Page:Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire vol 1 (1897).djvu/74

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lxviii
INTRODUCTION

tion, and confirmed by study and experience. It might be reasonably maintained that zeal for men or causes is an historian's marring, and that "reserve sympathy"—the principle of Thucydides—is the first lesson he has to learn. But without venturing on any generalization we must consider Gibbon's zealous distrust of zeal as an essential and most suggestive characteristic of the "Decline and Fall."