In presenting this book to the public the author can only reiterate what she has already said in works of a similar kind: that she has tried to exclude the mass of confusing details which often make the reading of history a dreary task; and to keep closely to those facts which are vital to the unfolding of the narrative. This is done under a strong conviction that the essential facts in history are those which reveal and explain the development of a nation, rather than the incidents, more or less entertaining, which have attended such development. And also under another conviction: that a little, thoroughly comprehended, is better than much imperfectly remembered and understood.
rom their neighbors the Cantabrians, and both these from the Catalonians in the northeast and the Gallicians on the northwest coast, and from the Lusitanians, where now is Portugal; and still more distinguished the Basques, in the rocky ravines of the Pyrenees, from each and all of the others. And yet these unlike members of one family were collectively known as Keltiberians.
While this race--hardy, temperate, brave, and superstitious--was leading its primitive life upon the Iberian peninsula, while they were shooting arrows at the sky to threaten the thunder, drawing their swords against the rising tide, and prizing iron more dearly than their abundant gold and silver, because they could hammer it into hooks, and swords, and spears--there had long existed in the East a group of wonderful civilizations: the Egyptian, hoary with age and steeped in wisdom and in wickedness; the Chaldeans, who, with "looks commercing with the skies," were the fathers o