Gateway to the Classics: Barbarian and Noble by Marion Florence Lansing
Barbarian and Noble by  Marion Florence Lansing

Front Matter

[Book Cover]


[Title Page]

[Copyright Page]


Mediaeval Builders of the Modern World

History has no period which makes a more vivid appeal to the young reader than the thousand years which we call the Middle Ages. The mediaeval world is just such a world as he would like to live in, where knights ride off on crusades, and kings wander out from their palaces in disguise, where heroes sail away to explore unknown seas, and gay cavaliers sally forth to tournament and joust. It requires no effort to interest boys and girls in this part of history. They turn to it with the enthusiasm with which they seize fairy tales and legends of chivalry and romance, and find in its reality a satisfying response to the desire for a true story.

The child's interest being assured, the problem is to make this interest of use in the process of his education. The purpose of this series is to relate this fascinating and heroic past to the present by telling the stories from the point of view of the contribution of the Middle Ages to the world of to-day. The heroes gain a new importance and the stories a new meaning by this treatment. Who the "mediaeval builders" were may be seen by the titles of the following books which make up the series: "Barbarian and Noble," "Patriots and Tyrants," "Sea Kings and Explorers," "Kings and Common Folk," "Cavalier and Courtier," "Craftsman and Artist." [Publisher's Note: The last four volumes in this list were apparently planned, but never published.]

Barbarian and Noble

In this volume are grouped stories of that early period of the Middle Ages when Europe was the meeting place of many races and tribes which were later to make up the nations of the modern world. In its broad lines the historical epic of the wandering of the nations, and of the formation of Christendom out of a chaos of tribes and peoples and tongues, is as stirring as any saga; in its details there are many bits of epic prose, many quaint scenes from the life of the time, and many pictures of well known heroes. It is, moreover, with all its tragedy of the fall of the Roman Empire, a tale of hope; for there runs through it a single line of progress,—that the barbarian of one age appears as the noble of the next, taking his turn in defending his world against the onrush of new barbarians. Barbarian becoming noble unconsciously, uncivilized becoming civilized, that is the tale of the early Middle Ages in relation to the world of to day; and it is a tale fascinating beyond one's most hopeful anticipations.

From this material Kingsley and Scott, Dickens and Miss Yonge and Freeman drew what suited their purpose as writers of England's story; but the history of the early Middle Ages in its relation to the progress of civilization has never been adequately told for younger readers. The table of contents will indicate the story interest of the tales; the deeper purpose of the book has been carefully traced out in the notes.



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