In this third of volume, readers will discover the rules of Jovian, Valentinian, Valens, Gratian, Theodosius, Arcadius, Honorius, Eutropius, and Valentinian III; wars in Germany, Britain, Africa, and Persia; the Gothic War in 376; the conversion of Rome; the revolt of the Goths; the numerous sackings of Rome by the Goths and Charles V; revolutions in Gaul and Spain; the life of Saint John Chrysostom; the life of Empress Eudocia; the progress of the Vandals in Africa; and the invasion of the Roman Empire by Attila the Hun. Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire compresses thirteen turbulent centuries into an epic narrative shot through with insight, irony and incisive character analysis. Sceptical about Christianity, sympathetic to the barbarian invaders and the Byzantine Empire, constantly aware of how political leaders often achieve the exact opposite of what they intend.
The fame of Gratian, before he had accomplished the twentieth year of his age, was equal to that of the most celebrated princes. His gentle and amiable disposition endeared him to his private friends, the graceful affability of his manners engaged the affection of the people: the men of letters, who enjoyed the liberality, acknowledged the taste and eloquence, of their sovereign; his valor and dexterity in arms were equally applauded by the soldiers; and the clergy considered the humble piety of Gratian as the first and most useful of his virtues. The victory of Colmar had delivered the West from a formidable invasion; and the grateful provinces of the East ascribed the merits of Theodosius to the author of his greatness, and of the public safety. Gratian survived those memorable events only four or five years; but he survived his reputation; and, before he fell a victim to rebellion, he had lost, in a great measure, the respect and confidence of the Roman world.