Friday, March 12, 2010

Aimless Reading: The G's, Part 5 (Edward Gibbon)

Gibbon, Edward
The Decline & Fall
of the Roman Empire

Purchased at Rust Belt Books and read for my oral exams in graduate school. It has one note in it, in my handwriting, on the title page:

1. Humors
2. Humours

I have no idea what it means, other than to distinguish between British and American variants of the spelling of said term. Although I do recall at one point thinking that either or one of these might be a good book title, so maybe I was thinking about that and playing with the idea of using the British variant to make it a little strange and foreign. Whatever it was, it's lost to history now. Sort of like the Roman Empire.

from The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire

In the second century of the Christian era the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth and the most civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government, During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth.

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