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Friday 06 January 2016
I read all six volumes many decades ago, and doubt if I'll re-read it all.
This time I started at Chapter 15 on the rise of Christianity. Gibbon was most intrigued by the importance early Christains attached to chastity. Some even took the war into Satan's camp, by seeking temptation in order to overcome it. Gibbin remarked:
"the virgins of the warm climate of Africa encountered the enemy in the closest engagement; they permitted priests and deacons to share their bed, and gloried amidst the flames in their unsullied purity. But insulted Nature sometimes vindicated her rights and this new species of martyrdom served only to introduce a new scandal into the church."