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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 182

176 LATIN PROSE. [VII. Just think now what this common familiarity with Latin implies. It implies almost as ready a hold on all the great works of antiquity as the power of reading English at the present day implies with respect to our own national classics. T o John of Salisbury, after his twelve years of study, all the writings of the Latin historians, poets and orators, the Christian fathers, the legists and the canonists, were not more ready of access than they were to the practical administrator, who could write freely and plainly an account of the details of his official board. This facility of learning was limited only by the scarcity of books ; a very fatal limitation, but not half so fatal as the common fault of these days, when there are so many more books than there are readers with a will to read. All these writers of Latin were readers of Latin, and many of them read a great deal. John of Salisbury's reading certainly rivalled that of Burton, the author of the Anatomy of Melancholy, and his power of reference and quotation was assuredly not inferior. As he worked among the classics, Ralph de Diceto worked among the historians of the silver and later age ; Aulus Gellius and Seneca, I will venture to say, were commoner books in the hands of ordinary readers then than now: as for the poets, I have spoken before. The great Roman historians were, I fear, less directly known. * Some parts of Csesar's Commentaries, Suetonius, Floras, Eutropius, Justin, were, I think, directly known ; I question whether Livy or Tacitus was; except so much as had filtered through the Historia Miscella, or the translations and additions to the Chronicon of Eusebius. Seneca certainly was read and utilised ; there is indeed a manuscript of Seneca which contains on a fly-leaf a trace of having been at the English court about this very time. But John of Salisbury's acquaintance with Roman literature can only be estimated by a careful reading of the Polycraticus; but we must remember that what he could read was at least within the reach of his contemporaries.

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