It’s time to celebrate another Distributed Proofreaders achievement—our 27,000th title posted to Project Gutenberg, Storia della decadenza e rovina dell’impero romano, an Italian translation of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by the famed English historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794).
Decline and Fall is a monumental work, distinguished not only by Gibbon’s outstanding scholarship, but also by his witty, ironic commentary and iconoclastic views of the events he describes. His theory of Rome’s decline and fall was essentially that her citizens had become spoiled by success. The most controversial part of his argument was that Christianity contributed to Rome’s fall by shifting people’s focus from real-life practicalities to a spiritual afterlife.
The Italian translation, by the noted Italian author Davide Bertolotti, is a 13-volume tour-de-force, published in Milan between 1820 and 1824. He based his translation on a 1791 London edition, which Bertolotti described as “ottima e sicura edizione” (“an excellent and trustworthy edition”), mentioned by Gibbon himself in his Memoirs. Bertolotti promised that, unlike a previous Italian translation, “Non una idea, non una parola importante, venne ad essa tolta, mutata od aggiunta” (“Not a single idea, not a single important word, was deleted, changed or added”). That might be a motto for what DP does.
Congratulazioni e grazie to the dedicated DP volunteers who made this milestone possible!