Introducing the Christian Europe
About Christian Europe
Welcome to the Heritage Christian Europe Classical Library. If you have never used
a Heritage History Compact Library before, this page will help explain how the
information included in the Christian Europe library is organized and how it
may be used for independent study.
The page you are looking uses the same software that you are accustomed
to using when you browse the internet, but is reading files directly from your computer.
What this means is that all of the books that you link to in this environment
are available for you to view, print, or download to another device.
You don't need to pay additional fees to copy these books to an e-Reader or
Tablet, and you don't need to access the internet to view
them on your computer. Best of all, you don't need to worry about
if you choose to print or copy anything from the Christian Europe Library
for your personal use.
The Christian Europe Classical Library contains over fifty traditional history
books written especially for young people. It includes books at reading levels
from fourth grade to high school and each
book is presented in three different formats so students can read them on their
home computer, make printed copies, or download them to their e-Reader device.
Instructions for using electronic books in various formats are provided
in the Electronic Texts User Guide.
The contents of the Christian Europe library can be referenced by
subject, genre, or
reading level. Each entry includes the book’s title,
author, size, and links to three electronic formats. Software that "reads"
electronic books is required to view these files, but the Adobe Reader,
which displays the PDF version of each book,
already exists on almost all personal computers, and other electronic reader software can be
downloaded for free from the internet.
All of the books in the Christian Europe Library deal with some aspect of European
history, but the books
by Subject page organizes them into more
France and the Netherlands,
Germany and Italy,
Norsemen and Vikings,
The Crusades, and
Church History are subject categories
that focus primarily on specific topics rather than providing a broad overview
of all of European history. Books that include diverse stories of European
history instead of focusing on a specific topic are grouped into a general
Overall Europe category.
In addition to subject, the collection of European history books
can also be referenced by Genre. Heritage History genres include
Comprehensive histories, which cover European history chronologically,
Episodic histories, which treat a particular incident or era, and
Biographies, which include both collections of short character sketches, and
longer individual life stories. The two final genre categories are
Legends and Literature and
Lastly, the Christian Europe library provides lists of its books
by Reading Level. Books intended for Grammar school students are listed in
Green, books appropriate for middle schoolers are listed in
Brown, and those recommended for more mature audiences are listed in
Red. This color scheme is used throughout the Compact Library to
reflect reading level.
In addition to providing book lists organized by subject, genre, and reading level, the
Christian Europe Library contains several additional reference pages intended to help
students and instructors identify books of particular interest. The
Book Summaries page includes a short
description of each book in the library. The
Series Descriptions page, which features descriptions of
overall series rather than individual books, may be helpful to those
readers who enjoy a particular book and would like to locate similar volumes.
Recommendations page provides specific reading
recommendations for core reading assignments for various age groups.
Using Electronic Texts
In order to make our entire library of traditional history books available at an
affordable price, Heritage History provides electronic versions of all of our
books in both e-Reader and printable format.
Unfortunately, not everyone is up-to-date regarding
the most recent advances in electronic books technology. In order to
help our users make informed decisions about usage and purchases of
e-Readers and desktop publishing tools, we have provided an
Electronic Texts User Guide. It is divided into
three main sections that deal with issues related to
electronic readers, self-publishing, and copyright restrictions.
The Heritage guide to
discusses the differences between various e-Reader technologies and gives detailed
instructions for downloading Heritage e-Books from a Compact Library
to an e-Reader device such as Kindle or Apple iPad.
For those who prefer reading hard-copies rather than e-Books, the Heritage guide to
provides tips for printing
and binding the books from the Heritage library at home in an efficient and cost-effective
manner. Finally, the terms and conditions of using the electronic texts are
discussed in the
Copyright Terms section.
A printable copy of the Heritage
Electronic Texts User Guide
is available, and we
recommend that anyone who is not already familiar with e-Reader technology,
laser printers, and binding equipment read the guide before deciding
how to use the Heritage e-Book library. Even technologically
advanced readers should familiarize themselves with the copyright
status of the Heritage books before beginning the program.
If you still have
questions after reading the Electronic Texts User Guide, refer to the Electronic Texts
Frequently Asked Questions.
The Curriculum Guide
All Heritage Classical Libraries, including the
Christian Europe Classical Library,
contain a broad selection of books on a particular historical topic,
but do not include maps, timelines, character lists, battle dictionaries, or
other learning resources associated with a complete curriculum.
Even without the additional learning aides, Heritage Classical Libraries
can be used as the
basis of a reading-based course of study, or they can be used to supplement
other traditional curricula. Conventional
history texts often do a thorough job of covering the basics, but they
don't have space to tell the most interesting stories of history
in detail. Heritage Classical Libraries correct this deficiency by
providing an entire library of engaging biographies and exciting stories
Whether you use Christian Europe collection as your primary
curriculum, or to supplement another program, it may be instructive to
read the Heritage Classical
Curriculum User Guide, supplied with this library.
The differences between a conventional history program, and
the "living books" method of learning history, recommended by
Heritage History, are discussed in the introduction, along with
other aspects of the Heritage History learning philosophy.
Most of the rest of the guide focuses on practical tips for
keeping students on track learning the essentials while maintaining
enough flexibility to allow them to pursue their own interests.
We recommend that anyone who is interested in the program review
About Christian Europe
The Christian Europe library covers over twelve centuries
of European history, from the fall of the Roman empire to the
reign of Louis XIV and the rise of Prussia. During this period, most
of Western Europe was ruled by Christian princes, and all of
European culture was influenced by a Christian worldview.
Developing an engaging library that reflects the most important
aspects of mediaeval Europe and the Reformation era is a challenging
task. We sought to provide a broad introduction that touches upon
European art, legends, literature, hero stories, and history, while
relying on books that emphasize good story-telling.
We intentionally included histories written from more than one viewpoint,
and our biographies feature both Catholic Saints and Protestant heroes.
A few other ways in which the
Christian Europe Classical library differs from conventional European history
programs are discussed as follows:
National histories—The material covered by the
Christian Europe library spans twelve centuries and encompasses many
different languages, governments, and cultures. Given the breadth and variety of
European civilization there is more than one way to approach the subject.
One way is to study the histories of each of the major countries in continental
Europe individually (France, Germany, Austria, Italy, etc.), while the
other is to take a thematic approach and cover topics of importance to
all of Europe (Christian conversion, feudalism, Viking invasion,
Renaissance, Reformation, etc.).
Most conventional European textbooks take a thematic approach, simply
because it is the only way to squeeze over a thousand years of diverse
events, critical conflicts, and important characters into a single
book. By condensing so much history into so little space, European
history textbooks may succeed in presenting the fundamentals, but they
often fail to engage the genuine interest and sympathy of
Heritage History solves this problem by offering a complete library
so that it can present a broad selection
of engaging histories. A few thematic histories are included in the
collection, but students are encouraged to read national histories and individual
biographies in order to better understand the fascinating cultures,
characters, and conflicts that make up European history.
Religious Controversies—From the fall of the Roman Empire to modern times, the
Christian Church, as an institution as well as a set of beliefs, has been
fundamental to European culture. After the Reformation, however, a common
understanding of the role of the institutional church as well as the
traditional body of Christian beliefs became increasingly controversial.
Rather than presenting only a
single viewpoint on this issue, Heritage History presents religious heroes and
Church histories from several points of view, including both Catholic and
Protestant. Most books in the collection, however, are not explicitly
partisan, and those that are indicated as such on the
Book Summaries page.
We at Heritage History would like our library to be useful to a wide range
of independent learners, including families that disagree on particular
interpretations of Christian doctrines. Instead of censoring all books
that could be controversial, however, we have chosen to include books from
a variety of viewpoints. Individual families
may choose which books they would like to read from the collection, or
they can allow their students to read books from more than one perspective.
It is not our ambition to supply the final word regarding religious
controversies, only to engage students by providing compelling stories that
present the basic facts of history. It is our hope that
as Christian students mature they will continue to read history from
more complicated historical sources, so that they can better understand
the roots of Christian divisions.
Art, Culture, Philosophy—Another way in which
European civilization is dramatically different from other world
civilizations is the immense fruitfulness of its artistic and intellectual
culture. Art, poetry, music, architecture, literature, history, and
philosophy are not unique to Europe, but only in Christian Europe
did all of these fields develop to a degree of sophistication
unparalleled in human history. Baroque painting, Shakespearean drama,
classical opera, scholastic philosophy,
and Gothic cathedrals, are only a few evidences of the cultural
achievements of Christian Europe that have few parallels in
The Christian Europe library currently contains only a few books that
touch upon the great artistic, literary, and cultural achievements of
Western Europe. It would require a library twice the size of the
existing collection to do justice to the cultural
achievements of mediaeval and pre-modern Europe. Most of the
space in the Christian Europe library focuses on history, however,
because a solid grounding in history (both ancient and European), is
required to understand many of the great works of European art
and literature. Students need a broad, introductory exposure to
European history before they can fully appreciate masterpieces
such as Dante's Inferno, Michelangelo's David, Moliere's Tartuffe,
and Bizet's Carmen.
The purpose of the Christian Europe library is to introduce students
to as much engaging and easy-to-understand European history as possible,
so that they can spend a lifetime exploring the artistic, philosophical,
literary, and spiritual gifts of Christian culture. There is
far more to be thought and said about the legacy of Western civilization
than can possibly be dealt with in a single term—understanding and appreciation
of Western culture is a lifetime project. Familiarity with the history of Christian
Europe is just the foundation.
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