See his collected letters (ed. by J. E. Norton, 3 vol., 1956); biographies by J. W. Swain (1966), G. De Beer (1968), P. B. Craddock (1982, 1988), and J. W. Burrow (1985); studies by D. P. Jordan (1971) and R. N. Parkinson (1974).
(born May 8, 1737, Putney, Surrey, Eng.—died Jan. 16, 1794, London) British historian. Educated at the University of Oxford and in Switzerland, Gibbon wrote his early works in French. In London he became a member of Samuel Johnson's brilliant intellectual circle. On a trip to Rome he was inspired to write the history of the city. His Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vol. (1776–88), is a continuous narrative from the 2nd century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Though Gibbon's conclusions have been modified by later scholars, his acumen, historical perspective, and superb literary style have given his work its lasting reputation as one of the greatest historical works.
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He was appointed by the Duke of Norfolk to the office of Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary at the College of Arms in 1846. In 1869, he was noted as the last member of the College to actually reside there during his long tenure in that position. He died 16 December 1873 in Yapton, and he left most of his estate to his niece and accomplished Canadian schoolteacher-artist Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon.