William the Conqueror wounded at the burning of the city of Mantes.
selecting the subjects for the successive volumes of this series, it has been the object of the author to look
for the names of those great personages whose histories constitute useful, and not merely entertaining,
knowledge. There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for
any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history,
that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so
widely-extended a fame. This knowledge, which it seems incumbent on every one to obtain in respect to such
personages as Hannibal, Alexander, Cesar, Cleopatra, Darius, Xerxes, Alfred, William the Conqueror, Queen
Elizabeth, and Mary Queen of Scots, it is the design and object of these volumes to communicate, in a faithful,
and, at the same time, if possible, in an attractive manner. Consequently, great historical names alone are
selected; and it has been the writer's aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and
all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language
which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness.