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I've finally, after more than ten months, made it to the end of the first of the three blockbuster Penguin volumes of the complete Decline and Fall, so I'm logging it here as a book finished in July (if started in September 2009).

Just for reference, the chapters here are: Preface; geographical introduction; the Empire in the age of the Antonines; the constitution of the Empire; the cruelty, follies and murder of Commodus [with added Pertinax]; Septimius Severus; Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and taxation; the Year of Six Emperors, and Philip the Arab; Persia; Germany; Goths; Aurelian; the rise of Diocletian; more Diocletian; the rise of Constantine; early Christianity; early Chritianity and the Empire; Constantinople and Constantine's system of government; Constantine and his successors; Constantius, Gallus and Julian; the conversion of Constantine and the establishment of Christianity; heresy and paganism; the rise of Julian the Apostate; Julian and his Apostasy; Julian's Persian campaign, and his death; Julian's successors, magic, and the inhabitants of Scotland; the Goths infiltrate.

I find that already I have difficulty in remembering why Aurelian or Septimius Severus were so important, but at least I know where to look if I need to. The most impassioned run of chapters is the three or four dealing with Julian; the quote that still gives me giggles is the one about the lascivious dances of Elagabalus's temple maidens in Chapter VI. Onwards, and upwards!

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