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VIII PREFACE.

 

thing to the welfare and happiness of men and to the perpetuity of institutions-has been and is the inspiration of the beginning, as it will be of the completion of this work. I shall take leave of my task with no need to be reminded of the imperfections of these volumes, but with the earnest wish that they may, notwithstanding all blemishes and defects, prove to be a source of pleasure and profit to readers of every class.

In preparing the present work, I have freely availed myself of the best and most recent authorities. The names of Wilkinson, Brugsch, Bunsen, Ebers, Duncker, Rawlinson, Smith, Curtius, Grote, Niebuhr, Faike, Mommsen, and von Ranke will suggest the secondary sources which have been relied upon; and these names are the guarantees for the fundamental accuracy of the narrative.

As to the style adopted in the following pages, as well as the general views expressed, and the method of treatment employed in the various parts-these are the Author's own. It has been my hope and aim in this work to relate the History of the World in such a manner as to bring the vast record within a manageable limit, so that every reader who will, may obtain, at a moderate expense, and master, with a moderate endeavor, the better parts of the history of the past.

A word of explanation may be required respecting the arrangement of the earlier parts of the present work. Instead of beginning, as do most of the treatises on Ancient History, with the Chaldaean and Assyrian monarchies, I have chosen to begin with Egypt, tracing, first of all, the history of that country down to the time of its subjection to the Persians; then transferring the scene to Mesopotamia, and following thereafter the natural course of events from the Euphrates to the Tiber-from Babylon to Rome. The choice of the valley of the Nile, rather than the valley of the Tigris, as the place of beginning, has been determined by chronological considerations and the true sequence of events.

A brief explanation is also demanded respecting the line of division between Ancient and Modern History. Instead of selecting the downfall of the Western Empire of the Romans (A. D. 476) as the line of demarkatlon between the world of (the ancients and our own, I have taken the overthrow of the Greek Empire by the conquest of Constantinople (A. D. 1453), as what may be properly called the death of Antiquity. True it is that Modern Europe was already in the nascent state before the final destruction of the old historical forces; and for that reason the attention of the reader will be recalled after the overthrow of the Eastern Empire, by the span of a thousand years, to the story of the Barbarian Nations, which may be fairly regarded as the opening scene in the drama of modern times.

As it respects the illustrative part of the present work, it may be said that the aim has been kept constantly in view to make the illustrations contribute to a ready understanding and apt appreciation of the text. Great care has been taken in the preparation of the maps with which, by the liberality of the publishers, the following pages are so copiously interspersed. The cuts and drawings have all been selected and arranged in such relation with the text that the one shall illustrate the other.

I trust that the work, the plan and motive of which I have thus briefly summarized, may meet with the same cordial reception at the hands of the public which has been extended to the author's other essays in historical literature. More particularly am I anxious that these volumes may prove to be worthy of the appreciation and praise of my countrymen, to whose candor and charitable criticism I now surrender the fruit of my labors.

J. C. R.