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A Captive of the Roman Eagles   By: (1834-1912)

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Transcriber's Notes:

1. Page scan source: 2. Footnote is at the end of the book. 3. Diphthong oe is represented by [oe].


A Captive of the Roman Eagles


Translated from the German by Mary J. Safford

TRANSLATOR OF "Aspasia," "Cleopatra," etc.

Chicago A. C. McClurg & Co. 1902

COPYRIGHT A. C. McCLURG & CO. 1902 PUBLISHED Sept. 13, 1902


The author of the romance "A Captive of the Roman Eagles" published in Germany under the title of "Bissula" is one of the most distinguished novelists of the present day in his own country, and will doubtless be equally appreciated by Americans.

Like Dr. Georg Ebers, he has based his historical novels upon the solid foundation of earnest study. The field he has chosen is principally the period of the conflicts between Germany and Rome, and the struggles for supremacy of the various peoples in the territory now occupied by Germany, Switzerland, and France, and he describes with vivid colors and dramatic power the life of those far off days.

Professor Dahn is a native of Hamburg, but spent his childhood in Munich, always a centre of intellectual life, and, under the stimulus of its circle of writers, his poetic talent developed early. He studied law, philosophy, and history in Munich and Berlin. In 1862 he was made Professor in the University of Wurzburg, in 1872 in Königsberg, and in 1888 he was called to a chair in the University of Breslau, where, in the intervals of his professional duties, he has devoted himself to his brilliant literary work.

The warm welcome accorded to my translations of the novels of Ebers, whose hold upon the affections of American readers has proved so enduring, inspires the hope that "A Captive of the Roman Eagles" may also receive a cordial recognition from our public.


Washington, D. C., June 10, 1902.





Whoever has been at Friedrichshafen on beautiful Lake Constance, on a clear August day, and watched the sun setting in splendor behind the tops of the beeches of Manzell; whoever has seen the waves of the lake and the snow capped peaks of the Alps from Sentis to the Allgau Mountains glow in the crimson light, while the notes of the Ave Maria float softly over forest, meadow, and water, will treasure the memory of the peaceful scene throughout his whole life. To this region the story of little Bissula leads us.

But in that period the year 378 the whole northern shore of the "Venetus Lacus" (Lake Constance) looked somewhat desolate, and often by no means peaceful. The lowlands were covered with primeval forests and fens only here and there a few scattered settlements appeared on patches of parched tilled land.

At that time the lake covered a much more extensive tract of country than now, and a still larger space was occupied by a marshy territory between the water and the meadow, which being for the greater portion of the year a mere swamp afforded at the same time refuge and food to flocks of wild swans, herons, and countless smaller water fowl.

This region had already been a considerable time in the possession of the Alemanni; but on the southern shore of the lake Rome still maintained her supremacy... Continue reading book >>

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