THIS volume contains the beginnings of French history from prehistoric times to the advent of the Capets. The works of our predecessors have been a great guide and help, above all the monumental work of Fustel de Coulanges on the institutions of Roman Gaul and the age of the Merovingians and the Carlovingians, a work which is unique in its precision and wealth of information, its clarity of thought and its accuracy of expression. Worthy of the master is the great work of his disciple, Camille Jullian. The magnificent picture he has drawn of Celtic and Roman Gaul is arresting by reason of its varied and abundant knowledge, and perhaps even more on account of its brilliance of style and its happy boldness of thought. Gaule Mérovingienne by Maurice Prou is a masterpiece. As for the marvellous Prolegomènes of Benjamin Guérard, praise is superfluous. And, as may well be imagined, the great works of Bayet, C. Pfister, A. Kleinclausz, and G. Bloch, the accurate studies of Louis Halphen, the stirring religious history of Georges Goyau and the clear, strong pages of Imbart de la Tour have not been neglected.
At the end of each chapter will be found, not the bibliography of the subject, which would have overflowed the limits of this book, but an indication of the sources and the works to which we have been more particularly indebted, as well as such works the perusal of which would, in our opinion most successfully complete the pages which follow.
To our predecessors we owe much; we have delved wholeheartedly into their works, and we cordially acknowledge our indebtedness to them.