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In the following sketch, the author has confined himself to one branch of the History of the Middle Ages. He attempts nothing more than a glance at the social condition of Europe, from the fifth to the twelfth century; political affairs, military transactions, the rise and fall of dynasties, the relation of European states to each other, and the lives and deeds of the heroes of those days, do not come within the range of his plan. He has marked out the first six centuries of the middle ages, for separate consideration, because in the twelfth century a new epoch commenced.
Much of what is true of the former period, is not true of the latter. New social elements were then formed, and old ones received new life it was the dawn of modern civilisation. It is difficult to draw a well-defined line between the two ages, but it may be placed