantium (a vibrant Christian civilization that stood against terrible attacks for a very long while) is nothing short of ignorant and prejudiced. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 under the Islamic Jihad of the Ottomans after being severely weakened by the Catholic Crusades of the "Franks" (after all the Byzantines were infidel dogs or unrepentant heretics) was nothing short of cataclysmic and represented the final fall of Rome in many eyes.
Really there was no "empire" when Constantinople fell as this link shows but I do understand your point:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Byzantium1430.JPG

Your views that his book is incorrect are strong. Is that the Christian view only?

Is it really a waste of time to read? (after I just bought it...) Anyone like to contribute their thoughts?
How about a poll?
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shousa View Post
Really there was no "empire" when Constantinople fell as this link shows but I do understand your point:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Byzantium1430.JPG

Your views that his book is incorrect are strong. Is that the Christian view only?

Is it really a waste of time to read? (after I just bought it...) Anyone like to contribute their thoughts?
How about a poll?
Regarding Constantinopole, of course there was no empire remaining in 1453 and to a large extent the name of Byzantine or Roman (as they called themselves) Empire was misleading after Heraclius was defeated by the surging Muslim armies just when his brilliant victory in the decades war against the Persian Empire seemed to have ensured the supremacy of the (Eastern) Roman Empire - historical circumstance meant that the surging Arab armies walked over both Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire in the 630's and only the strong walls of Constantinopole and its powerful fleet stopped them.

There are many books about Byzantium that correct Gibbon's misleading description; JJ Norwich has a trilogy (summarized also in one volume) that I found best for popular reading being quite accurate historically too.

Regarding Gibbon's description of the fall of the Western Empire, there are many modern books that rebut him, though there is no one particularly definitive book as far as I know and there are various theories of what happened; the book itself is quite entertaining though and it's definitely worth reading since the factual events presented were as accurate as known in Gibbon's times following the surviving historical accounts.

Now of course through various studies much, much more is known and the whole "fall of the empire" is sometimes regarded as a misleading description. After all in 476 a puppet emperor was deposed by a high ranking german officer who sent his crown to Constantinople and proclaimed himself the ruler of Italy in the name of the Eastern Emperor. And not much changed in Italy for a while, until Justinian's attempts to reattach the province to his effective rule in the 530's which led to the terrible war with the Ostrogoths that devastated Italy.

Similarly the other Western provinces were only fictionally ruled from Italy in 476, with the Visigoths, Vandals, Franks, Burgunds, Huns and various other people actually forming their own kingdoms, principalities and so on inside what had once been the Western Empire, process that had started well in the late 300's (especially with the Huns emergence from Asia and their push of the Germanic tribes West, led to a massive influx of german refugees inside imperial border) and then when the terrible winter of 405/6 and the frozen Rhine led to the decisive invasion that saw the Germanic tribes installed for good in former imperial territory

So the situation was very complex and in Gibbon's time only some part of it was understood. But all in all, the book is still worth reading and it deserves its reputation being very entertaining and a "page turner" so to speak. So in my opinion the book is definitely a worthwhile and enjoyable read; what I would object to is regarding its conclusions as "definitive" and then the treatment of Byzantium as a degenerate state and not worthwhile writing about, which is so misleading and inaccurate to be almost laughable.
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Old 01-27-2008, 03:21 AM   #9
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Thanks for such a comprehensive answer - I am sure many will find that informative.

I am looking for .lit versions nor JJ Norwich now.
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