BBC206171 Portrait of Edward Gibbon (1737-94) c.1779 (oil on canvas) by Reynolds, Sir Joshua (1723-92)
oil on canvas
Private Collection
English, out of copyright

The Robotic Edward Gibbon

Continuing on from yesterday’s post and the suggestion of Steve Leahy:

I have fed The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire into my neural network. What truths about Gibbon’s writing will be revealed? A first pass: footnotes!


[Footnote 42: Herodian and Marcus, videra de Mestaem.]
[Footnote 221: See the latter of Carthage, and they not in discipline his power in this present country, the attending states of the historians, and the whole senator, which aport the Imperial son and the states of the most army as the command, and their beautiful and singular instances probable to the accustomed and public enemy. The flower of his soldiers was a magnificent spirit of one hundred and even, whose revenge in which his death, for under the emperor was the frontiers of the Hustilians. (See Palegyria, l. xiii. c. 2) in the collection of their taughters. In the emperor Maximian had renewed the mind of the mention of the conduct of the Greeks, and the great human accompanient of the whole hears of the Bratish ineffection. See the ministers of his erections and long tribes who had atthibuted a carable of military grandacts, the fixed of the death, the empire, and who gable to possess the superior successors of the throne, but even the tribunes, were filled as having thrown a proper entire, which they assembled a fliend the two triumphal princes, the accused of the nations of Augustus, in the conduct of the Gallienus.]

[Footnote 35: Adopis, is of these generils of his monarchys of the End and military enjoyments. The consuls of Valerian followed the applausing of the army. [32] Had obtained on the tenting of the little distinction of the conquest of their manners. They were been disciplined by their government which were the guards of particulars and accused of the first names of a luxury of their insolence, and the expedition of the emperor Maximian from the collected sentence of the son who shared the son of the Arminian greatness, supposed to the former the three were cluins, which had only distributed the senate had the honor and expression of the empire. The ancient world, and the first defence of the army alled the military property.]


I waited for quite some time, then ran it again with the temperature dialed close to 0. When you have things arranged that way, you get a sense of the core issues apparent in the writer. In Mr. Gibbon’s case:


The senate was the senate and the senate and the senate and the constitution…The provinces of the Romans were supported by the soldiers who had been subsisted by the emperor the senate, and the provinces of the emperor was confined to the provinces of the senate, and the constitution of the emperor was supported by the soldiers of the Roman empire


No surprises there: Roman history is political history. But if we dial the temperature all the other way, we get a bit more creativity, a bit more … humanity… in the writing:


The Roman Empire was related by the immediate and refulary influence of its expiess in faction: which became the multitude of poperal prophet, which can the most sepurity from every prince, who admitted, in a country of importance and successful sense, or attended on this prince to divide a magnificence, particularly formed from his life and name. When Diocletian was a common tolerant murder of polished the latter, which must have could be found in the remainder, which is safe by Trajan, as the Agrispan and a hundred emperors, the theatres of emperor inferiors in fortifications of ancient pity, which cut the confession of the former disciplined Aurelian into a single and powerful design of attributes, and more sounded and became a sense of stones, they against his superiority of conquest and inconsiderable successors.

[Footnote 23: The Porticular might recover on the acclamations of the Several assent of various numbers and his own historian, to expect with the object of the history of the Paastis, considerated them to the separate respect of the world from the easy on the choice of Herodian. The contemporary church of Decia, and Shohians in the successors of Therspation; [14] the title of Goths and garding of the Romans deperded by their virtues under the conference of his possession.

[Footnote 83: See the city of Maximian into which it any life is impossible against the family of his own provinces. It is by preserved, that Sirman is supplied by the Gibbon sesters, and provided like the throne and his declining antiquity, and described the funishmentang and foundation of climate, by religious and the emperor of their government, formed contest to destroy the wails, expired them, and dreaded the villages of the most noble respectable taxes, both supported their consulship. A serious party the creation of government were alleged to the barbarians of his accounts the prudence of the three country, and in the enterprises of the larger Galicies.


For the Terry Pratchett fans amongst you, all of this is probably an abomination unto Nuggan.


update: at around 8000 and 8500 iterations, we’ve got this: and Now I shall feed it every blog post from this blog…

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