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General Introduction THE GREAT EVENTS BY FAMOUS HISTORIANS is the answer to a problem which has long been agitating the learned world. How shall real history, the ablest and profoundest work of the greatest historians, be rescued from its present oblivion on the dusty shelves of scholars, and made welcome to the homes of the people? THE NATIONAL ALUMNI, an association of college men, having given this question long and earnest discussion among... more...

uring the eighteenth century a remarkable change swept over Europe. The dominant spirit of the time ceased to be artistic as in the Renaissance, or religious as in the Reformation, or military as during the savage civil wars that had followed. The central figure of the world was no longer a king, nor a priest, nor a general. Instead, the man on whom all eyes were fixed, who towered above his fellows, was a mere author, possessed of no claim to... more...

CHARLES F. HORNE Our modern civilization is built up on three great corner-stones, three inestimably valuable heritages from the past. The Græco-Roman civilization gave us our arts and our philosophies, the bases of intellectual power. The Hebrews bequeathed to us the religious idea, which has saved man from despair, has been the potent stimulus to two thousand years of endurance and hope. The Teutons gave us a healthy, sturdy,... more...

THE GREAT EVENTS (THE PERIOD OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE) CHARLES F. HORNE So vast and wonderful a construction was the Roman world, so different from our own, that we are apt to imagine it as an arrangement far more deliberately planned, far more mechanically complete, than it appeared to its own inhabitants. From a cursory glance, we may carry away wholly mistaken conceptions of its thought and purpose. Thus, for instance, the Roman Republic never... more...

B.C. 413 SIR EDWARD SHEPHERD CREASY That great writer of the history of the Romans, Thomas Arnold, says of the defeat of the Athenian fleet at Syracuse: "The Romans knew not, and could not know, how deeply the greatness of their own posterity, and the fate of the whole western world, were involved in the destruction of the fleet of Athens in the harbor of Syracuse. Had that great expedition proved victorious, the energies of Greece during the... more...


CHARLES F. HORNE It is related that in 1661, on the day following the death of the great Cardinal Mazarin, the various officials of the State approached their young King, Louis XIV. "To whom shall we go now for orders, Your Majesty?" "To me," answered Louis, and from that date until his death in 1715 they had no other master. Whether we accept the tale as literal fact or only as the vivid French way of visualizing a truth, we find here the... more...

THE GREAT EVENTS (ERA OF POLITICAL-RELIGIOUS WARS) CHARLES F. HORNE Gazing across the broader field of universal history, one comes more and more to overlook the merely temporary, constantly shifting border lines of states, and to see Western Europe as a whole, to watch its nations as a single people guided by similar developments of the mind, impelled by similar stirrings of the heart, taking part in but a single story, the marvellous tale of... more...

CHARLES F. HORNE Philip II succeeded his father Charles V on the throne of Spain. The vast extent of his domains, the absoluteness of his authority, and, above all, the enormous wealth that poured into his coffers from the Spanish conquests in America, made him the most powerful monarch of his time, the central figure of the age. It was largely because of Philip's personal character that the great religious struggle of the Reformation entered... more...

THE GREAT EVENTS (THE REFORMATION: REIGN OF CHARLES V) CHARLES F. HORNE Our modern world begins with the Protestant Reformation. The term itself is objected to by Catholics, who claim that there was little real reform. But the importance of the event, whether we call it reform or revolution, is undenied. Previous to 1517 the nations of Europe had formed a single spiritual family under the acknowledged leadership of the Pope. The extent of the... more...

TRACING BRIEFLY THE CAUSES, CONNECTIONS, AND CONSEQUENCES OF GREAT EVENTS (FROM BARBAROSSA TO DANTE) CHARLES F. HORNE It was during the period of about one hundred fifty years, extending from the middle of the twelfth to the close of the thirteenth century, that the features of our modern civilization began to assume a recognizable form. The age was characterized by the decline of feudalism, and by the growth of all the new influences which... more...