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About the Author || 1: The Roman Empire at its Height

Please take into consideration the purpose and audience for which the lecture notes listed above were written. For a good many years, I taught a three-credit-hour freshman survey entitled Introduction to Medieval History to enrollments of room-size - generally three hundred students. During those years, the University of Kansas maintained an open enrollment policy in which all graduates from accredited Kansas high schools were admitted to the University. Since the only history courses required by the State of Kansas at the secondary level were in American History, students enrolling for this course varied widely in their knowledge of the European past.

Consequently, my lectures were both basic and episodic, concentrating on major events and topics that would prepare the students for further enrollments in Humanities courses and attempting to demonstrate that the study of History could be both useful and enjoyable. Thus the lectures listed below deal with basic issues and are intended only to offer a background for further study of the subject.

Those lectures entitled Thoughts on Reading . . . are an exception to this characterization. They were written to guide students in an honors course of some thirty students in some useful techniques in reading primarily literary source materials. They were intended to stimulate thought, not to explain the significance of the students' readings.

Having put these materials on-line during the two or three years before my retirement in 1998, I left them in place and soon received comments and suggestions from people who were using them to supplement the materials of courses in Medieval History that they were taking at other universities or were simply reading for pleasure. I found it quite pleasant to think that my materials were continuing to instruct and perhaps even providing some enjoyment even though I was no longer actively teaching, so I have undertaken to improve the format and contents of these offerings and will add to them as I find time to do so.

I might add that I assert no proprietary interest in these materials but offer them freely for public use. You may copy them, reproduce them, or do whatever you wish with them. I hope that, whatever use you may make of them, they will prove of some value to you.

Lynn H. Nelson
1 January 2001