The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1

  • by Edward Gibbon
  • Narrated by Bernard Mayes
  • 41 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Considered one of the finest historical works in the English language, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is lauded for its graceful, elegant prose style as much as for its epic scope. Remarkably accurate for its day, Gibbon's treatise holds a high place in the history of literature and remains an enduring subject of study. Gibbon's monumental work traces the history of more than 13 centuries, covering the great events as well as the general historical progression. This first volume covers A.D. 180 to A.D. 395, which includes the establishment of Christianity and the Crusades.


What the Critics Say

"[Gibbon] stood on the summit of the Renaissance achievement and looked back over the waste of history to ancient Rome, as from one mountain top to another." (Christopher Dawson)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I've been hanging on for an unabridged version of Gibbon for a while now and this well worth the wait. Some may find Bernard Mayes' delivery a little dry but the reprise of his slightly grandfatherly delivery from Herodotus' Histories suits Gibbon's prose perfectly. I'm not sure what edition is being used, I would guess it's the Penguin. The only gripe is that Gibbon's introduction is missing, as are the copious footnotes, but then constant digressions, as entertaining as they are in the original, probably wouldn't work in audio form. Highly recommended.
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- melmoth2

Great book, poor recording

What did you like about this audiobook?

This is one of the classics of the genre, and despite it's reputation for being dry and dusty is actually quite interesting with a wry sense of humour in places.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

I am already a great fan of books about Roman history, so reading one that is so important to books that came after just makes me want to read more.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

It really is the kind of style that you either enjoy it or hate it.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

While the narrator is okay, the sound quality is woeful - at times it sounds like there is another person reading in the background or that this has been copied over another recording!

Do you have any additional comments?

It is a shame that such a great book is let down by such bad recording quality.

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- Natalia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-12-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.