Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages

Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages

Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages

Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages

Excerpt

I N putting before the public a work like the present I am aware that I run the risk of being relentlessly criticised. "Was there ever seen a more motley collection of historical sources? Is there any one train of thought followed out, any system at all of selection? The documents chosen cover the modest period of nine hundred years of the world's history, and vary in length from one page to one hundred and twenty! Law, religion, politics, and general civilization are among the topics chosen for illustration." Such objections as these are not unfounded, but in spite of them my book may and ought to be of use for the class of readers for whom it is intended: namely, for students of history -- not specialists as yet -- who have an interest in the monuments of the past and who seize the first convenient opportunity of acquainting themselves with them. To search them out and to translate them for oneself is a labour for which few have time or inclination, even if they have sufficient knowledge of Latin and of history. It has taken me almost two years to collect and translate the pieces here given -- the reader will be able within a few days or weeks to familiarize himself with them and to determine which, if any, will reward, in his case, a study of the original text. Such documents as I have chosen are the very framework of history. How little are they known, even by those who have perused volumes of references to and comments upon them! Clauses from them have . . .

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