Edward Gibbon and late antique literature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter surveys the reception of late antique literature in the works of Edward Gibbon, above all the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon is a fine illustration of eighteenth-century views of Late Antiquity, since his history is fundamentally a literary one and offers abundant comments on and acute responses to a very diverse range of literary works. Gibbon’s classicising preferences, and general underrating of Christian literature are linked to his perceptions of the phenomenon of decline. The chapter concludes with a test case of his treatment of Ammianus Marcellinus, who is treated as an artistic failure but a correspondingly admirable source.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBlackwell's Companion to Late Antique Literature
EditorsScott McGill, Ed Watts
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
ISBN (Electronic)9781118830352, 9781118830390
ISBN (Print)9781118830345
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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