The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I : The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • by Edward Gibbon
  • Narrated by David Timson
  • Series: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • 22 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always maintained its initial appeal to both the general public and scholars alike. Its sheer scale is daunting, encompassing over a millennium of history, covering not merely the Western Empire from the days of the early emperors to its extinction in AD 476, but also the Eastern Empire, which lasted for another thousand years until the Turks vanquished it in 1453. But Gibbon’s style, part historical fact and part literature, is enticing, and the sheer honesty of the man, who endeavours to be scrupulously impartial in his presentation, endears him to the reader. In this recording, David Timson incorporates the most salient of Gibbon’s footnotes.
In Volume I (chapters I-XV), Gibbon opens by setting the scene with the Empire as it stood in the time of Augustus (d. AD 14) before praising the time of the Antonines (AD 98-180). The death of Marcus Aurelius and the accession of Commodus and his successors ushers in turbulent and dangerous times which were only occasionally marked by a wise and temperate ruler. The volume ends in AD 324, with Constantine the Great becoming undisputed Roman emperor, uniting both the East and Western Empires.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What did you love best about The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I?


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I?

Too many to count.

What does David Timson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

On paper Gibbon's prose can appear dauntingly monumental, but David Timson's reading makes it come alive. You feel almost as if Gibbon were chatting with you. An absolutely marvelous job!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Again, too many to count.

Any additional comments?

Unfortunately Audible has adopted a policy of appending the reviews as a default if there are no reviews of the audiobook they are trying to sell. In the case of Gibbon, this means that anyone curious about this audiobook found himself wading through one-star reviews of a defective ebook version of Gibbon. So pay no attention to the reviews. The Naxos Gibbon is one of the great achievements of the "audible age," thanks to incredible reading of David Timson. (His Dickens is also wonderful.)

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- Allen L. Harris

Earns you the title of "encyclopedia"

Where does The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is a supremely learned, painstakingly researched, and exquisitely written book about a fascinating part of ancient history. It is a true classic and like a work of Shakespeare, doesn't need to be compared to other books in my opinion. Everyone agrees on its definitiveness on the subject, and to boot, it uses an incredibly large vocabulary which I love. As someone who reads mostly non-fiction, this is one of the best books I have come across.

Who was your favorite character and why?

There are thousands of characters in this work of course but Commodus was one of the crazier emperors whose maltreatment of the office makes the reader shake his or her head in disbelief. If you are dissatisfied with your elected politicians, read this book and praise your good fortune for being born in such benign times.

Which character – as performed by David Timson – was your favorite?

Sarpor, the Persian king, lived in such splendor and oriental opulence that it really transports the reader there.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt relocated to the ancient times, several times during the reading. I think this is an amazing achievement for a non fiction book. It really is a riveting story....

Any additional comments?

This is not light fare. I am reading for a second time and plan to give it a third listen. The text is extremely dense and you will miss much. I see this as an advantage, as each repeated listening feels like a new book. As I drop little anecdotes from the book into my conversations, people start to regards me as someone with deep knowledge of history which is very good mileage for the time I spent I think. I recommend this to anyone who wants a thriller that actually happened.

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- Casper Paludan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2013
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks