Gibbon - Table of Contents

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

by Edward Gibbon

This wiki includes a collection of quotations from the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon's work is superbly written and obviously apropos to life (and, alas, world events) today. See for a one-page version of The "Best" of Gibbon's Decline and Fall. See Gibbon_-_Thoughts_Upon_Reading for further commentary. See for the late Eugene Ho's set of favorite excerpts. See the Abacci Books Edward Gibbon page [1] for links to this and other free Gibbonic web sites.

Gibbon - Chapter 1

The Extent and Military Force of the Empire in the Age of the Antonines


Of the Union and Internal Prosperity of the Roman Empire, in the Age of the Antonines


Of the Constitution of the Roman Empire, in the Age of the Antonines (96 - 180 A.D.)


The Cruelty, Follies, and Murder of Commodus --- Election of Pertinax --- His Attempts to reform the State --- His Assassination by the Praetorian Guards (180 - 193 A.D.)

Chapter 5

Public Sale of the Empire to Didius Julianus by the Praetorian Guards --- Clodius Albanus in Britain, Pescennius Niger in Syria, and Septimus Severus in Pannonia, declare against the Murderers of Pertinax --- Civil Wars and Victory of Severus over his three Rivals --- Relaxation of Discipline --- New Maxims of Government (193 - 197 A.D.)

Chapter 6

The Death of Severus --- Tyranny of Caracalla --- Usurpation of Macrinus --- Follies of Elagabalus --- Virtues of Alexander Severus --- Licentiousness of the Army --- General State of the Roman Finances (208 - 235 A.D.)


The Elevation and Tyranny of Maximin --- Rebellion in Africa and Italy, under the Authority of the Senate --- Civil Wars and Seditions --- Violent Deaths of Maximin and his Son, of Maximus and Balbinus, and of the three Gordians --- Usurpation and secular Games of Philip (235 - 248 A.D.)

Chapter 8

Of the State of Persia after the Restoration of the Monarchy by Artaxerxes (165 - 240 A.D.)


The State of Germany till the Invasion of the Barbarians, in the time of the Emperor Decius


The Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian, and Gallienus --- The general Irruption of the Barbarians --- The thirty Tyrants (248 - 268 A.D.)


Reign of Claudius --- Defeat of the Goths --- Victories, Triumph, and Death of Aurelian (268 - 275 A.D.)


Conduct of the Army and Senate after the Death of Aurelian --- Reigns of Tacitus, Probus, Carus and his Sons 275 - 285 A.D.)


The Reign of Diocletian and his Three Associates, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius --- General Re-establishment of Order and Tranquility --- The Persian War, Victory, and Triumph --- The new Form of Administration --- Abdication and Retirement of Diocletian and Maximian (285 - 313 A.D.)

Chapter 14

Troubles after the Abdication of Diocletian --- Death of Constantius --- Elevation of Constantine and Maxentius --- Six Emperors of the same Time --- Death of Maximian and Galerius --- Victories of Constantine over Maxentius and Licinius --- Reunion of the Empire under the Authority of Constantine (305 - 324 A.D.)


The Progress of the Christian Religion, and the Sentiments, Manners, Numbers, and Condition of the Primitive Christians


The Conduct of the Roman Government towards the Christians, from the Reign of Nero to that of Constantine (180 - 313 A.D.)


Foundation of Constantinople --- Political System of Constantine and his Successors --- Military Discipline --- The Palace --- The Finances (300 - 500 A.D.)

Chapter 18

Character of Constantine --- Gothic War --- Death of Constantine --- Division of the Empire among his three sons --- Persian War --- Tragic Deaths of Constantine the Younger and Constans --- Usurpation of Magnentius --- Civil War --- Victory of Constantius (342 - 353 A.D.)


Constantius sole Emperor --- Elevation and Death of Gallus --- Danger and Elevation of Julian --- Sarmatian and Persian Wars --- Victories of Julian in Gaul (351 - 360 A.D.)


The Motives, Progress, and Effects of the Conversion of Constantine --- Legal Establishment and Constitution of the Christian or Catholic Church (306 - 438 A.D.)


Persecution of Heresy --- The Schism of the Donatists --- The Arian Controversy --- Athanasius --- Distracted State of the Church and Empire under Constantine and his Sons --- Toleration of Paganism (312 - 362 A.D.)


Julian is declared Emperor by the Legions of Gaul --- His March and Success --- The Death of Constantius --- Civil Administration of Julian (360 - 361 A.D.)


The Religion of Julian --- Universal Toleration --- He attempts to restore and reform the Pagan Worship --- To rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem --- His Artful Persecution of the Christians --- Mutual Zeal and Injustice (351 - 363 A.D.)


Residence of Julian at Antioch; his successful expedition against the Persians; passage of the Tigris; the retreat and death of Julian; election of Jovian; he saves the Roman army by a disgraceful peace treaty (314-390 A.D.)


The government and death of Jovian; election of Valentinian, who associates his brother Valens, and makes the final division of the Eastern and Western Empires; revolt of Procopius; civil and ecclesiastical administration; Germany; Britain; Africa; the East; the Danube; death of Valentinian; his two sons, Gratian and Valentinian II., succeeded to the Western Empire (343-384 A.D.)


Manners of the Pastoral Nations; Progress of the Huns from China to Europe; Flight of the Goths; Defeat and Death of Valens; Gratian invests Theodosius with the Eastern Empire; Peace and Settlement of the Goths (365-395 A.D.)


Death of Gratian; Ruin of Arianism; St. Ambrose; First Civil War, against Maximus; Character, Administration, and Penance of Theodosius; Death of Valentinian II; Second Civil War, against Eugenius; Death of Theodosius (340-397 A.D.)


Final Destruction of Paganism; Introduction of the Worship of Saints and Relics among the Christians (378-420 A.D.).


Final Division of the Roman Empire between the Sons of Theodosius; Reign of Arcadius and Honorius; Administration of Rufinus and Stilicho; Revolt and Defeat of Gildo in Africa (386-398 A.D.)


Revolt of the Goths; They plunder Greece; Two great Invasions of Italy by Alaric and Radagaisus; They are repulsed by Stilicho; The Germans overrun Gaul; Usurpation of Constantine in the West; Disgrace and Death of Stilicho (395-408 A.D.)


Invasion of Italy by Alaric; Rome is thrice besieged, and at length pillaged, by the Goths; death of Alaric; The Goths evacuate Italy; Fall of Constantine; Gaul and Spain occupied by the Barbarians; Independence of Britain (408-449 A.D.)


Arcadius Emperor of the East; Administration and Disgrace of Eutropius; Revolt of Gainas; persecution of St. John Chrysostom; Theodosius II Emperor of the East; The Persian War, and Division of Armenia (395-1453 A.D.)


Death of Honorius; Valentinian III Emperor of the West; Administration of his Mother Placidia; Aetius and Boniface; Conquest of Africa by the Vandals (423-455 A.D.)


The Character, Conquests, and Court of Attila, King of the Huns; Death of Theodosius the Younger; Elevation of Marcian to the Empire of the East (376-453 A.D.)


Invasion of Gaul by Attila; He is repulsed by Aetius and the Visigoths; Attila invades and evacuates Italy; the Deaths of Attila, Aetius, and Valentinian the Third (419-455 A.D.)


Sack of Rome by Genseric; His naval Depredations; Succession of the last Emperors of the West, Maximus, Avitus, Majorian, Severus, Anthemius, Olybrius, Glycerius, Nepos, Augustulus; Total Extinction of the Western Empire; Reign of Odoacer, the first Barbarian King of Italy (439-490 A.D.)


Plan of the Last Two [Quarto] Volumes; Succession and Characters of the Greek Emperors of Constantinople, from the Time of Heraclius to the Latin Conquest (641-1185 A.D.)


(correlates: GibbonChapter7, GibbonChapter29, GibbonChapter13, ...)