2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Young Edward Gibbon: The Making of a “Historian of the Roman Empire”

Su-hsien Yang

Department of History, National Taiwan University

Historian Edward Gibbon became famous for writing The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which stood out as a classic of the Enlightenment historiography. Gibbon grew up in a rather conservative environment. He came from an English gentry family with a strong Tory bias. The intellectual climate of Eighteenth-century England, moreover, was far from being creative as the former century had been. How was he brought up, in such a conservative atmosphere, to be a leading historian of the Enlightenment? This is a topic that has interested generations of his biographers. This article purports to examine the process of the making of Gibbon as a “historian of the Roman Empire”.


Keywords: Edward Gibbon, England, the Enlightenment, historiography, the Roman Empire