Vincent Kaminski

As we completed the first part of the book and started working on these last few pages of conclusions, we thought briefly about another author, who had put down his plume one June night in 1787 and took a short walk under the acacias of his garden, from which he could see the countryside, bordered by a lake and mountains. “The air was temperate,“ he wrote, “the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all nature was silent.”11 Edward Gibbon, 1827, Memoirs of my Life and Writings (London, England: Hunt & Clarke), available at Gibbon is this author’s favourite writer, and every day we listen to a few pages of his books on Librivox whilst jogging. However, we realised that the completion of our work allowed for none of the satisfaction and pride that he must have experienced. As a matter of fact, we could feel nothing but envy. He was writing about a topic for which he had at his fingertips all the information available to the mankind at that time. No new facts would become available any time soon, barring the discovery of other written sources or archeological research. When this happens, it is over decades,

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