Explores a famous historical conundrum Edward Gibbon (d. 1794) defined as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. What historical forces, operating between the third century and the seventh, brought the high Classical civilization of the Greeks and Romans to an end? Was it the invasions of Germans and other barbarian peoples? The bubonic plague or climate disasters? Do we think our own societies and governments would respond to similar challenges? Or, was Gibbon wrong, and Rome never really "fell?"