chapter  III
ON THE TESTING OF AUTHORITIES: (I) CHRONICLES AND NARRATIVE HISTORIES
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WHEN we have left behind us those very early periods for which monumental evidence is helped out by some slight assistance from the written word-generally of a very intermittent sort-and have got well over the edge of pre-history into history proper, the task of inquiring becomes much more complicated. Annals and chronicles are followed by narrative histories cast in a literary form, and autobiographies, biographies, and-not least importantcollections of letters, have to be taken into consideration, tested, and placed in correlation. The nearer that we get to modern times the more difficult does the task of arriving at certainty become, because the mass of material to be worked through becomes even greater.