Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon FRS (/ˈɡɪbən/; 8 May 1737[1][2] – 16 January 1794) was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its polemical criticism of organised religion.[3]

Edward Gibbon
Edward Emily Gibbon
Portrait, oil on canvas, of Edward Gibbon by Sir Joshua Reynolds (date unknown)
Member of Parliament for Lymington
In office
Preceded bySamuel Salt
Edward Eliot
Succeeded bySamuel Salt
Wilbraham Tollemache
Member of Parliament for Liskeard
In office
Preceded byHarry Burrard
Thomas Dummer
Succeeded byHarry Burrard
William Manning
Personal details
Born8 May 1737
Putney, Surrey, England
Died16 January 1794 (aged 56)
London, England
Political partyWhig
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford

Early life: 1737–1752

Edward Gibbon was born in 1737, the son of Edward and Judith Gibbon at Lime Grove, in the town of Putney, Surrey. He had six siblings: five brothers and one sister, all of whom died in infancy. His grandfather, also named Edward, had lost all of his assets as a result of the South Sea Bubble stock market collapse in 1720, but eventually regained much of his wealth. Gibbon's father was thus able to inherit a substantial estate.[4] One of his grandparents, Catherine Acton, descended from Sir Walter Acton, 2nd Baronet.

As a youth, Gibbon's health was under constant threat. He described himself as "a puny child, neglected by my Mother, starved by my nurse". At age nine, he was sent to Dr. Woddeson's school at Kingston upon Thames (now Kingston Grammar School), shortly after which his mother died. He then took up residence in the Westminster School boarding house, owned by his adored "Aunt Kitty", Catherine Porten. Soon after she died in 1786, he remembered her as rescuing him from his mother's disdain, and imparting "the first rudiments of knowledge, the first exercise of reason, and a taste for books which is still the pleasure and glory of my life".[5] By 1751, Gibbon's reading was already extensive and certainly pointed toward his future pursuits: Laurence Echard's Roman History (1713), William Howel(l)'s An Institution of General History (1680–85), and several of the 65 volumes of the acclaimed Universal History from the Earliest Account of Time (1747–1768).[6]

Oxford, Lausanne, and a religious journey: 1752–1758

Following a stay at Bath in 1752 to improve his health, at the age of 15 Gibbon was sent by his father to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was enrolled as a gentleman-commoner. He was ill-suited, however, to the college atmosphere and later rued his 14 months there as the "most idle and unprofitable" of his life. Because he himself says so in his autobiography, it used to be thought that his penchant for "theological controversy" (his aunt's influence) fully bloomed when he came under the spell of the deist or rationalist theologian Conyers Middleton (1683–1750), the author of Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers (1749). In that tract, Middleton denied the validity of such powers; Gibbon promptly objected, or so the argument used to run. The product of that disagreement, with some assistance from the work of Catholic Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627–1704), and that of the Elizabethan Jesuit Robert Parsons (1546–1610), yielded the most memorable event of his time at Oxford: his conversion to Roman Catholicism on 8 June 1753. He was further "corrupted" by the 'free thinking' deism of the playwright/poet couple David and Lucy Mallet;[7] and finally Gibbon's father, already "in despair," had had enough. David Womersley has shown, however, that Gibbon's claim to having been converted by a reading of Middleton is very unlikely, and was introduced only into the final draft of the "Memoirs" in 1792–93.[8] Bowersock suggests that Gibbon fabricated the Middleton story retrospectively in his anxiety about the impact of the French Revolution and Edmund Burke's claim that it was provoked by the French philosophes, so influential on Gibbon.

Within weeks of his conversion, the adolescent was removed from Oxford and sent to live under the care and tutelage of Daniel Pavillard, Reformed pastor of Lausanne, Switzerland. It was here that he made one of his life's two great friendships, that of Jacques Georges Deyverdun (the French-language translator of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther), and that of John Baker Holroyd (later Lord Sheffield). Just a year and a half later, after his father threatened to disinherit him, on Christmas Day, 1754, he reconverted to Protestantism. "The various articles of the Romish creed," he wrote, "disappeared like a dream".[9] He remained in Lausanne for five intellectually productive years, a period that greatly enriched Gibbon's already immense aptitude for scholarship and erudition: he read Latin literature; travelled throughout Switzerland studying its cantons' constitutions; and studied the works of Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, John Locke, Pierre Bayle, and Blaise Pascal.

Thwarted romance

Edward Gibbon by Henry Walton cleaned
Edward Gibbon, by Henry Walton

He also met the one romance in his life: the daughter of the pastor of Crassy, a young woman named Suzanne Curchod, who was later to become the wife of Louis XVI's finance minister Jacques Necker, and the mother of Madame de Staël. The two developed a warm affinity; Gibbon proceeded to propose marriage,[10] but ultimately wedlock was out of the question, blocked both by his father's staunch disapproval and Curchod's equally staunch reluctance to leave Switzerland. Gibbon returned to England in August 1758 to face his father. There could be no refusal of the elder's wishes. Gibbon put it this way: "I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son."[11] He proceeded to cut off all contact with Curchod, even as she vowed to wait for him. Their final emotional break apparently came at Ferney, France in early 1764, though they did see each other at least one more time a year later.[12]

First fame and the grand tour: 1758–1765

Keep of Portchester Castle, 2008
Portchester Castle came under Gibbon's command for a brief period while he was an officer in the Hampshire militia.[13]

Upon his return to England, Gibbon published his first book, Essai sur l'Étude de la Littérature in 1761, which produced an initial taste of celebrity and distinguished him, in Paris at least, as a man of letters.[14] From 1759 to 1770, Gibbon served on active duty and in reserve with the South Hampshire militia, his deactivation in December 1762 coinciding with the militia's dispersal at the end of the Seven Years' War.[15] The following year he embarked on the Grand Tour, which included a visit to Rome. In his autobiography Gibbon vividly records his rapture when he finally neared "the great object of [my] pilgrimage":

...at the distance of twenty-five years I can neither forget nor express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first approached and entered the eternal City. After a sleepless night, I trod, with a lofty step the ruins of the Forum; each memorable spot where Romulus stood, or Tully spoke, or Caesar fell, was at once present to my eye; and several days of intoxication were lost or enjoyed before I could descend to a cool and minute investigation.[16]

And it was here that Gibbon first conceived the idea of composing a history of the city, later extended to the entire empire, a moment known to history as the "Capitoline vision":[17]

It was at Rome, on the fifteenth of October 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted fryars were singing Vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the City first started to my mind.[18]

Womersley (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p. 12) notes the existence of "good reasons" to doubt the statement's accuracy. Elaborating, Pocock ("Classical History," ¶ #2) refers to it as a likely "creation of memory" or a "literary invention", given that Gibbon, in his autobiography, claimed that his journal dated the reminiscence to 15 October, when in fact the journal gives no date.

Early career: 1765–1776

In June 1765, Gibbon returned to his father's house, and remained there until the latter's death in 1770.[19] These years were considered by Gibbon as the worst five of his life, but he tried to remain busy by making early attempts towards writing full histories. His first historical narrative known as the History of Switzerland, which represented Gibbon's love for Switzerland, was never published nor finished. Even under the guidance of Deyverdun (a German translator for Gibbons), Gibbon became too critical of himself, and completely abandoned the project, only writing 60 pages of text.[20] However, after Gibbon's death, his writings on Switzerland's history were discovered and published by Lord Sheffield in 1815. Soon after abandoning his History of Switzerland, Gibbon made another attempt towards completing a full history.

His second work, Memoires Litteraires de la Grande Bretagne, was a two-volume set which described the literary and social conditions of England at the time, such as Lord Lyttelton's history of Henry II and Nathaniel Lardner's The Credibility of the Gospel History.[21] Gibbon's Memoires Litteraires failed to gain any notoriety, and was considered a flop by fellow historians and literary scholars.

Blue Plaque - Edward Gibbon
Blue plaque to Gibbon on Bentinck Street, London

After tending to his father's estate—which was by no means in good condition—there remained quite enough for Gibbon to settle fashionably in London at 7 Bentinck Street, free of financial concern. By February 1773, he was writing in earnest, but not without the occasional self-imposed distraction. He took to London society quite easily, joined the better social clubs, including Dr. Johnson's Literary Club, and looked in from time to time on his friend Holroyd in Sussex. He succeeded Oliver Goldsmith at the Royal Academy as 'professor in ancient history' (honorary but prestigious). In late 1774, he was initiated as a Freemason of the Premier Grand Lodge of England.[22]

He was also, perhaps least productively in that same year, 1774, returned to the House of Commons for Liskeard, Cornwall through the intervention of his relative and patron, Edward Eliot.[23] He became the archetypal back-bencher, benignly "mute" and "indifferent," his support of the Whig ministry invariably automatic. Gibbon's indolence in that position, perhaps fully intentional, subtracted little from the progress of his writing. Gibbon lost the Liskeard seat in 1780 when Eliot joined the opposition, taking with him "the Electors of Leskeard [who] are commonly of the same opinion as Mr. El[l]iot." (Murray, p. 322.) The following year, owing to the good grace of Prime Minister Lord North, he was again returned to Parliament, this time for Lymington on a by-election.[24]

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: 1776–1788

After several rewrites, with Gibbon "often tempted to throw away the labours of seven years," the first volume of what was to become his life's major achievement, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published on 17 February 1776. Through 1777, the reading public eagerly consumed three editions, for which Gibbon was rewarded handsomely: two-thirds of the profits, amounting to approximately £1,000.[25] Biographer Leslie Stephen wrote that thereafter, "His fame was as rapid as it has been lasting." And as regards this first volume, "Some warm praise from David Hume overpaid the labour of ten years."

Volumes II and III appeared on 1 March 1781, eventually rising "to a level with the previous volume in general esteem." Volume IV was finished in June 1784;[27] the final two were completed during a second Lausanne sojourn (September 1783 to August 1787) where Gibbon reunited with his friend Deyverdun in leisurely comfort. By early 1787, he was "straining for the goal" and with great relief the project was finished in June. Gibbon later wrote:

It was on the day, or rather the night, of 27 June 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden...I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.[28]

Volumes IV, V, and VI finally reached the press in May 1788, their publication having been delayed since March so it could coincide with a dinner party celebrating Gibbon's 51st birthday (the 8th).[29] Mounting a bandwagon of praise for the later volumes were such contemporary luminaries as Adam Smith, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Lord Camden, and Horace Walpole. Smith remarked that Gibbon's triumph had positioned him "at the very head of [Europe's] literary tribe."

In November of that year, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, the main proposer being his good friend Lord Sheffield.[30]

Later years: 1789–1794

Gibbon memorial tablet 1
Gibbon's memorial tablet on the Sheffield Mausoleum in Fletching parish church

The years following Gibbon's completion of The History were filled largely with sorrow and increasing physical discomfort. He had returned to London in late 1787 to oversee the publication process alongside Lord Sheffield. With that accomplished, in 1789 it was back to Lausanne only to learn of and be "deeply affected" by the death of Deyverdun, who had willed Gibbon his home, La Grotte. He resided there with little commotion, took in the local society, received a visit from Sheffield in 1791, and "shared the common abhorrence" of the French Revolution.

In a letter to Lord Sheffield on 5 February 1791, Gibbon praised Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France:

Burke's book is a most admirable medicine against the French disease, which has made too much progress even in this happy country. I admire his eloquence, I approve his politics, I adore his chivalry, and I can even forgive his superstition...The French spread so many lyes about the sentiments of the English nation, that I wish the most considerable men of all parties and descriptions would join in some public act declaring themselves satisfied with, and resolved to support, our present constitution.[31]

In 1793, word came of Lady Sheffield's death; Gibbon immediately left Lausanne and set sail to comfort a grieving but composed Sheffield. His health began to fail critically in December, and at the turn of the new year, he was on his last legs.

Gibbon is believed to have suffered from an extreme case of scrotal swelling, probably a hydrocele testis, a condition which causes the scrotum to swell with fluid in a compartment overlying either testicle.[32][33] In an age when close-fitting clothes were fashionable, his condition led to a chronic and disfiguring inflammation that left Gibbon a lonely figure.[34] As his condition worsened, he underwent numerous procedures to alleviate the condition, but with no enduring success. In early January, the last of a series of three operations caused an unremitting peritonitis to set in and spread, from which he died.

The "English giant of the Enlightenment"[35] finally succumbed at 12:45 pm, 16 January 1794 at age 56. He was buried in the Sheffield Mausoleum attached to the north transept of the Church of St Mary and St Andrew, Fletching, East Sussex,[36] having died in Fletching while staying with his great friend, Lord Sheffield. Gibbon's estate was valued at approx. £26,000. He left most of his property to cousins. As stipulated in his will, Sheffield oversaw the sale of his library at auction to William Beckford for £950.[37]


Gibbon's work has been criticised for its scathing view of Christianity as laid down in chapters XV and XVI, a situation which resulted in the banning of the book in several countries. Gibbon's alleged crime was disrespecting, and none too lightly, the character of sacred Christian doctrine, by "treat[ing] the Christian church as a phenomenon of general history, not a special case admitting supernatural explanations and disallowing criticism of its adherents". More specifically, the chapters excoriated the church for "supplanting in an unnecessarily destructive way the great culture that preceded it" and for "the outrage of [practising] religious intolerance and warfare".[38]

Gibbon, in letters to Holroyd and others, expected some type of church-inspired backlash, but the utter harshness of the ensuing torrents far exceeded anything he or his friends could possibly have anticipated. Contemporary detractors such as Joseph Priestley and Richard Watson stoked the nascent fire, but the most severe of these attacks was an "acrimonious" piece by the young cleric, Henry Edwards Davis.[39] Gibbon subsequently published his Vindication in 1779, in which he categorically denied Davis' "criminal accusations", branding him a purveyor of "servile plagiarism."[40] Davis followed Gibbon's Vindication with yet another reply (1779).

Edward Gibbon's central thesis, that Rome fell due to embracing Christianity, is not accepted by mainstream scholars today.[41][42]

Gibbon's apparent antagonism to Christian doctrine spilled over into the Jewish faith, leading to charges of anti-Semitism.[43] For example, he wrote:

From the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but also of humankind.[44]

Gibbon is considered to be a son of the Enlightenment and this is reflected in his famous verdict on the history of the Middle Ages: "I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion."[45] However, politically, he aligned himself with the conservative Edmund Burke's rejection of the democratic movements of the time as well as with Burke's dismissal of the "rights of man."[46]

Gibbon's work has been praised for its style, his piquant epigrams and its effective irony. Winston Churchill memorably noted, "I set out upon...Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [and] was immediately dominated both by the story and the style. ...I devoured Gibbon. I rode triumphantly through it from end to end and enjoyed it all."[47] Churchill modelled much of his own literary style on Gibbon's. Like Gibbon, he dedicated himself to producing a "vivid historical narrative, ranging widely over period and place and enriched by analysis and reflection."[48]

Unusually for the 18th century, Gibbon was never content with secondhand accounts when the primary sources were accessible (though most of these were drawn from well-known printed editions). "I have always endeavoured," he says, "to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend."[49] In this insistence upon the importance of primary sources, Gibbon is considered by many to be one of the first modern historians:

In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the 'History' is unsurpassable. It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive...Whatever its shortcomings the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period.[50]

The subject of Gibbon's writing, as well as his ideas and style, have influenced other writers. Besides his influence on Churchill, Gibbon was also a model for Isaac Asimov in his writing of The Foundation Trilogy, which he said involved "a little bit of cribbin' from the works of Edward Gibbon".[51]

Evelyn Waugh admired Gibbon's style, but not his secular viewpoint. In Waugh's 1950 novel Helena, the early Christian author Lactantius worried about the possibility of "'a false historian, with the mind of Cicero or Tacitus and the soul of an animal,' and he nodded towards the gibbon who fretted his golden chain and chattered for fruit."[52]

J. C. Stobart, author of The Grandeur that was Rome (1911), wrote of Gibbon that "The mere notion of empire continuing to decline and fall for five centuries is ridiculous...this is one of the cases which prove that History is made not so much by heroes or natural forces as by historians."

Monographs by Gibbon

  • Essai sur l’Étude de la Littérature (London: Becket & De Hondt, 1761).
  • Critical Observations on the Sixth Book of [Vergil's] 'The Aeneid' (London: Elmsley, 1770).
  • The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (vol. I, 1776; vols. II, III, 1781; vols. IV, V, VI, 1788–1789). all London: Strahan & Cadell.
  • A Vindication of some passages in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London: J. Dodsley, 1779).
  • Mémoire Justificatif pour servir de Réponse à l’Exposé, etc. de la Cour de France (London: Harrison & Brooke, 1779).

Other writings by Gibbon

  • "Lettre sur le gouvernement de Berne" [Letter No. IX. Mr. Gibbon to *** on the Government of Berne], in Miscellaneous Works, First (1796) edition, vol. 1 (below). Scholars differ on the date of its composition (Norman, D.M. Low: 1758–59; Pocock: 1763–64).
  • Mémoires Littéraires de la Grande-Bretagne. co-author: Georges Deyverdun (2 vols.: vol. 1, London: Becket & De Hondt, 1767; vol. 2, London: Heydinger, 1768).
  • Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq., ed. John Lord Sheffield (2 vols., London: Cadell & Davies, 1796; 5 vols., London: J. Murray, 1814; 3 vols., London: J. Murray, 1815). Includes Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Edward Gibbon, Esq..
  • Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon, ed. John Murray (London: J. Murray, 1896). EG's complete memoirs (six drafts) from the original manuscripts.
  • The Private Letters of Edward Gibbon, 2 vols., ed. Rowland E. Prothero (London: J. Murray, 1896).
  • The works of Edward Gibbon, Volume 3 1906.
  • Gibbon's Journal to 28 January 1763, ed. D.M. Low (London: Chatto and Windus, 1929).
  • Le Journal de Gibbon à Lausanne, ed. Georges A. Bonnard (Lausanne: Librairie de l'Université, 1945).
  • Miscellanea Gibboniana, eds. G.R. de Beer, L. Junod, G.A. Bonnard (Lausanne: Librairie de l'Université, 1952).
  • The Letters of Edward Gibbon, 3 vols., ed. J.E. Norton (London: Cassell & Co., 1956). vol. 1: 1750–1773; vol. 2: 1774–1784; vol. 3: 1784–1794. cited as 'Norton, Letters'.
  • Gibbon's Journey from Geneva to Rome, ed. G.A. Bonnard (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1961). journal.
  • Edward Gibbon: Memoirs of My Life, ed. G.A. Bonnard (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1969; 1966). portions of EG's memoirs arranged chronologically, omitting repetition.
  • The English Essays of Edward Gibbon, ed. Patricia Craddock (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972); hb: ISBN 0-19-812496-1.

See also


Most of this article, including quotations unless otherwise noted, has been adapted from Stephen's entry on Edward Gibbon in the Dictionary of National Biography.[53]


  1. ^ O.S. 27 April
  2. ^ Gibbon's birthday is 27 April 1737 of the old style (O.S.) Julian calendar; England adopted the new style (N.S.) Gregorian calendar in 1752, and thereafter Gibbon's birthday was celebrated on 8 May 1737 N.S.
  3. ^ The most recent and also the first critical edition, in three volumes, is that of David Womersley. For commentary on Gibbon's irony and insistence on primary sources whenever available, see Womersley, "Introduction". While the larger part of Gibbon's caustic view of Christianity is declared within the text of chapters XV and XVI, Gibbon rarely neglects to note its baleful influence throughout the remaining volumes of the Decline and Fall.
  4. ^ D. M. Low, Edward Gibbon. 1737–1794 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1937), p. 7.
  5. ^ Norton, Letters, vol. 3, 10/5/[17]86, 45–48.
  6. ^ Stephen, DNB, p. 1130; Pocock, Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 29–40. At age 14, Gibbon was "a prodigy of uncontrolled reading"; Gibbon himself admitted an "indiscriminate appetite". p. 29.
  7. ^ Pocock, Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon. for Middleton, see pp. 45–47; for Bossuet, p. 47; for the Mallets, p. 23; Robert Parsons [or Persons], A Christian directory: The first booke of the Christian exercise, appertaining to resolution, (London, 1582). In his 1796 edition of Gibbon's Memoirs, Lord Sheffield claims that Gibbon directly connected his Catholic conversion to his reading of Parsons.  Womersley, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p. 9.
  8. ^ Womersley, Gibbon and the 'Watchmen of the Holy City': The Historian and His Reputation, 1776–1815 (Oxford University Press, 2002), as cited by G. M. Bowersock in The New York Review of Books, 25 November 2010, p. 56.
  9. ^ John Murray (ed.). The Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon. (London: John Murray, 1896), p. 137.
  10. ^ Norton, Biblio, p. 2;   Letters, vol. 1, p. 396. a concise summary of their relationship is found at 396–401.
  11. ^ Murray, p. 239. The phrase, "sighed [etc.]" alludes to the play Polyeucte by "the father of French tragedy," Pierre Corneille. Womersley, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p. 11.
  12. ^ Womersley, 11–12.
  13. ^ Goodall 2008, p. 38
  14. ^ In the Essai, the 24-year-old boldly braved the reigning philosoph[e]ic fashion to uphold the studious values and practices of the érudits (antiquarian scholars). Womersley, p. 11; and The Miscellaneous Works, First edition, vol. 2.
  15. ^ Womersley, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, pp. 11, 12. Gibbon was commissioned a captain and resigned a lieutenant colonel, later crediting his service with providing him "a larger introduction into the English world." There was further, the matter of a vast utility: "The discipline and evolutions of a modern battalion gave me a clearer notion of the phalanx and the legion; and the captain of the Hampshire grenadiers (the reader may smile) has not been useless to the historian of the Roman empire." Murray, p. 190.
  16. ^ Murray, pp. 266–267.
  17. ^ Pocock, "Classical History," ¶ #2.
  18. ^ Murray, p. 302.
  19. ^ Cecil, Algernon. Six Oxford thinkers: Edward Gibbon, John Henry Newman, R.W. Church, James Anthony Froude, Walter Pater, Lord Morley of Blackburn. London: John Murray, 1909, p. 59.
  20. ^ Cecil, Algernon. Six Oxford thinkers: Edward Gibbon, John Henry Newman, R.W. Church, James Anthony Froude, Walter Pater, Lord Morley of Blackburn. London: John Murray, 1909, p. 60.
  21. ^ Cecil, Algernon. Six Oxford thinkers: Edward Gibbon, John Henry Newman, R.W. Church, James Anthony Froude, Walter Pater, Lord Morley of Blackburn. London: John Murray, 1909, p. 61.
  22. ^ i.e., in London's Lodge of Friendship No. 3. see Gibbon's freemasonry.
  23. ^ "GIBBON, Edward (1737-94), of Bentinck St., London; Buriton, Hants; and Lenborough, Bucks". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  24. ^ Gibbon's Whiggery was solidly conservative: in favour of the propertied oligarchy while upholding the subject's rights under the rule of law; though staunchly against ideas such as the natural rights of man and popular sovereignty, what he referred to as "the wild & mischievous system of Democracy" (Dickinson, "Politics," 178–79). Gibbon also served on the government's Board of Trade and Plantations from 1779 until 1782, when the Board was abolished. The subsequent promise of an embassy position in Paris ultimately aborted, serendipitously leaving Gibbon free to focus on his great project.
  25. ^ Norton, Biblio, pp. 37, 45. Gibbon sold the copyrights to the remaining editions of volume 1 and the remaining 5 volumes to publishers Strahan & Cadell for £8000. The great History earned the author a total of about £9000.
  26. ^ Gibbon, Edward (1911). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 5. London. pp. 391–392.
  27. ^ Norton, Biblio, pp. 49, 57. Both Norton and Womersley (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p. 14) establish that vol. IV was substantially complete by the end of 1783.
  28. ^ Murray, pp. 333–334
  29. ^ Norton, Biblio, p. 61.
  30. ^ "Fellow Details". Royal Society. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  31. ^ J. E. Norton (ed.), The Letters of Edward Gibbon. Volume Three. 1784–1794. Letters 619–878 (London: Cassell, 1956), p. 216.
  32. ^ the term hydrocele specifies that the compartment is not connected to the peritoneal cavity, whereas the term inguinal hernia specifies a connecting passageway, however narrow. -ed.
  33. ^ Jellinek, EH (1999). "'Varnish the business for the ladies': Edward Gibbon's decline and fall" (PDF). J R Soc Med. 92 (7): 374–79. PMC 1297297. PMID 10615283. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  34. ^ After more than two centuries, the exact nature of Gibbon's ailment remains a bone of contention. Patricia Craddock, in a very full and graphic account of Gibbon's last days, notes that Sir Gavin de Beer's medical analysis of 1949 "makes it certain that Gibbon did not have a true hydrocele...and highly probable that he was suffering both from a 'large and irreducible hernia' and cirrhosis of the liver." Also worthy of note are Gibbon's congenial and even joking moods while in excruciating pain as he neared the end. Both authors report this late bit of Gibbonian bawdiness: "Why is a fat man like a Cornish Borough? Because he never sees his member." see Womersley, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p. 16; Craddock, Luminous Historian, 334–342; and Beer, "Malady."
  35. ^ so styled by the "unrivalled master of Enlightenment studies," historian Franco Venturi (1914–1994) in his Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment (Cambridge: 1971), p. 132. See Pocock, Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, p. 6; x.
  36. ^ Sheffield Mausoleum
  37. ^ Womersley, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 17–18.
  38. ^ Craddock, Luminous Historian, p. 60; also see Shelby Thomas McCloy, Gibbon's Antagonism to Christianity (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1933). Gibbon, however, began chapter XV with what appeared to be a moderately positive appraisal of the Church's rise to power and authority. Therein he documented one primary and five secondary causes of the rapid spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire: primarily, "the convincing evidence of the doctrine itself, and... the ruling providence of its great Author;" secondarily, "exclusive zeal, the immediate expectation of another world, the claim of miracles, the practice of rigid virtue, and the constitution of the primitive church." (first quote, Gibbon in Craddock, Luminous Historian, p. 61; second quote, Gibbon in Womersley, Decline and Fall, vol. 1, ch. XV, p. 497.)
  39. ^ Henry Edwards Davis, An Examination of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of Mr. Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London: J. Dodsley, 1778). online.
  40. ^ See Gibbon monographs.
  41. ^ Pilkington, Nathan. "Five myths about the decline and fall of Rome". washingtonpost.com.
  42. ^ Paul Freedman, Yale University, HIST 201 lecture, from 28:01: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC8JcWVRFp8&t=1681
  43. ^ "CFCA – The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism". www.antisemitism.org.il.
  44. ^ Womersley, ed., Decline and Fall, vol. 1, ch. XVI, p. 516. see online Gibbon's first footnote here reveals even more about why his detractors reacted so harshly: In Cyrene, [the Jews] massacred 220,000 Greeks; in Cyprus, 240,000; in Egypt, a very great multitude. Many of these unhappy victims were sawed asunder, according to a precedent to which David had given the sanction of his examples. The victorious Jews devoured the flesh, licked up the blood, and twisted the entrails like a girdle around their bodies. see Dion Cassius l. lxviii, p. 1145. As a matter of fact, this is a verbatim citation from Dio Cassius, Historia Romana LXVIII, 32:1–3: The Jewish Uprising: Meanwhile the Jews in the region of Cyrene had put one Andreas at their head and were destroying both the Romans and the Greeks. They would cook their flesh, make belts for themselves of their entrails, anoint themselves with their blood, and wear their skins for clothing. Many they sawed in two, from the head downwards. Others they would give to wild beasts and force still others to fight as gladiators. In all, consequently, two hundred and twenty thousand perished. In Egypt, also, they performed many similar deeds, and in Cyprus under the leadership of Artemio. There, likewise, two hundred and forty thousand perished. For this reason no Jew may set foot in that land, but even if one of them is driven upon the island by force of the wind, he is put to death. Various persons took part in subduing these Jews, one being Lusius, who was sent by Trajan.
  45. ^ Womersley, Decline and Fall, vol. 3, ch. LXXI, p. 1068.
  46. ^ Burke supported the American rebellion, while Gibbon sided with the ministry; but with regard to the French Revolution they shared a perfect revulsion. Despite their agreement on the FR, Burke and Gibbon "were not specially close," owing to Whig party differences and divergent religious beliefs, not to mention Burke's sponsorship of the Civil List and Secret Service Money Act 1782 which abolished, and therefore cost Gibbon his place on, the government's Board of Trade and Plantations in 1782. see Pocock, "The Ironist," ¶: "Both the autobiography...."
  47. ^ Winston Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958), p. 111.
  48. ^ Roland Quinault, "Winston Churchill and Gibbon," in Edward Gibbon and Empire, eds. R. McKitterick and R. Quinault (Cambridge: 1997), 317–332, at p. 331; Pocock, "Ironist," ¶: "Both the autobiography...."
  49. ^ Womersley, Decline and Fall, vol. 2, Preface to Gibbon vol. 4, p. 520.
  50. ^ Stephen, DNB, p. 1134.
  51. ^ Groat, Brian. "Asimov on How to Be Prolific". Medium.com, 25 October 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2018
  52. ^ London: Chapman and Hall, 1950. Chapter 6, p. 122.
  53. ^ Original text:  "Gibbon, Edward" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  • Beer, G. R. de. "The Malady of Edward Gibbon, F.R.S." Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 7:1 (December 1949), 71–80.
  • Craddock, Patricia B. Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian 1772–1794. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989. HB: ISBN 0-8018-3720-0. Biography.
  • Dickinson, H.T . "The Politics of Edward Gibbon". Literature and History 8:4 (1978), 175–196.
  • Goodall, John (2008), Portchester Castle, London: English Heritage, ISBN 978-1-84802-007-8
  • Low, D. M., Edward Gibbon. 1737–1794 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1937).
  • Murray, John (ed.), The Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon. Second Edition (London: John Murray, 1897).
  • Norton, J. E. A Bibliography of the Works of Edward Gibbon. New York: Burt Franklin Co., 1940, repr. 1970.
  • Norton, J .E. The Letters of Edward Gibbon. 3 vols. London: Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1956.
  • Pocock, J. G. A. The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737–1764. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. HB: ISBN 0-521-63345-1.
  • Pocock, J. G. A. "Classical and Civil History: The Transformation of Humanism". Cromohs 1 (1996). Online at the Università degli Studi di Firenze. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  • Pocock, J. G. A. "The Ironist". Review of David Womersley's The Watchmen of the Holy City. London Review of Books 24:22 (14 November 2002). Online at the London Review of Books (subscribers only). Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  • Gibbon, Edward. Memoirs of My Life and Writings. Online at Gutenberg. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  • Stephen, Sir Leslie, "Gibbon, Edward (1737–1794)". In the Dictionary of National Biography, eds. Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. Oxford: 1921, repr. 1963. Vol. 7, 1129–1135.
  • Womersley, David, ed. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 3 vols. (London and New York: Penguin, 1994).
  • Womersley, David. "Introduction," in Womersley, Decline and Fall, vol. 1, xi–cvi.
  • Womersley, David. "Gibbon, Edward (1737–1794)". In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, eds. H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Vol. 22, 8–18.

Further reading

Before 1985

  • Beer, Gavin de. Gibbon and His World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1968. HB: ISBN 0-670-28981-7.
  • Bowersock, G. W., et al. eds. Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977.
  • Craddock, Patricia B. Young Edward Gibbon: Gentleman of Letters. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. HB: ISBN 0-8018-2714-0. Biography.
  • Jordan, David. Gibbon and his Roman Empire. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1971.
  • Keynes, Geoffrey, ed. The Library of Edward Gibbon. 2nd ed. Godalming, England: St. Paul's Bibliographies, 1940, repr. 1980.
  • Lewis, Bernard. "Gibbon on Muhammad". Daedalus 105:3 (Summer 1976), 89–101.
  • Low, D. M. Edward Gibbon 1737–1794. London: Chatto and Windus, 1937. Biography.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. "Gibbon's Contributions to Historical Method". Historia 2 (1954), 450–463. Reprinted in Momigliano, Studies in Historiography (New York: Harper & Row, 1966; Garland Pubs., 1985), 40–55. PB: ISBN 0-8240-6372-4.
  • Porter, Roger J. "Gibbon's Autobiography: Filling Up the Silent Vacancy". Eighteenth-Century Studies 8:1 (Autumn 1974), 1–26.
  • Stephen, Leslie, "Gibbon's Autobiography" in Studies of a Biographer, Vol. 1 (1898)
  • Swain, J. W. Edward Gibbon the Historian. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1966.
  • Turnbull, Paul (1982). "The Supposed Infidelity of Edward Gibbon". Historical Journal. 5: 23–41.
  • White, Jr. Lynn, ed. The Transformation of the Roman World: Gibbon's Problem after Two Centuries. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. HB: ISBN 0-520-01334-4.

Since 1985

  • Berghahn, C.-F., and T. Kinzel, eds., Edward Gibbon im deutschen Sprachraum. Bausteine einer Rezeptionsgeschichte. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2015.
  • Bowersock, G. W. Gibbon's Historical Imagination. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988.
  • Burrow, J. W. Gibbon (Past Masters). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985. HB: ISBN 0-19-287553-1. PB: ISBN 0-19-287552-3.
  • Carnochan, W. Bliss. Gibbon's Solitude: The Inward World of the Historian. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987. HB: ISBN 0-8047-1363-4.
  • Craddock, Patricia B. Edward Gibbon: a Reference Guide. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1987. PB: ISBN 0-8161-8217-5. A comprehensive listing of secondary literature through 1985. See also her supplement covering the period through 1997.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. "Gibbon Observed". Journal of Roman Studies 81 (1991), 132–156.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. "Gibbon's First Thoughts: Rome, Christianity and the Essai sur l'Étude de la Litterature 1758–61". Journal of Roman Studies 85 (1995), 148–164.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. "The Conception of Gibbon's History", in McKitterick and Quinault, eds. Edward Gibbon and Empire, 271–316.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. "Gibbon's Timeless Verity: Nature and Neo-Classicism in the Late Enlightenment," in Womersley, Burrow, Pocock, eds. Edward Gibbon: bicentenary essays.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. "Gibbon, Edward 1737–1794 British historian of Rome and universal historian," in Kelly Boyd, ed. Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999), 461–463.
  • Levine, Joseph M., "Edward Gibbon and the Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns," in Levine, Humanism and History: origins of modern English historiography (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987).
  • Levine, Joseph M. "Truth and Method in Gibbon's Historiography," in Levine, The Autonomy of History: truth and method from Erasmus to Gibbon (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999).
  • McKitterick, R., and R. Quinault, eds. Edward Gibbon and Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Norman, Brian. "The Influence of Switzerland on the Life and Writings of Edward Gibbon," in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century [SVEC] v.2002:03. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2002.
  • O'Brien, Karen. "English Enlightenment Histories, 1750–c.1815" in José Rabasa et al. eds. (2012). The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Volume 3: 1400-1800. OUP Oxford. pp. 518–35. ISBN 9780199219179.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link).
  • Pocock, J. G. A. Barbarism and Religion, 4 vols.: vol. 1, The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737–1764, 1999 [hb: ISBN 0-521-63345-1]; vol. 2, Narratives of Civil Government, 1999 [hb: ISBN 0-521-64002-4]; vol. 3, The First Decline and Fall, 2003 [pb: ISBN 0-521-82445-1]; vol. 4, Barbarians, Savages and Empires, 2005 [pb: ISBN 0-521-72101-6]. all Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Porter, Roy. Gibbon: Making History. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989, HB: ISBN 0-312-02728-1.
  • Turnbull, Paul. "'Une marionnette infidele': the Fashioning of Edward Gibbon's Reputation as the English Voltaire," in Womersley, Burrow, Pocock, eds. Edward Gibbon: bicentenary essays.
  • Womersley, David P. The Transformation of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. HB: ISBN 0-521-35036-0.
  • Womersley, David P., John Burrow, and J.G.A. Pocock, eds. Edward Gibbon: bicentenary essays. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1997. HB: ISBN 0-7294-0552-4.
  • Womersley, David P. Gibbon and the ‘Watchmen of the Holy City’: The Historian and His Reputation, 1776–1815. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. PB: ISBN 0-19-818733-5.

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Samuel Salt
Edward Eliot
Member of Parliament for Liskeard
With: Samuel Salt
Succeeded by
Samuel Salt
Wilbraham Tollemache
Preceded by
Harry Burrard
Thomas Dummer
Member of Parliament for Lymington
With: Harry Burrard
Succeeded by
Harry Burrard
William Manning
Division of Wakefield

The Division of Wakefield is an Australian electoral division in the state of South Australia. The 6,407 km² seat is a hybrid rural-urban electorate that stretches from Salisbury in the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide at the south of the seat right through to the Clare Valley at the north of the seat, 135 km from Adelaide. It includes the suburbs of Elizabeth, Craigmore, Munno Para, and part of Salisbury, and the towns of Balaklava, Clare, Freeling, Gawler, Kapunda, Mallala, Riverton, Tarlee, Virginia, Williamstown, and part of Port Wakefield.

The division was named after Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who promoted colonisation as a tool for social engineering, plans which formed the basis for settlements in South Australia, Western Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The division was one of the seven established when the multi-member Division of South Australia was redistributed into single-member seats on 2 October 1903. It was first contested at the 1903 federal election on very different boundaries. Two of the seat's former members of particular note have been the inaugural Speaker of the House and two-time Premier of South Australia, Frederick Holder, and Howard government two-term Speaker Neil Andrew.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (20 March 1796 – 16 May 1862) is considered a key figure in the early colonisation of South Australia and New Zealand.

Despite being imprisoned for three years in 1827 for kidnapping a fifteen-year-old girl, he enjoyed a distinguished political career.


Euric (Gothic: *Aiwareiks, see Eric), also known as Evaric, or Eurico in Spanish and Portuguese (c. 440 – 28 December 484), son of Theodoric I, ruled as king (rex) of the Visigoths, after murdering his brother, Theodoric II, from 466 until his death in 484. Sometimes he is called Euric II.

With his capital at Toulouse, Euric inherited a large portion of the Visigothic possessions in the Aquitaine region of Gaul, an area that had been under Visigothic control since 415. Over the decades the Visigoths had gradually expanded their holdings at the expense of the weak Roman government, including Euric's sieges of Clermont in 475 and 476, as well as advancing well into Hispania in the process.

Upon becoming king, Euric defeated several other Visigothic kings and chieftains in a series of civil wars and soon became the first ruler of a truly unified Visigothic nation. Taking advantage of the Romans' problems, he extended Visigothic power in Hispania, driving the Suevi into the northwest of Iberia. By the time the Western Roman Empire ended in 476 he controlled nearly the entire Iberian peninsula.

In 470 Euric defeated an attempted invasion of Gaul by the British king Riothamus and expanded his kingdom even further north, possibly as far as the Somme River, the March of Frankish territory.

Previous Visigothic kings had officially ruled only as legates of the Roman emperor but Euric was the first to declare his complete independence from the puppet emperors. In 475 he forced the Western Emperor Julius Nepos to recognize his full independence in exchange for the return of the Provence region of Gaul. The Roman citizens of Hispania then pledged their allegiance to Euric, recognizing him as their king. In the same year Clermont(-Ferrand) surrendered to him after a long siege, and its bishop, Sidonius Apollinaris, sued for peace.

Euric was one of the more learned of the great Visigothic kings and was the first German to formally codify his people's laws. The Code of Euric of 471 codified the traditional laws that had been entrusted to the memory of designated specialists who had learned each article by heart. He employed many Gallo-Roman nobles in his court such as Leo of Narbonne.

At Euric's death in 484 the Kingdom of the Visigoths encompassed all of Iberia, except for the region of Galicia ruled by the Suebi, and a third of modern France.

The fortune of nations has often depended on accidents; and France may ascribe her greatness to the premature death of the Gothic king, at a time when his son by his wife Ragnachildis, Alaric II was a helpless infant, and his adversary Clovis an ambitious and valiant youth.

Media related to Eurico at Wikimedia Commons

Fletching, East Sussex

Fletching is a village and civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England. It is located three miles (4.8 km) to the north-west of Uckfield, near one of the entrances to Sheffield Park. The A272 road crosses the parish. The settlement of Piltdown is part of the parish. The Piltdown Man discovery in 1912 was thought to be the 'missing-link' between humans and apes. The significance of the specimen remained controversial until, amidst great publicity, and much embarrassment in scientific circles, it was exposed as a forgery in 1953.

The hamlet of Sharpsbridge lies in the south of the parish.

It has an historic church of St. Andrew and St. Mary the Virgin dating from the twelfth century. Simon de Montfort prayed there before the Battle of Lewes. Historian Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) is interred in the Sheffield Mausoleum attached to the north transept of the church, having died in Fletching while staying with his great friend, John Baker-Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield.

In medieval times Fletching was a major producer of bows and arrows, many of which were used at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The school is Fletching CE Primary school. There are two public houses in Fletching: The Griffin Inn (which calls itself a gastropub) and The Rose and Crown. Nearby is The Piltdown Man at Piltdown (now called The Lamb).

The village was once the home of Jimmy Edwards (1920–1988).

James Howard-Johnston

James Douglas Howard-Johnston (born 12 March 1942), is an English historian of the Byzantine Empire. He was University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at the University of Oxford. He is an emeritus fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His approach on Byzantium follows that of Edward Gibbon and concentrates on comparisons between the Byzantine state and its Western counterparts. Also, Howard-Johnston has done much research on Late Antiquity, especially the Roman-Persian Wars and the Coming of Islam. He is married to the novelist Angela Huth.

Jerningham Wakefield

Edward Jerningham Wakefield (25 June 1820 – 3 March 1879), known as Jerningham Wakefield, was the only son of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. As such, he was closely associated with his father's interest in colonisation. He worked for the New Zealand Company and later was a member of the Canterbury Association. He was active as a politician in New Zealand, both at national and provincial level, but became an alcoholic and died penniless in an old people's home.

List of people from the City of Westminster

This is a list of people from the City of Westminster, England who have become known internationally in different roles and professions. The City of Westminster is a central London borough and is the wealthiest borough in England.

Adam Ant

Jane Asher

Alfred Jules Ayer

David Cameron

Tom Sandars

Benedict Arnold

Charles Babbage

Francis Beaufort

Jane Birkin

Isabella Blow

Bertie Carvel

Richard Tappin Claridge

William Coldstream

Wilkie Collins

Nipper Pat Daly

Cara Delevingne

Charles Dickens

Jacqueline du Pré

T. S. Eliot

Clement Freud

Gary Glitter

Edward Gibbon

Hughie Green

Richard Hammond

Alexander Hewat

Belinda Lang

Edward Lear

Christian Jessen


Jonathan Myles-Lea

Hayley Mills

Henry Neele

Annie Newton

Pitt the Elder

Elizabeth Press (1920–2008), immunologist

Stuart Price

Patrick Procktor

Corin Redgrave

George Reynolds

Wendy Richard

Daisy Ridley

Talulah Riley

Isabella Frances Romer

Dodie Smith

Stephen Spender

Cat Stevens

Stephen Ward

H. G. Wells

Charles Wesley

Norman Wisdom

Memoirs of My Life and Writings

Memoirs of My Life and Writings (1796) is an account of the historian Edward Gibbon's life, compiled after his death by his friend Lord Sheffield from six fragmentary autobiographical works Gibbon wrote during his last years. Lord Sheffield's editing has been praised for its ingenuity and taste, but blamed for its unscholarly aggressiveness. Since 1896 several other editions of the work have appeared, more in accordance with modern standards. Gibbon's Memoirs are considered one of the first autobiographies in the modern sense of the word, and have a secure place in the canon of English literature.

Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon

Let us do justice to that intrepid spirit, whose leaps have sometimes led to truth and whose very excesses, like popular rebellions, have struck salutary fears in the heart of the despot.

Let our thoughts be filled with all that we owe to the geometric spirit; but let us search for the spirit of philosophy, which is at once wiser than the one and more universal than the other.

The English historian Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) is known primarily as the author of the magisterial The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (6 vols., 1776–1789). Both the imposing length of and awesome erudition displayed in that work have understandably overshadowed his other literary achievements, many of which deserve to be noted in their own valuable capacities.

Outline of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The six-volume work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, authored by English historian Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) has been reprinted many times over the years in various editions.


Parisina is a poem written by Lord Byron. It was published on 13 February 1816 and probably written between 1812 and 1815.

It is based on a story related by Edward Gibbon in his Miscellaneous Works about Niccolò III d'Este, one of the dukes of Ferrara who lived in the 15th century. Niccolò found out that Parisina Malatesta, his second wife, had an incestuous relationship with his bastard son Ugo and subsequently had both of them put to death.

In Byron's poem, Parisina and Hugo were engaged to be married before Azo (Byron's version of Niccolò) decided to marry her. Also, Azo sentences Hugo only to death – Parisina's fate is unknown, except for the fact that she is forced to witness Hugo's execution and utters a shriek that indicates approaching madness.

Patricia Craddock

Patricia B. Craddock is an American author and professor of English. She is a noted expert on the historian Edward Gibbon, the author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Craddock has published a two-volume biography, Young Edward Gibbon: Gentleman of Letters (Johns Hopkins, 1982) and Edward Gibbon: "Luminous" Historian (Johns Hopkins, 1989).

Craddock was formerly chair of the Department of English at Boston University. She came to the University of Florida as Professor and Chair of English Department in 1988 and served as chair of the department until 1994. She was also named a Distinguished Professor. Craddock has also taught at the University of Montevallo, Connecticut College, and Goucher College, and has been a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the 1997–98 Catherine and Herbert Yardley Professor at the University of Florida. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities senior fellowships, an American Council of Learned Societies grant-in-aid, and a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Craddock was published two of the annual volumes of the journal Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture as editor. She also served on the editorial boards of South Atlantic Review (1996–98), The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual (1992–present), and the Georgia Smollett edition (1997–present) and is English Book Review editor of The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography.

Shrigley abduction

The Shrigley abduction was an 1826 British case of a forced marriage by Edward Gibbon Wakefield to the 15-year-old heiress Ellen Turner of Pott Shrigley. The couple were married in Gretna Green, Scotland, and travelled to Calais, France, before Turner's father was able to notify the authorities and intervene. The marriage was annulled by Parliament, and Turner was legally married two years later, at the age of 17, to a wealthy neighbour of her class. Both Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his brother William, who had aided him, were convicted at trial and sentenced to three years in prison.

Sir William Guise, 5th Baronet

Sir William Guise, 5th Baronet (1737 – 6 April 1783), was a British politician who accompanied Edward Gibbon on his Grand Tour of Italy and sat in the House of Commons between 1770 and 1783.

Guise was the son of Sir John Guise, 4th Baronet of Elmore Court and Rendcombe, Gloucestershire and his wife Jane Saunders, daughter of John Saunders of Mongewell, Oxfordshire. He entered Lincoln's Inn and Queen's College, Oxford in 1754 and was awarded MA on 29 October 1759. Between 1763 and 1765 he undertook the Grand Tour when he met Edward Gibbon at Lausanne and accompanied him to Italy “in great harmony and good humour”. He succeeded his father in the baronetcy in 1769.In August 1770 Guise was returned unopposed as Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire and held the seat until his death. He is reported to have spoken only twice in Parliament.Guise was unmarried and the baronetcy became extinct on his death on 6 April 1783. His estates were inherited by a relative John Guise of Highnam, who was created a baronet the same year.


Tumgan (Turkshad, Turksanf, Ta'n han, Turxanthos, Turxath) was a shad (governor prince) of the Turkic Empire (also called Göktürk) in the late 6th century. According to Edward Gibbon his name may be a title rather than a proper name.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon. It traces Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–1789.The six volumes cover the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire among other things.

Gibbon’s work remains a great literary achievement and a very readable introduction to the period, but considerable progress has since been made in history and archaeology, and his interpretations no longer represent current academic knowledge or thought.


Thorismund (also Thorismod or Thorismud, as manuscripts of our chief source confusingly attest) (c. 420–453), became king of the Visigoths after his father Theodoric was killed in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (also called Battle of Châlons) in 451 CE. He was murdered in 453 and was succeeded by his brother Theodoric II.

Thorismund appears to have played a pivotal role in the Battle of Châlons as he led a contingent of the Visigoth forces in capturing an important summit at the very early stages of the conflict. The summit seems to have extended to the whole of the left flank of the Ostrogoth and Hun forces. Thorismund descended from the hills during the late stages of the conflict, when the Huns had prevailed over the Alans, and the Ostrogoths were pushing the disorganized Visigoths after the death of their king Theodoric. Thorismund led his force of Visigoths in a decisive charge which, according to Edward Gibbon, flanked both the Ostrogoths and subsequently the Huns and snatched the victory from his enemies.

Wakefield (surname)

Wakefield is an English surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Andrew Wakefield (born 1957), former British bowel surgeon known for fraudulent research

Captain Arthur Wakefield (1799–1843), who died in the Wairau Affray, brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield

Charity Wakefield (born 1980), English actress

Charles Wakefield, 1st Viscount Wakefield of Hythe (1859–1941), British peer and founder of Castrol

Daniel Wakefield (1776–1846), writer on political economy

Daniel Bell Wakefield (1798–1858), son of Edward Wakefield

Edward Wakefield (1774–1854), English philanthropist and statistician

Edward Wakefield (New Zealand politician) (1845–1924), son of Felix Wakefield, New Zealand politician and journalist

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796–1862), influential theorist on colonization

Edward Wakefield (British politician) (1903–1969), British civil servant and Conservative Member of Parliament

Elsie Maud Wakefield (1886–1972), English mycologist

Felix Wakefield (1807–1875), brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield

George William Wakefield (1887–1942), British comics author

Gilbert Wakefield (1756–1801), English scholar and controversialist

Howard Wakefield (1884–1941), American baseball player

Hugh Wakefield (1888–1971), English actor

Humphry Wakefield (born 1936), English baronet

James Wakefield (1825–1910), United States politician

Jenn Wakefield (born 1989), Canadian ice hockey player

Jerningham Wakefield (1820–1879), son of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, New Zealand politician and author of Adventures in New Zealand

John Allen Wakefield (1797–1873), United States politician and military leader

John Peter Wakefield (1915–1942), British racing car driver

Norman Arthur Wakefield (1918–1972), Australian naturalist

Priscilla Wakefield (1751–1832), author

Rhys Wakefield, (born 1988), Australian actor

Richard Wakefield, American poet and literary critic

Robert Wakefield (died 1537), English linguist and scholar

H. Russell Wakefield, (1888–1964), English author

Peter Wakefield (disambiguation)

S. A. Wakefield (1927–2009), Australian author

Susan Wakefield, taxation expert from New Zealand

Tim Wakefield (born 1966), pitcher for the Boston Red Sox

Wavell Wakefield, 1st Baron Wakefield of Kendal (1898–1983), British politician

Colonel William Wakefield (1801–1848), who founded Wellington, New Zealand, brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield

Wakefield Street, Adelaide

Wakefield Street is a main thoroughfare in the centre of the South Australian capital, Adelaide.

It runs in east-west between East Terrace and Victoria Square, and is one of the three streets (along with Grote Street and King William Street) to run through Victoria Square in the middle of the Adelaide city centre. The same three streets are also the widest streets in the city centre, at 2 chains (130 ft; 40 m) wide (refer to Adelaide city centre#Layout).

The western end of Wakefield Street is continued across Victoria Square as Grote Street, which extends to West Terrace. The eastern end of Wakefield Street continues as Wakefield Road across the Adelaide Park Lands to Britannia Roundabout on the City Ring Route, Adelaide. Wakefield Road continues on the eastern side of the roundabout as Kensington Road.

The street was named after Daniel Bell Wakefield, the solicitor who drafted the Act which proclaimed Adelaide. Like his brother Edward Gibbon Wakefield, he was also involved in the South Australia Association in London, but never visited Adelaide.Businesses, buildings, schools, etc., on Wakefield Street include:

The Adelaide Metropolitan Fire Service

St Aloysius College, Adelaide

St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide

The studios of TV station ADS-10

Christian Brothers College, Adelaide

Our Boys' Institute building, now a boutique hotelThe Unitarian Christian Church which once stood opposite Francis Xavier's Cathedral was demolished in 1971 and replaced with a government building "Wakefield Tower".

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