Heyoka’s Workbench


Never could a new technical gadget fill me with even remotely the same bliss that the unpacking of a set of (very) old books gives me. Like these twelve volumes of Edward Gibbon’s famous »History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire«.

Nonsense? – Sure! Spending money on old paper printed with circuitous ramblings, outdated and even refuted, is foolish. Totally. – But I can’t help it. As Mark Twain once noted: »I reckon we are all fools. Born so, no doubt.«

As for Gibbon’s opus, I had to have it. It’s one of the masterworks of British historiography and literature and I found it mentioned in so many other books about British history that I thought it would be a good companion to the similarly famous »History of England« by Macaulay in my bookcase. Besides, it’s not a bad thing to read old sources (provided you compare them to more current ones). And most importantly: Churchill named Gibbon as the single most important influence on his rhetorical style!

Photo: an antiquarian edition of Edward Gibbon’s “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.