Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization

10 October 2016

Gibbon comes up with this theory through the major experiences in life: beginning at his early childhood, with a frail and diseased body, to the youthful Gibbon under the constant oppression of a demanding father, to the experiences of his life on the grand tour. These things have helped form his worldview and caused him to create theories, and a seemingly emotional disdain for religion. All of these things have had a tie into influencing his works, and how he became the historian he is famous for today. Edward Gibbon was born April 27, 1737 at Putney, Surrey.

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Gibbon was the eldest of six children and, as it turned out, was the only child to not die at infancy; thus, Gibbon was their only child. His mother was a “pretty and vivacious woman, and found little time for her son. ” The role of “mother” for Edward Gibbon was filled by his maiden aunt, Catherine Porten, who encouraged Edward’s “intellectual inclinations. ”[2] When Edward was born, he had a disease until the age of fifteen and his “puny constitution was afflicted with almost every species of disease and weakness. [3] Due to these conditions, Gibbon spend most of his time at home in bed instead of at school;

Gibbon did not mind this because he hated school. [4] Due to his weak condition, Gibbon was “kept from the joyous play of his equals”[5]; his condition was the center of many taunts. Due to this childhood, Gibbon carried on a, “lifelong aversion to schools and doctors,” causing him to hold a negative view of all educational affiliations. [6] When Gibbon was fifteen, his disorders suddenly vanished and his father enrolled him at Magdalen College in the town of Oxford.

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