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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 104

o8 NATURE OF CONTINUITY. [IV. way : ancient, and modern and medieval history, as you call them, have the same subject-matter, they are connected by certain visible and tangible lines of recorded fact, and they are, as yourself admit, acts of one great drama. Granted : first then, ancient history has much that is common with modern in the region of political thought; second then, the ancient Roman civilisation and literature constitute by themselves, and they are but one of many, a sufficient line of continuity to prove essential identity ; third, but it is enough for you to admit the continuity of the world's progress. Now, if I were arguing against the reading of ancient history in connexion with modern, such an answer would be complete ; but, as I am merely protesting against the idea that it is impossible to read modern history from its own starting-point, I will observe, and content myself with observing, first that there are no doubt political thoughts common to ancient and modern life ; nay more, that, as has been said, there is very much that is modern in ancient history and much that is ancient in modern history ; and yet that that very element of continuity on which the whole discussion hangs is wanting. There may be, I will not say there is, a certain similarity of thought in a leading article of The Times and a chapter in Thucydides : the similarity of the circumstances of two political crises may bring out parallels and coincidences ; Constantinople may be the Athens, Alexander II the Xerxes of the day, and anyhow the Bosphorus must be pretty nearly where it was. But the connexion of the political ideas is one of coincidence and not of continuity ; there is not even the life that germinates in the grains of wheat found in Egyptian mummy-pits. Every factor is new, even the area, the nationality of the actors, the whole idea in its origin and every stage of growth is new. Or let the area be the same ; what has modern Greece in continuity with ancient Greece, but the soil and sky and the, to it, un

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