Barbarism and Religion: Volume 3, The First Decline and Fall by J. G. A. Pocock

By J. G. A. Pocock

'Barbarism and Religion'--Edward Gibbon's personal phrase--is the name of an acclaimed series of works through John Pocock designed to situate Gibbon, and his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in a sequence of contexts within the historical past of eighteenth-century Europe. this can be a significant intervention from one of many world's major historians of rules, tough the inspiration of anyone 'Enlightenment' and positing in its place a plurality of enlightenments, of which the English was once one. during this 3rd quantity within the series, the 1st Decline and Fall, John Pocock deals an historic advent to the 1st fourteen chapters of Gibbon's nice paintings, arguing that Decline and Fall is a phenomenon of 'ancient' background. Having set out classical and Christian histories facet by way of facet, and contemplating Enlightened historiography because the partial get away from either, Pocock eventually turns his incisive lens on Gibbon's textual content itself. J.G.A Pocock is a prize-winning historian of political, together with ancient, notion and discourse. He has been lively when you consider that 1984 in founding and directing the Folger Institute middle for the historical past of British Political notion on the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, for which he edited The types of British Political notion, 1500-1800 (Cambridge, 1993). His paintings has enthusiastic about the early smooth interval, yet he's lively additionally within the background of recent Zealand, the place he comes from. different books he has written comprise Barbarism and faith, I: The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon; II: Narratives of Civil executive (Cambridge, 1999), advantage, trade and background (Cambridge, 1985), and Machiavellian Monument (Princeton, 1975).

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Womersley, , , p. [].  The First Decline and Fall the destruction of Carthage was the occasion of a famous prophecy that Rome’s greatness also would come to an end, and there was a rhetoric which equated the expansion of empire with its self-destruction. If Gibbon, fixing himself at the unsteady date of  , was daunted by the prospect of relating the decline and fall of the empire, Livy had before him, though he does not here mention, the decline and fall of the republic, and we do not know how far he was reassured by Augustus as saviour of society.

Syme, , passim.  Since we do not have the whole of his work, we cannot say how this worked out in practice. We have, almost in full, five books on the Civil Wars of Rome, which were to have ended with the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium; and this, says Appian, will serve as prelude to his history of Egypt – which, again, we do not have but which was presumably a full history of Roman dealings with the Ptolemaic dynasty. The narrative and the point of view would certainly have been Roman throughout, but Appian’s willingness to tell each story separately gives some hint that he was aware of the experience of the conquered as well as the conquerors.

The legacy of Tacitus was hugely stimulating and hugely problematic; while in ensuing chapters we shall see medieval and Renaissance historians wrestling with the no less problematic legacy of Sallust. () The ‘year of the four emperors’ had a prehistory which could and should be written. Tacitus therefore turned back in time and in his next work, known to us as the Annals, constructed a history (most of which we have) running from the death of Augustus to the death of Nero, when the earlier-written Histories take up the story.

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