Gibbon Chapter XXXVII: Monks and Arians

It’s a chapter in two halves, the first being Gibbon’s account of the history of monasticism up to the fifth century, and the second about the conversion to Catholicism / Orthodoxy of the various Barbarian peoples who had previously practised Arianism, of which the most dramatic incidents take place in the Vandal kingdom of north Africa. This has been so far the least exciting of the three volumes I’ve read, Gibbon somehow trudging through various inept rulers and barbarians, even the chapters describing the fall of Rome not exactly fizzing with energy. But now with the end in sight and with a thematic subject on which he is passionate, it somehow catches fire. See also notes on the Comma Johanneum, Ulphilas, proof that Christianity is right, the persecution of the Jews in Spain, and poor editing.

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