Friday, February 17, 2017

Wonder Bread and Political Circuses: Are We Rome Yet?

by Meg Sonata

A new book is shaking up the academic empire of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. That masterpiece of history is available now through the Gutenberg Project. Its complete title is 


Edward Gibbon, Esq.

With notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman

Complete Contents

1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised)

For the first time maybe readers may pay attention to the date of composition for this classic: 1782, just six years following the founding of the United States of America, when the British Empire was under a siege of rebellion. . 

Now, an impressive British author lends his pen to a subject which was often considered conquered and owned by Gibbon. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians is authored by Peter Heather and published by Oxford University Press. This volume creates a new duality: Instead of "Decline and Fall," readers are prompted to examine "Rome and the Barbarians" together.  

Before anyone feels it necessary to lecture readers on identity, diversity, and multiculturalism,   provides the derivation of "barbarian" at this blog address: <>. "Barbarian" originally referred to anyone who did not speak Greek. To Greek ears, foreign languages sounded like "bar-bar." 

Peter Heather offers expertise in his subject for an obvious reason: He has also written Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe; The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders; The Goths; and The Visigoths from the Migration Period to the Seventh Century: An Ethnographic Perspective--enough literary adventures to last until the Fourth of July. 

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