The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (known popularly as The History) was written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788-89. The original volumes were published as quartos, a common publishing practice of the time. It stands as a major literary achievement of the 18th century.
The books cover the period of the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius, from 180 to 1453, concluding in 1590. They take as their material the behaviour and decisions that led to the decay and eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the East and West, offering an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell.
Gibbon is sometimes called the first 'modern historian of ancient Rome.' By virtue of its mostly objective approach and highly accurate use of reference material, Gibbon's work was adopted as a model for the methodologies of 19th and 20th century historians. His pessimism and detached use of irony was common to the historical genre of his era.
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