Constantine has just reunited the Roman Empire under a single head and is now expanding his new seat in Byzantium into what will become Constantinople.  At this stage of Roman civilization he can’t find artists capable of making suitable statues so he plunders Greece for its old ones.


Source — Edward Gibbon.

8 thoughts on “NEWS FLASH

  1. About to read the unabridged version as soon as I finish Tom Holland’s “Rubicon.” I plan on a slow read with plenty of maps and references. Want to get it right.

    • Holland’s book looks as though it would be a perfect prologue to Gibbon, who makes constant reference to the days of the Roman republic as he charts its dissolution into tyranny and chaos. Gibbon’s prose, elegant though complex, pretty much enforces a slow read, but I’m finding that once you get the rhythm and style of it, it’s really quite enjoyable. Good maps would help a lot, too — there’s a vast amount of territory to comprehend. Coordinating other reference material might be problematic, since there’s so damned much information packed into every page of Gibbon. There’s something to be said for just letting him take you on the ride unaided.

  2. I have that three-volume set of Gibbon, taken from my father’s shelves, complete with his underlining (and awaiting my attention).

    • It’s the set I’m reading — the Heritage Press edition from 1946, which is based on the Bury edition. Bury has been superseded from a scholarly perspective by Womersley, whose edition is available in a three-volume paperback set from Penguin, though Bury’s edition is still considered respectable. The Heritage edition in good condition can be found easily online for around $50, which is about what the Penguin paperback set goes for — I decided to go with the handsomer hardback set. The Folio Sociey also offers a handsome edition but it doesn’t include all of Gibbon’s delightful and amusing marginal notes, which are essential.

    • It’s most timely, recording as it does how a great republic can destroy itself. One quote will suffice to link it to the present day in America — “Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom.”

  3. One could receive a college, no, a life’s education just by following your commentaries. Thanks for such in-depth research regarding everything you post.

    • My reading is pretty scatter-shot , but I do tend to get obsessed with particular subjects.

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