I have read much history in the last few years but no other historical writer has moved me quite like Gibbon. I have shed tears more than once whilst engaged on this extraordinary journey. Until now, my reading of history has been an effort to forge a dim and tenuous link with peoples of the past in the hope of entering, in some small way, their minds and worlds. With Gibbon though my kinship with the generations has been bought vividly to life and made it all too clear, that for good or ill, men and women are the same in all times and all places and that all history is just one story. On a day when fresh war and misery has just erupted in a place which the Romans would have called Colchis (Georgia) it is impossible not to feel that this is the just the same story endlessly repeating itself. Rome rises and falls again and again. The periods of peace, prosperity and freedom precious islands in the midst of chaos that we so easily take for granted. For some of us the barbarians are safely thousands of miles away until the day whereby, through sloth and ignorance, we wake to find them at the gates.
This is no easy read of course. The language, whilst exquisite, verges on the archaic. But for those willing to embark on the journey you will find out as much about the world we live in today as that of supposed antiquity.