That I didn't give this book five stars is only indicative of my annoyance at the slow patches, the fact that there was no index (a cursory index is included in the third volume of the Modern Library edition), and my annoyance with myself for not being better read in Roman history than I was at the time that I read this. (And yes, annoyance with myself for not knowing Latin, particularly since it is in that language in which Gibbon salted away the "naughtiest bits.") Gibbon's style is nearly intoxicating at times, but in a rich, mellow way, like that of a fine brandy (Courvoisier, perhaps): definitely not plonk or rotgut to swill, but rather a finely aged spirit to savour. Much of the eight or nine years since I read Vol. I has been spent in gradually (very gradually, I'm afraid...) reading other books on Roman history in an attempt to be somewhat better prepared to enjoy and profit from Vol. II; I hope to be able to read Vol. II next year (2007). We'll see....And yes, this volume does contain Gibbon's (in)famous Chapter XV ("The Progress of the Christian Religion, and the Sentiments, Manners, Numbers, and Condition of the Primitive Christians;" p. 382-444), which exercised so many of his detractors.read more
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