After turning over tens of thousands of leaves in Latin, French, Italian, German, English, Spanish and Dutch print, one is left with an accumulation of observed phenomena - religious, cultural, literary, psychological - which the mind is forced to coordinate into some sort of general conclusions. As the author has stated in some of the pages which follow this preface, The author was profoundly averse to formulating 'philosophies of history', and though he felt impelled to put in order the impression whihc much reading and pondering have left with him, the author did not pretend to link these impressions into any theory of evolution. There are as many 'ifs' in history as 'therefores'. The phenomena are always interesting, often contradictory, like the strands of thought and behaviour in an individual human being. The author sets down his conclusions for what they are worth - though perhaps, as the Preacher remarks, 'of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh'. But the sixteenth century was a wonderful time.
Chapter I On looking Forward and Looking Backward
Chapter II Lost Illusions: The Papacy and The Holy Roman Empire
Chapter III The End of the Fifteenth Century
Chapter IV Man and the Universe in the Sixteenth Century
Chapter V Tendencies and Individuals. The Popes and The King of France
Chapter VI Tendencies and Individuals. Charles V and Philip II
Chapter VII Tendencies and Individuals. Henry VIII of England
Chapter VIII Tendencies and Individuals. Gustavus Vasa and Scandinavian Protestantism
Chapter IX The Opportunists Great and Small. Elizabeth and Catherine De Medici and Others
Chapter X The Turkish Danger, 1520-71
Chapter XI The Wars of the Sixteenth Century: (a) The Italian Wars, (b) The 'Wars of Religion'
Chapter XII The Occult in the Sixteenth Century
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