Anybody who has read Edward Gibbon
's famous book "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" had to be amazed that the most powerful nation on Earth at the time committed suicide "through the insidious poison of free bread and circuses." Today, we would call that "poison" government welfare and the government's endorsement and support of immoral activity like making pot and late-term abortions.
| 1737: Edward Gibbon
, English historian who wrote The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, was born in London.
1737: Edward Gibbon
, historian who wrote The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, was born in London.
On Friday evenings, Johnson and Reynolds would meet to dine and drink until midnight in a private room with such worthies as Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith, and Edward Gibbon
. Eventually, their weekly revels morphed into what is now known as the London Literary Society, but Johnson and his companions simply referred to "the Club." The hurdles to entry were high--James Boswell was black-balled until 1773 because the other members viewed him as a scapegrace trading on his friendship with Johnson.
So far he has followed the first part of Edward Gibbon
's advice that 'A reformer should be exempt from the suspicion of interest'.
Bevilacqua in his discussion of the Enlightenment vis-a-vis Islam takes Voltaire and Edward Gibbon
as representatives of that movement.
It was to him, writes Edward Gibbon
, that 'the title of conqueror of Africa is more justly due.....He marched from Damascus at the head of ten thousand of the bravest Arabs, and the genuine force of the Moslems was enlarged by the doubtful aid and conversion of many thousand barbarians.....The fearless Akbah plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of Fez and Morocco, and at length penetrated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert...
The Ashmolean's new exhibition 'Imagining the Divine' develops Brown's approach--now flourishing in academia--and presents it to a public perhaps still attached to Edward Gibbon
's narrative of decline and fall.
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." - Edward Gibbon
Bowdler then went on to expurgate Edward Gibbon
's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire of all passages of "an irreligious or immoral tendency." A decade after his death, Bowdler's name had become synonymous with censorship on moral grounds, and bowdlerize was used to describe the expurgation of literary works.
But maybe their experience with highly selected students--not just anybody can get into either Olin College or UIUC--reflects what Edward Gibbon
wrote in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: "The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous."