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The purpose of a prologue in the ancient and medieval world was to define the subject of the work, explain the author's motives and methodology, and obtain the reader's approval of his position. This volume brings together for the first time the most important historical prologues of the European tradition for a period of almost two millennia. The volume consists of more than 80 historical prologues and prefatory epistles from the fifth century BC to the fourteenth century. Each individual prologue is preceded by a brief introduction that provides basic information and context about the author and his work and directs the reader's attention to important ideas and themes. Taken together, they help to bridge the gap that separates the ancient and medieval world from our own.