the price of books

“83. When Fust, or Faustus, sold at Paris his first printed bibles as manuscripts, the price of a parchment copy was reduced from four or five hundred to sixty, fifty, and forty crowns. The public was at first pleased with the cheapness, and at length provoked by the discovery of the fraud. (Mattaire, Annal. Typograph. tom. i. p. 12.; first edition).”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. IV, chapter XLIV; p. 802 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

a proposal for reforming congress

“The Decemvirs had neglected to impart the sanction of Zaleucus, which so long maintained the integrity of his republic. A Locrian who proposed any new law, stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. IV, chapter XLI;V pp. 783–4 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

a picture of savage life

“70. Beneventum was built by Diomede, the nephew of Meleager (Cluver, tom. ii. p. 1195, 1196). The Calydonian hunt is a picture of savage life (Ovid. Metamorph. l. viii.). Thirty or forty heroes were leagues against a hog: the brutes (not the hog) quarreled with a lady for the head.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. IV, chapter XLI; p. 646 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

not as good as st. martin

“73. I know not how to select or specify the miracles contained in the Vitæ Patrum of Rosweyde, as the number very much exceeds the thousand pages of that voluminous work. An elegant specimen may be found in the Dialogues of Sulpicius Severus, and his life of St. Martin. He reveres the monks of Egypt; yet he insults them with the remark, that they never raised the dead; whereas the bishop of Tours had restored three dead men to life.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. III, chapter XXXVII; p. 428 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

the adventures of the princess honoria

“When Attila declared his resolution of supporting the cause of his allies, the Vandals and the Franks, at the same time, and almost in the spirit of romantic chivalry, the savage monarch professed himself the lover and the champion of the princess Honoria. The sister of Valetinian was educated in the palace of Ravenna; and as her marriage might be productive of some danger to the state, she was raised, by the title of Augusta, above the hopes of the most presumptuous subject. But the fair Honoria had no sooner attained the sixteenth year of her age, than she detested the importunate greatness, which must for ever exclude her from the comforts of honourable love: in the midst of vain and unsatisfactory pomp, Honoria sighed, yielded to the impulse of nature, and threw herself into the arms of chamberlain Eugenius. Her guilt and shame (such is the absurd language of imperious man) were soon betrayed by the appearances of pregnancy: but the disgrace of the royal family was published to the world by the imprudence of the empress Placidia; who dismissed her daughter, after a strict and shameful confinement, to a remote exile at Constantinople.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. III, chapter XXXV; p. 332 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

the loss of rome

“149. I have disdained to mention a very foolish, and probably a false report (Procop. de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 2.), that Honorius was alarmed by the loss of Rome, till he understood that it was not a favourite chicken of that name, but only the capital of the world, which had been lost. Yet even this story is some evidence of the public opinion.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. III, chapter XXXI; p. 218 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

the indolent security of the germans

“Jovinus, who had viewed the ground with the eye of a general, made his silent approach through a deep and woody vale, till he could distinctly perceive the indolent security of the Germans. Some were bathing their huge limbs in the river; others were combing their long and flaxen hair; others again were swallowing large draughts of rich and delicious wine.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. II, chapter XXV; p. 990 in volume 1 of the Penguin edition.)

like a skilful politician

“101. At first Constantine threatened in speaking, but requested in writing, και αγραφως μεν ηπειλει δε, ηξιον. His letters gradually assumed a menacing tone; but while he required that the entrance of the church should be open to all, he avoided the odious name of Arius. Athanasius, like a skilful politician, has accurately marked this distinctions (tom. i. p. 788), which allowed him some scope for excuse and delay.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. II, chapter XXI; p. 798 in volume 1 of the Penguin edition.)

the almost invisible and tremulous ball of orthodoxy

“Within these limits the almost invisible and tremulous ball of orthodoxy was allowed securely to vibrate. On either side, beyond this consecrated ground, the heretics and dæmons lurked in ambush to surprise and devour the unhappy wanderer. But as the degrees of theological hatred depend on the spirit of war, rather than on the importance of the controversy, the heretics who degraded, were treated with more severity than those who annihilated, the person of the Son. The life of Athanasius was consumed in irreconcileable opposition to the impious madness of the Arians; but he defended above twenty years the Sabellianism of Marcellus of Ancyra; and when at last he was compelled to withdraw himself from his communion, he continued to mention, with an ambiguous smile, the venal errors of his respectable friend.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. II, chapter XXI; p. 783 in volume 1 of the Penguin edition.)

clearly i should be reading tertullian

“100. Tertullian considers flight from persecution, as an imperfect, but very criminal, apostacy, as an impious attempt to elude the will of God &c. &c. He has written a treatise on this subject (see p. 536–544. Edit. Rigalt.), which is filled with the wildest fanaticism, and the most incoherent declamation. It is, however, somewhat remarkable, that Tertullian did not suffer martyrdom himself.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, chapter XVI; p. 548 in volume 1 of the Penguin edition.)