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(born May 8, 1737, Putney, Surrey, Eng.died Jan. 16, 1794, London) British historian. Educated at the University of Oxford and in Switzerland, Gibbon wrote his early works in French. In London he became a member of Samuel Johnson's brilliant intellectual circle. On a trip to Rome he was inspired to write the history of the city. His Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vol. (1776–88), is a continuous narrative from the 2nd century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Though Gibbon's conclusions have been modified by later scholars, his acumen, historical perspective, and superb literary style have given his work its lasting reputation as one of the greatest historical works.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Gibbon, Edward, visit Britannica.com.
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