|About the Book|
Preface.The conscientious man, who knows to what straits even the British Museum is put, by the influx of unnecessary books, will not lightly write, still less publish, a new work. The Author of the present volume seeks an excuse in the comparativeMorePreface.The conscientious man, who knows to what straits even the British Museum is put, by the influx of unnecessary books, will not lightly write, still less publish, a new work. The Author of the present volume seeks an excuse in the comparative novelty of his subject, and in the ready access he has enjoyed to the sources of Frankish history, many of which have only been cleared and rendered available during the last few years by able editors and commentators in Germany.The following pages are the result of studies, the chief object of which was to gain an insight into the age of Charlemagne. They are offered to the public in the hope that they may throw some little light on one of the darkest but not least important ages of the world, when, in the early dawn of modern history, rude hands sowed the seeds of Christian civilization.The Author is well aware that he has chosen a subject which has not been found generally interesting, which is looked on as the property of the troubadour or the fabling monk, rather than of genuine history. But he thinks it a legitimate object of ambition to alter or modify these views. If the glory of Athens gives a charm to the account of Dorian migrations, and lights up even the distant flitting shades of Pelasgi and Curetes, if the gorgeous spectacle of Augustan Rome leads us to watch with interest the feuds and fortunes of the citizens of a poor and small Italian town, there is no reason why we should remain indifferent to the primordia of the mighty race whose annals are the history of modern and Christian Europe, to the origin of the wonderful political and social world in which it is our lot to live.Should the present volume meet with any degree of public favor, the Author hopes to bring forward another, on the life and times of Charlemagne, to which this work, though complete in itself, might form a kind of introduction.For the many defects which will be found in his book, and of which he is himself fully conscious, the Author begs the indulgence of his friends, on the ground that he has performed it in the intervals of a laborious and anxious occupation.In conclusion, the Author cannot omit thus publicly to express his grateful thanks to Professor Ritschl, and the other librarians of the University of Bonn, for the courtesy and kindness with which they placed their valuable library at his disposal.