On This Day

Edward Gibbon

Historian Edward Gibbon

Profession: Historian


Biography: Considered the English giant of the Enlightenment, Edward Gibbon is best known for writing "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

The six volume series published between 1776 and 1788 is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organised religion.

He was also a Member of Parliament.

Born: May 8, 1737
Birthplace: Putney, England
Star Sign: Taurus

Died: January 16, 1794 (aged 56)
Cause of Death: Peritonitis

Historical Events

  • 1764-10-15 Edward Gibbon observes a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspires him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • 1776-02-17 1st volume of Edward Gibbon's seminal work "The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire" published

Quotes by Edward Gibbon

  • "The five marks of the Roman decaying culture:

    1. Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth;
    2. Obsession with sex and perversions of sex;
    3. Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original;
    4. Widening disparity between very rich and very poor;
    5. Increased demand to live off the state." - Rome, Culture
  • "In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again." - Ancient Greece, Freedom
  • "The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators." - Navigation
  • "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful." - Religion

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