History and Historians: Selected Papers of R. W. Southern by R. W. Southern

By R. W. Southern

This booklet makes a variety of writings by way of the good medieval historian, Sir Richard Southern, to be had to the broader viewers they deserve.

  • A selection of writings by way of the good medieval historian, Sir Richard Southern.
  • Offers a desirable perception into the ideals and concepts that underpinned Southern’s paintings.
  • Contains the sequence of reflections on medieval ancient writing that Southern produced in the course of his tenure as President of the Royal historic Society.
  • Also contains items at the nature of educational background, in addition to Southern’s appreciations of different medievalists.
  • Brings jointly texts that will rather be tough to find.
  • Makes those writings available to the broader viewers they deserve.

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The details of his personal life are almost wholly obscure. 4 All that we know for certain is that he was a canon of the Augustinian abbey of St. Victor in Paris and that he died in 1141. During the twenty years before his death he wrote a long series of works which exercised a mild influence on many branches of thought for several centuries. He was an almost exact contemporary of Abelard, Thierry of Chartres, and William of Conches, but in this sparkling company he is a faceless man. Like many of his great contemporaries he was a notable teacher;5 but his name has not been associated with any single great original idea, nor with any major development of scholastic method, nor with the introduction of any new material into the curriculum of the schools.

18 Aspects of the European Tradition of Historical Writing pulpit rhetoric still lay far in the future. History was the one branch of rhetoric that had lost none of its ancient opportunities. The opportunities were especially great because there was never a time when display counted for more in public and private life than in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Great events were preeminently occasions of ceremony and pomp. Displays of pomp were a main prop of government; they were the highlights of the ecclesiastical year, and they marked the stages in the rise of churches and empires alike.

The six days of Creation foreshadowed the six ages of history, and the seventh day of rest corresponded to the eternity beyond the end of history. Augustine’s vision of history was an extraordinary flight of imagination springing from the mysterious depths of biblical truth. The first chapter of Genesis was the clue to the whole course of history; the genealogies of St. Matthew’s Gospel were the clue to the precise boundaries of three of the six ages. So the main divisions of historical time were mapped out; and the faint outlines of a universal development came into view.

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