Edward Gibbon

17 Jun, 2021 900 History

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of one of the great historians, best known for his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published 1776-89). According to Gibbon (1737-94) , the idea for this work came to him on 15th of October 1764 as he sat musing amidst the ruins of Rome, while barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter. Decline and Fall covers thirteen centuries and is an enormous intellectual undertaking and, on publication, it became a phenomenal success across Europe. The image above is of Edward Gibbon by Henry Walton, oil on mahogany panel, 1773.

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  • David Womersley 2 episodes
    The Thomas Wharton Professor of English Literature at St Catherine's College, University of Oxford
  • Charlotte Roberts No other episodes
    Lecturer in English at University College London
  • Karen O'Brien 16 episodes
    Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Gibbon
    J. W. Burrow (Oxford University Press, 1985) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Edward Gibbon
    Karen O'Brien and Brian Young (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Barbarism and Religion
    J. G. A. Pocock (Cambridge University Press, 1999-2015) Google Books →
  • Edward Gibbon: Making History
    Roy Porter (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988) Google Books →
  • Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History
    Charlotte Roberts (Oxford University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness 1680-1790
    Ritchie Robertson (Allen Lane, 2020) Google Books →
  • The Transformation of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
    David Womersley (Cambridge University Press, 1988) Google Books →
  • The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
    Edward Gibbon (ed. David Womersley) (Penguin, 1994) Google Books →
  • The Death of the Moth and Other Essays
    Virginia Woolf (Martino Fine Books, first published 1942; Martino Fine Books, 2014) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m000x0v2

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000x0v2

Auto-category: 900 (History and geography)