Edward Gibbon's words still strike a chord
Ever since the celebrated 18th century historian, Edward Gibbon wrote 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', people have looked to his work for signs of decay in their own age.
In the first of a new three-part Sunday Supplement series, 'The Gibbon Test', Matthew Parris explores what lessons Gibbon may have for Britain, its politicians and its institutions.
In Part One, are they too in decline? Do they too face a great fall?
In Part Two, Matthew Parris explores the view that affluence caused Rome's decline just as it's now contributing to a slow intellectual and moral decline in modern day Britain. Could it be said, for example, that Rome's bread and circuses have their contemporary equivalent in the hugely popular Big Brother?
In Part Three, Matthew Parris explores the impact of new cultures and new religions on Ancient Rome and looks for the parallels with the impact of Islam on Britain today.