Who's Edward Gibbon?
So I'm in the pub enjoying a Christmas drink. And someone who's just moved into the area is asking people where the best pubs are. But he also wants to recommend. So he says, "I like the pub in Fletching; do you know Fletching?" And I say, "Sure, where Edward Gibbon's buried." And he looks blank. So I mention The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but he's still in the dark. This man isn't someone from a video-games generation; he's got white hair. But he's never heard of this "damned thick square book". Can you credit it?
Now I think Gibbon, like many 18th-century people, had an over-rosy view of the Romans. This is partly why he wrote the thing: to him they weren't Christian, and thus perhaps more "rational". And he wouldn't have had a sense, as someone like Nietzsche would have, of just how much even in that rejection he was keeping of the Christian worldview. (This is perhaps why Gibbon pitches his tent on the relatively peaceful Antonines.)
I think William Morris imaginatively speaking nailed what the Romans were about in The House of the Wolfings
And Caesar, these days, would qualify as a war-criminal for what he did in Gaul.
Nevertheless, you don't have to approve of Gibbon's viewpoint to know of him -- and of the cultural and historical impact of his work. I'd imagined some knowledge of him, however superficial, was part of living in an English-speaking society. Surely even the film Gladiator - tripe as it is - with that old drunkard Richard Harris as a rather cuddly Marcus Aurelius draws on a Gibbonian view of the Antonines. But I was mistaken I guess.
Last edited by Lewis; 12-24-2012 at 06:01 AM.
Yeah, the Romans were sooooooooooo civilized, soooooooooooo civilized. In other words, don't get me started - I know I won't finish this year and I don't want to start a new year with ... the Romans. It would be utter barbarity.
BTW, I have a huge problem with getting knowledge of history from the movies or literature.
Did you just get home when you wrote this? It seems like ponderings caught in the twilight betw. intoxication and meditation. But yes, even I wd. have known both the book by the author and vise versa. Just a good old boy cracking a down-home grin in the Midwest (with no offense intended). Interesting post.
Last edited by Terry H; 12-24-2012 at 06:18 AM.
Heh I had to read those as part of a political science class, the dick teacher sat there with the class of about 12 or so of us and would randomly grab one, flip to a page, read a sentence or two and we were supposed to tell him what the pages around it were about... he did that as a final. Guy was a piece of work.
"Now I'm just another anonymous shut-in with an online shopping addiction." - Georgina Sparks.
"I puked like a hero for the rest of the night." - Anthony Bourdain, 2002.
"Brain: an apparatus with which we think that we think." - Ambrose Bierce
Bwahaha this forum is a source for a constant stream of literal laugh out louds for me
Originally Posted by JoanieL
Are those monkeys saying "WHO?" if so, I'd better hang from that rope
with them, cuz I have no clue who Edward Gibbon is either.
Why are the nipples on the one surrounded by a bullseye watermark?
Originally Posted by JoanieL
Obviously a womenz - someone is about to shoot it because now that
she's bore a son, who needs her anymore?
It is the copyright shading, which is only removed from the image when you enter the code indicating that you have paid for the right to reproduce the image.
Originally Posted by ryanmercer