Life in Ancient Britain: A Survey of the Social and Economic Development of the People of England from Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest

By Norman Ault | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

THE idea that the everyday life of the people should be the chief concern of the historian has been familiar since the work of J. R. Green. As yet, however, little or no attempt has been made to apply this principle to what are known as "prehistoric" times. But in the development of the institutions, usages and ideas which constitute civilisation, the division between historic and prehistoric does not exist. Many of the social and economic problems of our own day--as, for example, the specialisation of industry, the activities of the middleman, and the functions of money--can best be understood if first studied, not in their present baffling intricacies, but in the simpler yet quite highly developed form which they had already reached in this country long before Caesar's invasion; and by tracing them back to their origins and ultimate causes in the increasing complexity of the earlier social life. Hence of recent years there has been a growing demand that the study of history should begin at the beginning, and should be based on at least a general knowledge of the considerable attainment of this earlier civilisation; for only thus is it possible to realise the history of man as a living, developing, organic whole. Yet the illuminating discoveries of recent archaeological and anthropological

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Life in Ancient Britain: A Survey of the Social and Economic Development of the People of England from Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest
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