Gibbon's "Age of Constantine" and the Fall of Rome

History and Theory 8 (1):71-96 (1969)

Abstract
Gibbon had more difficulty dealing with the age of Constantine than with any other period of Roman history. In the tradition of Enlightenment historiography, Gibbon was a philosophic historian, one who strove for interpretative and significant history. For Gibbon the age of Constantine was one of those crucial eras when civilization changed its direction. He was convinced that the growth of Christianity was a principal cause of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and saw in the career of Constantine a microcosm of this process. In order to indict Christianity and prove Rome's fall in moral terms, Gibbon never actually distorted the facts, but he arranged the evidence, especially that referring to the date of Constantine's conversion, to support his novel interpretation
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DOI 10.2307/2504190
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