Regular price: $60.00

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Here in a single volume is the entire, unabridged recording of Gibbon's masterpiece. Beginning in the second century at the apex of the Pax Romana, Gibbon traces the arc of decline and complete destruction through the centuries across Europe and the Mediterranean. It is a thrilling and cautionary tale of splendor and ruin, of faith and hubris, and of civilization and barbarism. Follow along as Christianity overcomes paganism... before itself coming under intense pressure from Islam. It is a story that begins in Rome and ends in the capture of Constantinople by the Turks almost 1,500 years later. To aid in navigating this massive work, please refer to the accompanying PDF, which contains a table of contents and starting times for each chapter.

Public Domain (P)2015 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    228
  • 4 Stars
    67
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    17

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    231
  • 4 Stars
    53
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    216
  • 4 Stars
    61
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    8
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marcus
  • Brasília, Brazil
  • 03-03-16

The European Civilization

Examining a period of world (european) history (late antiquity throughout the middle ages) crucial to the understanding of western civilization, this book is a treasure. Edward Gibbon, drawing from various sources, most of them contemporary of the facts it exposes, traces the history of the Roman Empire in the west and in the east. Along the way, he discuss christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, the crusades, the beginning of the Muslim faith and the advent of the Ottoman Empire. The successive battles between the romans and the barbarian are explained in a way that one understands the facts that underline the formation of modern european states. The author is not shy in declining his views about the events, with renders the book even more fascinating. An enlightening reading!

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes a slog, but what a journey

Some chapters were dryer than others, but overall an incredible listen, especially when you consider that it was written over 200 years ago!

After an overview of the time it begins in depth with Emperor Commodus and goes through the fall of the Eastern Empire to the Turks. That's over 1200 years! Of course it doesn't just look at the Roman Empire, but Gibbon also explains the sparks of areas around the empire that lead to flames within. If you don't mind listening for a long time (it took me about 4 months), this is definitely worth it.

My only gripe is that I didn't have any maps to help me visualize some more obscure areas being talked about (of course there's nothing to be done about that since it's an audiobook). The issue is easily remedied with a pause and Google search.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

For the hardest core history fans only

I loved all of it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that I know. 126 hours of meandering through the Roman decline told by a man from 1787, having all of the prejudices you would expect, was for me a lot of fun but most people who are humans and have ears would likely rip them off half way through the work. But if your reading this review you probably fall into the group of people who enjoy this kind of thing, and in that case I would recommend it just for the satisfaction of beating this book! It's great, just do it.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Outstanding Reading of a Classic Historical Work

OK, so I'm only about 20 hours, with 106 hours to go, but what a joy so far. Charlton Griffin's performance really brings the text alive. This is much more enjoyable to listen to than you might expect. The fact that Gibbon is unafraid to express his own opinion in just about every sentence he writes is part of what makes this fun. He was a phenomenal writer and Griffin is a phenomenal reader. If this peaks your interest at all, you should definitely give it a try.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not for the faint of heart…

… But if you're crazy about history, or want to know more about the origins of modern Europe, the Middle East, and the entire Mediterranean region, this book is an extremely good read. It's monumentally boring at times, and of course mired in the past as any 18th century work must be, and enormously prejudiced at times, but for all those faults it is well written and well researched.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect!

Not just a history of Rome but a beautiful piece of art and literature. Perfection!

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

work of art

the work itself is monumental and impressive. his arguments are clear and debatable. it took a long time to get through this, but it is worth it. anyone serious about history or the English language will certainly appreciate this product of the age of enlightenment.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Gibbon's entire masterpiece in the absolutely perfect voice for the work. Truly quite the deal.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece - Best Audiobook I’ve Listened To

This audiobook is absolutely phenomenal--and I have much to say about that--but let me first be clear about what this book is and what it is not.

The "Decline and Fall" can be best described as a brilliantly written exposition of Gibbon's views on events after the death of Marcus Aurelius and how these contributed to the downfall of the Roman empire, interwoven within a chronological narrative alongside colorful anecdotes and digressions. The main strengths of the work are Gibbon's clever and (dare I say) sublime command of the English language, his impressive wit, his astute observations and analysis of the political significance of major events, his keen perception of the levers of power in Roman society, his awareness of the human condition during what he describes rather bluntly as one of the most awful eras in history, and his genuine appreciation for the consternation of a people subject to the whims and caprice of all-powerful monarchs. Gibbon does not hesitate to editorialize throughout the narrative, offering readers strong and candid impressions through his cynical tone, his acerbic wit, and his biting criticism of contemptible characters. (Some examples below).

The book is not, however, a good introduction to Roman History, or even to the history of the late Empire for that matter. I wouldn't recommend it if your goal is simply to become more knowledgeable about a period. Despite Gibbon's unmatched thoroughness, the work is over 200 years old, and as such there are inevitably some inaccuracies due to the limitations of the sources at the time. So if knowledge is your goal, I'd recommend grabbing a modern book or reading wikipedia (seriously).

Instead, I'd recommend Gibbon if you'd like to enjoy a literary masterpiece with observant and well-thought out political opinions about the decline of Rome, encapsulated in a work that flows mellifluously with expertly crafted language, and that constitutes one of the most magnificent literary achievements of all time. A good analogy would be going to the Sistine Chapel -- you don't go to learn about Michelangelo or the events depicted therein, you go to be inspired by the masterpiece before you.

As you can tell, I thought very highly of the book, and with due cause. After all, there's a reason that a 200 year old book over 4,000 pages in length is still read today--a pretty powerful testament to its quality. (For context, I downloaded the book without any prior awareness of this quality, so I had no opinion at the outset. In fact, I was afraid the language would be turgid and abstruse on account of its age--I'm happy to say that I was blown away by the inaccuracy of my naive preconceptions, as I can relate without hesitation that Gibbon is the best writer I've personally encountered).

A good deal of credit is also due for Charlton Griffin’s masterful performance. His phrasing, inflection, and tone perfectly reflects the mood of Gibbon’s writing. That, and I wish my voice sounded even half as good as Charlton’s...

To conclude, here's a brief example of Gibbon's writing and astute commentary on politics, in discussing the power of the Praetorians, which I think is pretty representative of his approach throughout the work:

"Such formidable servants are always necessary, but often fatal to the throne of despotism. By thus introducing the Praetorian guards as it were into the palace and the senate, the emperors taught them to perceive their own strength, and the weakness of the civil government; to view the vices of their masters with familiar contempt, and to lay aside that reverential awe, which distance only, and mystery, can preserve towards an imaginary power. In the luxurious idleness of an opulent city, their pride was nourished by the sense of their irresistible weight; nor was it possible to conceal from them, that the person of the sovereign, the authority of the senate, the public treasure, and the seat of empire, were all in their hands. To divert the Praetorian bands from these dangerous reflections, the firmest and best established princes were obliged to mix blandishments with commands, rewards with punishments, to flatter their pride, indulge their pleasures, connive at their irregularities, and to purchase their precarious faith by a liberal donative; which, since the elevation of Claudius, was enacted as a legal claim, on the accession of every new emperor."

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved It!

A great historical and thorough introduction of not only Roman antiquity but of Christianity and Islam. Astonishing how similar modern history resembles the sinuous advances between cultures and conquerors of the time periods in this book.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • El
  • 12-12-15

Immense book & audiobook

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would to anyone who like Roman history this much (120 + hours). It is not for the faint-hearted.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?

All the characters (and we are talking hundreds) are depicted in such depth, with this acute, sharp self-assured moral judgement of the 18th century. Gibbons made us feel he had the chance to observe them for long hours and days before he formed his opinion. Theses characters' depiction were my favourite parts by far.

Have you listened to any of Charlton Griffin’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Never heared any other performance but the narrator is truly fantastic. He has the perfect voice and tone to transfigure the complexity and sophistication of 18th century writing style to restitute with strength and clarity the meaning of the text and the personality of the author. You feel like Gibbons is talking to you, that after years and years of studies and reading, he finally delivers to you the pared down, quintessential truth of many years of reflexion about centuries of history. The long sentences, complex structures, the narrator always turns them to his advantage to make them easily understood by the listener, carrying their gravitas without falling into mannierism. This audiobook made me realize that 18th century writing lends itself beautifully to orality (while we could actually find the reading quite arduous and complext)Truly, I have never been more impressed by a narrator. Charlton Griffin truly adds a lot to this audiobook and to Gibbons' work.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

120+ hours, even with the best of enthusiasm ... It took me 2 months.

Any additional comments?

It is a superproduction of very high quality. A massive piece of literature, a very well-produced audiobook and the best narrator possible.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • missfrizzy
  • 07-20-15

Sweeping Story - narration takes some getting used

Where does The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely the longest, by some significant margin.

What other book might you compare The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to, and why?

Nothing to compare this to. Magnificent in scope and ambition - much like the empire itself.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

American pronunciations from a very British speaker was a bit odd. Narration was a bit slow for me and was actually much more listenable when played at twice normal speed.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charles B.
  • 05-17-16

Great history. Weak narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. With such a lot of content, the narrator needs to be better. I loved the history but could not continue after the second part because of the colourless narrator. This may in part be because of Gibbon's old fashioned 'cerebral' writing style. The text is packed with facts, which I love, it could do with a bit more drama.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 08-11-15

Top quality history

What made the experience of listening to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire the most enjoyable?

The most thorough account you could want for what is effectively a history of Europe, and the rise of the modern states that we see today.

What about Charlton Griffin’s performance did you like?

Excellent narration. The only mistake I found was at one point the narrator said "pause" and silence ensued for a few seconds.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jimbo
  • 12-31-17

Excellent

What made the experience of listening to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire the most enjoyable?

Excellent book. Very well read: The narrator has the perfect voice for this kind of story and keeps to a good pace. Also a great deal to get so much material in one audiobook. Moreover Audible allows you to download this as twelve separate downloads, by clicking on the triangle to the left of your pre-download purchase, so no need to worry about waiting around or it taking up too much space.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel T.
  • 09-29-18

Really long but amazing.

Really long but amazing. The understanding that you gain not just of this era but of the wider history of the world and they way it all holds together is second to none.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Juli C. Schuttger
  • 06-28-18

Historic book, worth it for historians and others

Gibbon's work is something that has intrigued me for years, and the audiobook format made it possible for me to know what is inside. Though Gibbon's story is sometimes biased and sometimes superseded by later research, his huge cast of characters each take their turns being described as humans and acting in the big story Gibbon is telling. Something I particularly enjoyed was Gibbon's discussion of the sources he uses, and his analysis of whether they are reliable. That isn't often discussed in histories of more recent times, since the sources are so much more numerous. Charlton Griffin has just the right voice to read this work as well - a deep, cultured English male voice seems fitting for the work of a British author.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. It is not for the impatient, but worth the time if you want to understand both Roman history and Enlightenment history. Next I'll be listening to the Great Courses lecture series on this book to get an even better grasp of its content and setting.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • 05-30-17

Is the narrator even human?

I really enjoy history books, but this one became a treacle like nightmare to wade through very quickly. The narrator reads in such a boring and monotonous style, that the content of the book becomes irrelevant. Would put me to sleep within minutes.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • chris
  • 04-11-17

bad narrator

I couldn't make it past the 1st part because the narrator was so bad I couldn't concentrate. I dunno how the book would be with a good narrator unfortunately

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Luke
  • 08-17-17

epic

this is an epic work of history written in the language of the time. worth it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful