THIS book is intended to be a guide and a help to the study and teaching of Roman history. Its purpose is to assist the teacher to do what Dr. Arnold regarded as the great work of every instructor of Roman history, namely, “to lodge in the mind of the pupil the concept of Rome.” To this end, care has been taken to select and emphasize those facts and events which illustrate the real character of the Roman people, which show the progressive development of Rome as a world-power, and which explain the influence that Rome has exercised upon modern civilization.
The history of Rome has, in many respects, the unity of a great epic; and the interest in its study grows and becomes intensified to the extent that this unity is perceived. The attempt has been made, therefore, to keep before the mind of the pupil the real sequence of events,to show the relation between successive periods, to place facts in their logical order, and to omit whatever might draw the mind away from the main lines of historical progress.
The early stages of Roman history are here presented according to what the author believes to be the most plausible and scientific views. The pupil should, of course, understand that the history of Rome, previous to the destruction of the city by the Gauls, is based largely upon traditions and upon inferences drawn from archaeological investigations. He should know that there are different views regarding the significance of these traditions, and that many views which are accepted to-day may be rejected or modified to-morrow. But it can hardly be expected that the beginner can enter upon a critical examination of the sources and credibility of early Roman history,a work which must be reserved for more advanced students.
In tracing the growth of the Roman people, the effort has been made to keep clearly and prominently in view that which has given to this people their distinctive place in history,the genius for organization. The kingdom, the republic, and the empire are seen to be successive stages in the growth of a policy to bring together and organize the various elements of the ancient world. Attention is paid to the life and customs of the Roman peopletheir houses, meals, dress, marriage and other customs, education, etc.; but these have not been made so prominent as to lead the pupil to believe that the study of antiquities can take the place of the study of history in the proper sense of the word.
Special attention is called to the maps, which are intended to show the location of every place mentioned in the text. The series of “progressive maps” shows in a clear way the gradual expansion of the Roman dominion. For the purpose of encouraging the reading of other books, each chapter is supplemented by two short lists of reading references, the one applying to the general subject-matter of the chapter, under the name of “Selections for Reading”; and the other constituting a “Special Study” upon some especially important or interesting topic. A classified list of the most valuable and available books in the English language upon Roman history will be found in the appendix to this volume. Every experienced teacher knows that history cannot be adequately taught by means of any single book, and that too much importance cannot be attached to the use of suitable bibliographical aids.
W. C. M.
University of Rochester,
Rochester, N. Y.