Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire lasted for a long time. Thus, a work tracing the details of the empire takes up a lot of space. Gibbons focuses on the Empire itself, leaving out the history of Rome before it became an "empire".

I listened to the audiobook which alternated between the actual text of Gibbon and brief synopses of abridements. Alas, this gave it an encyclopedic tone and broke the narrative flow. It seemed as if they were intentionally trying to make it boring with the abridgment and musical interludes.

One point that I did get from his work is that he considers the institutionalization of Christianity as a primary factor leading to the empire's fall. Ironically, this institution lead to the one remaining empire emanating from Rome, the Catholic church. This religious "empire" ended up supplanting the remnants of the worldly one in Constantinople. Maybe Rome is doing right after all.

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