I love the start of a new year and a new reading challenge. The hardest part at the beginning is deciding which book to read first. This year, I decided to get the one I wanted to read the LEAST out of the way first. And that was,
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 1
It was under the category: A Book About Ancient History
This book covers the Roman Empire from 98AD to 410 AD. It was 700 pages long. It covers the Age of the Antonines, The reign of Septimus Sevus, 30 different tyrants, The Persian war, the Authority of Constantine, The progress of the Christian religion, the foundation of Constantinople, Progress of the Huns from China to Europe, The Goths, the fall of the Western Empire, and everything in between. It has a nice introduction in the front from the editor about the history of the Author - who was born in 1737 and how he came to write this series of books (there are 6 volumes in all).
This book was BORING. Not that I am surprised. I knew I wasn't going to love it, but I wanted to read it because 50% of my family is of Italian heritage with great grandparents who came to the United States from Italy before I was born. We are traveling to Italy later this year, so I thought it would give me a little insight on the history of this beautiful country so when I saw the ruins, I would know a little of their history.
This book didn't help. Well, not much anyway. It just didn't hold my interest, and I found myself drifting often while I was reading it. Unless I had complete quiet and zero distractions, most of the page I was reading needed to be re-read. So many names, so many emperors. You just can't keep up. I did learn a few new things. 1) the apple originated in Italy and 2) I had no idea it wasn't always a Christian nation. Don't laugh.
I did find some of it interesting. Like the emperor that had 300 lovers - both men and women. The number of emperors that married their family members, or married off their sisters for money. Romans were crazy. Still are.
If you truly love ancient history, and love reading books that read like manuals, then this book is for you. If you are looking for an actual story, and not just stated facts, then skip it.