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Moses
We have two sources from which to draw material for the life of Moses. We have, first, the Biblical account of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and their sojourn in the Wilderness, and, second, the narrative of the same events given by Josephus. The chief authority of Josephus was the Bible itself, and, accordingly, his narrative agrees in the main with that given in the Pentateuch.
Solon
Solon was an Athenian sage whose wise legislation at a critical period in the history of Athens laid the foundation of its greatness. Unfortunately, while we have very complete accounts of his work of reform, but few facts in his life have come down to us. The birth of Solon may be placed about the year B. C. 638.
Confucius
If the merit of a teacher is to be gauged by the number of his pupils, then must Confucius, the sage of China, head the list of the world's great philosophers. Nearly one-third of the human race today hang upon the lips of Confucius. Temples are erected to him, and universities are established, where learned professors expound his doctrines, while peasants in the common schools commit to memory...
Zoroaster
The name Zoroaster is a Greek form of Zarathustra, the name of an ancient sage, or prophet, who stands in the traditions of Persia as the founder of the national religion now represented by the religion of the Parsees of India and as the author of the sacred writings of the Persians. Of the life of Zoroaster we know absolutely nothing.
Themistocles
This celebrated Athenian statesman and leader was born somewhere about the year B. C. 520, shortly after the death of Pisistratus. His father was an Athenian citizen of middling rank and circumstances, but his mother was a woman of Thrace or of Caria.
Pericles
The public life of Pericles, the great statesman of Athens, whose name is inseparably connected with the most intellectual period in the history, not merely of his own, but of any country, began about the time when Themistocles was ostracised and Aristides was passing from the stage of Athenian politics.
Cato
Marcus Portius Cato, surnamed the Censor, from the severity with which he discharged the duties of that office, and known also as Priscus, the Ancient, and Major, the Elder, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, who died at Utica, is one of the most strongly-marked characters in Roman history.
Augustus Caesar
Augustus Caesar was known originally as Caius Octavius. He was a grandnephew of Julius Caesar, his mother, Atia, being the daughter of Julia, one of the two sisters of Julius. His father, of the same name, died when he was a mere child, and his mother soon after married L. Philippus, under whose care he remained until about his sixteenth year, when his great-uncle, who was without children and had...
Justinian
The Emperor Justinian was born of obscure barbarian parentage near the site of the modern town of Sophia, in Bulgaria. His elevation was prepared by the fortunes of his uncle, Justin, who, having enlisted at an early age in the Imperial Guard at Constantinople, had risen to wealth and military distinction, had commanded the guard at the important crisis of the death of the Emperor Anastasius...
Mahomet
The rocky, sandy, and generally desolate peninsula of Arabia preserved its political independence through all historical time, for the simple reason that it was not deemed worth the cost of conquering. Yet out of this land, which had been despised and neglected successively by Assyria, by Persia, by Rome, and Greece, at a time when danger in this quarter seemed the most remote of possibilities...
Pope Gregory VII
Gregory VII, St. (originally named Hildebrand), born at Soana, a town of Tuscany, was the son of Benzo, of the illustrious family of the Aldobrandeschi, one of the most powerful in the duchy and possessing numerous towns and castles. This is the statement of Novaes; but some authorities make Hildebrand to have been the son of a carpenter in this same town of Soane.
Louis XI
Louis XI first appears in history, at the age of six-teen, as the leader of a rebellion against his father, Charles VII of France. The rebellion was not, how-ever, one of his own making. The Dukes of Alençon, Bourbon, and other nobles had projected one of their periodical uprisings against the monarchy, and they had pitched upon the Dauphin as a nominal leader, simply for the use of his name.
Machiavelli
Nicolo Machiavelli was born at Florence May 3, 1469. He came of a distinguished patrician family, which had been honored with the highest dignities of the republic. Of his early life and his education little is known. His writings reveal, however, a wide familiarity with the Latin and Italian classics; but the Greek language he seems never to have mastered.
Pope Leo X
Leo X (Giovanni de Medici), the youngest of three sons of Lorenzo de' Medici, called the Magnificent, was born at Florence December I I, 1475. He was from the first destined for the service of the Church. At the age of thirteen he was created a cardinal by Innocent VIII, but with the understanding that he should not be publicly recognized as such for three years.
Charles V
Charles of Austria, who became King of Spain and Emperor of Germany under the title of Charles V, was born at Ghent, on February 24, 1500. His father was the Archduke Philip, son of the Emperor Maximilian and of Mary of Burgundy, who, as the heiress of Charles the Bold, became Queen of Flanders...
The Prince Of Orange
A part of the patrimony of Philip II of Spain, on which he entered upon the abdication of his father, Charles V, in 1555, was the sovereignty of the Netherlands. The country embraced under this designation was divided into seventeen provinces, of which Holland and Flanders, a part of the modern Belgium, were the most important. At that time it contained, probably, about 3,000,000 inhabitants.
Richelieu
France has given to history four characters, who may be regarded as typical of the classes to which they severally belonged. Napoleon Bonaparte stands as the greatest of military geniuses of modern, perhaps, of all times. Robespierre typifies the vengeance of a people ground to the dust by long and intolerable oppression...
Peter The Great
Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, appears to us in a two-fold character that of benefactor and that of tyrant. One historian says of him : 'If I were called upon to name the man, who since Charlemagne, has rendered the greatest services to his country, I should select Peter the Great.' He entered upon his inheritance when Russia was in a deplorable condition.
Lord Beaconsfield
The historian Froude, speaking of Lord Beaconsfield, says: 'For forty years he was in the front of all the battles which were fought in the House of Commons, in opposition or in office, in adversity or in success, in conflict and competition with the most famous debaters of the age. In the teeth of prejudice, without support save his own force of character...
Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone was born at Liverpool on the 29th of December, 1809. He was of Scotch parent-age. His father, John Gladstone, had come from Scot-land to Liverpool on business when a young man, had attracted the favorable notice of one of the leading corn merchants of that city, had entered the commercial house of his patron as a clerk, and lived to become one of the merchant princes...
Count Cavour
Camillo Benso di Cavour, the great statesman to whom Italy owes its present status as one of the Great Powers of Europe, was born at Turin on August 10, 1810, Count Cavour belonged to one of the oldest families of the Italian nobility, tracing his genealogy back to an ancestor who came into Italy among the followers of Frederick Barbarossa.
Leo XIII
Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci, who succeeded Pius IX in the Papacy as Leo XIII, was born March 2, 1810, at Carpineto, in the States of the Church. His father was Count Ludovico Pecci; his mother, Anna Prosperi, was a descendant of the celebrated Cola di Rienzi, 'the last of the Roman Tribunes.'
Bismarck
Otto Edward Leopold von Bismarck was born at Schönhausen, in the old Mark of Brandenburg the core of modern Prussia on April 1, 1815. The Bismarck family is both old and distinguished. It was ennobled as early as the middle of the Fourteenth Century, and has always held a foremost rank among the fighting noblesse of Brandenburg. Several of the Bismarcks fought in the Thirty Years' War...
Li Hung Chang
Li Hung Chang, the Chinaman who had gained a wider celebrity than any other native of the Flowery Kingdom, with the exception of Confucius, was born in 1822 at Hofei, in the province of Anhui, where his family had resided, we are told, 'for countless generations.' Their lot in life had not been remarkable, and the father of Li was not distinguished either for wealth or commanding intellect.
Transition To Modern History
The chief interest of modern history lies in the fact that it presents us with what lies nearest to ourselves, and discloses the events and influences that have directly and immediately created the conditions under which mankind now live and act. The main feature of this period is the growth of freedom.
Spain And The Reformation
Spain comes before us in brilliant guise as the greatest power in Europe during most of the Sixteenth Century. She had become a compact State under Ferdinand and Isabella at the end of the Fifteenth Century. Soon after the discovery of America Spain became the possessor of a new Empire beyond the Atlantic.
Rise Of The Dutch Republic
The name 'Netherlands' now belongs to the Kingdom of Holland. In the Sixteenth Century the name denoted a number of provinces extending from the Zuyder Zee and the Dollart to the northern frontier of France, forming the tract of fertile alluvial land which now comprises the Kingdoms of both Holland and Belgium.
England Under The Tudors
In England the Reformation was brought about without civil war. The divorce of Henry VIII from Catherine was the occasion but not the cause of its being accomplished. The event in itself was but the natural result of the workings of a man tyrannical by nature and who could not brook interference in spiritual affairs any more than he could in temporal matters.
The Turks And Other Nations In The Sixteenth Century
During the Sixteenth Century the power of the Ottoman conquerors continued to grow. Sultan Selim I conquered, in 1517, Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, and took possession of Mecca, the Holy City, in Arabia. Soliman II (the 'Magnificent') reigned from 1519 to 1566. In 1522 he took Rhodes from the Knights of St. John.
The Renaissance
Although during the Middle Ages humanity had not lost its intellectual life, still the name of the Renaissance has been adopted to designate the revival of art and letters in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The world, in fact, seemed to be born again. Princes and popes, nobles and monks, knights and burghers, seemed all seized with ardent thirst for knowledge and admiration of art.
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