Two Lives of the Emperor Charles V

Ernest F. Henderson
1903 American Historical Review  
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more » ... ntent at JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact TWO LIVES OF THE EMPEROR CHARLES V. ROBERTSON'S Clharles V. appeared in the year 1769 and has since gone through some three dozen editions. The author was paid 4,500 pounds, the largest sum ever received for a work on history up to that time. His praises were loudly sung by many of the greatest men, and even Gibbon expressed himself as proud to be mentioned in the same breath. But perhaps the strongest proof of the estimation in which Robertson has been held is the fact that from that early day until I902 there was no attempt in the English language to write a history of the period on a similar scale. The man who ruled over more territory than any other king or emperor since Roman times, the man whose reign saw the rise of the Protestant faith, was left without a modern biographer; and generationi after generation of English readers was obliged to content itself with that which Robertson had offered. The appearance, then, of a most careful and thoughtful work' by a thoroughly equipped Oxford scholar is a great event for the student of history. Not only is our actual knowledge greatly increased, but we are furnished with a point of vantage from which to look back and see what progress has been made in this field during the past century and a quarter. But first a word must be said about the relative scope of the two works, and it must be noted at the outset that Robertson's introductory " View of the State of Europe," which is the most scholarly part of his work, has no counterpart in Armstrong; that the latter treats of certain topics relating to the New World which Robertson reserves for a separate volume; and that, finally, Armstrong ends his work with I555, the year of Charles's abdication, while Robertson continues to the Emperor's death in I558. This latter circumstance is the more curious as Robertson professes to be writing a history of the reign and Armstrong of the life-distinctions, indeed, which are not logically adhered to by either writer. One last, important difference is, that Armstrong's work is more of a study, Robertson's more of a narrative; the one looks at a question from all sides, the other seems chiefly bent on the artistic representation of a scene or an I The Emperor Chtarles V., by Edward Armstrong, M.A. (2 vols., Macmillan, 1902). 23 24 E. F. Henderson
doi:10.2307/1834217 fatcat:v5fm6xyqwfg3lfj5qlaenvwovm