British parliamentarian and soldier Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) conceived of his plan for Decline and Fall while "musing amid the ruins of the Capitol" on a visit to Rome. For the next 10 years he worked away at his great history, which traces the decadence of the late empire from the time of the Antonines and the rise of Western Christianity. "The confusion of the times, and the scarcity of authentic memorials, pose equal difficulties to the historian, who attempts to preserve a clear and unbroken thread of narration," he writes. Despite these obstacles, Decline and Fall remains a model of historical exposition, and required reading for students of European history.
Charts the gradual collapse of Roman rule, from Augustus (23 BC to AD 14) to the first of the Barbarian kings, Odoacer (476-490 AD). It documents the corruption and depravity, and the great achievements of various emperors. The music includes overtures by Schumann and symphonies by Raff.
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