According to the philosophical outlook, at certain historical moments rudeness might gain the upper hand, but in the long run a healthy human civilization, with the proper material foundations based on a thorough command of nature, would always be able to recuperate and achieve unprecedented progress. Gibbon examines the universal theme not just of progress and the rise of civilizations and empires, but also of their decline and fall. The Decline and Fall Gibbon acknowledged how even in Renaissance Europe, without the proper care of an uncorrupt political government, the human cultivation of nature could rapidly deteriorate. His overview of the decrepit state of the historical Roman monuments in the city in the fifteenth century, when monuments were still being demolished to produce lime. It was more than symbolic that despite its seemingly sad theme this works, so representative of Enlightenment historiography's general philosophical outlook, still maintained an overall optimism.