Quotation From Edward Gibbon On Responsibility




“When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

                       Edward Gibbon (From The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

12 thoughts on “Quotation From Edward Gibbon On Responsibility

  1. Love that Gibbon. I suspect he came before objectivity was a virtue in humanities scholarship, which is what allowed his wit to shine. My favorite quote is his no-holds-barred comment on the 10th-century Pope John XII — that his papacy was a veritable “school for prostitution, and that his rapes of virgins and widows had deterred the female pilgrims from visiting the tomb of St. Peter, lest, in the devout act, they should be violated by his successor.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Knowing very little about Gibbon, but guessing from his well-groomed appearance in this portrait, he may have been given a fair amount by the un- or under-paid laborers/peasants who worked hard to allow him to study and travel and write during the course of his life… (Wikipedia: “Edward Gibbon was born in 1737, the son of Edward and Judith Gibbon at Lime Grove, in the town of Putney, Surrey… His grandfather, also named Edward, had lost all of his assets as a result of the South Sea Bubble stock market collapse in 1720, but eventually regained much of his wealth. Gibbon’s father was thus able to inherit a substantial estate.”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are probably correct about his life and class; I typically would care about that, but in this case, I am most interested in the application of the quotation to those Americans who are being selfish.


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