Alexander the Great was the king of Macedonia and the great conqueror; probably represented in the Bible by the "belly of brass". He was about twenty years old when he commenced his career, and died quite young.
"Notwithstanding the briefness of Alexander's career, he ran through, during that short period, a very brilliant series of exploits, which were so bold, so romantic, and which led him into such adventures in scenes of the greatest magnificence and splendor, that all the world looked on with astonishment then, and mankind have continued to read the story since, from age to age, with the greatest interest and attention." (Jacob Abbott)
This book deals with the Life and Conquests of Alexander the Great.
This book deals with the History of the Discovery of Australia.
"The world was old before Australia was wrested by navigators from her primal gloom and obscurity. Throughout the long roll of centuries of ancient greatness the oceans were unexplored. Their refluent, rippling, glassy vastnesses were even more impenetrable than the densest forest thicket. The Christian era was well advanced when men were bold enough to seek to fathom their mysteries. The ancients believed their little world contained the whole habitable globe. A little knowledge of the laws of the universe made them fear bottomless precipices which bounded the earth, and, therefore, they cared not to go out to the rising sun and over to the twilight. A few were curious, and their prophetic verse, picturing great distant continents, we still possess. Until the end of the fifteenth century, maritime adventure was confined to the seas between and round the known parts of the continents, Great Britain and the islands south of Japan and China. In previous centuries travellers had gone through Asia to India and China, and learnt that Timor and the Molacca Islands, north-west of Australia, were centres of Eastern trade. In their dahows and junks the Easteners constantly visited these islands, and gained from them what wealth they could. Marco Polo, a famous Venetian traveller of the thirteenth century, had many remarkable adventures in China, Japan, Sumatra, Java, and Ceylon, and his accounts of new races astonished beyond measure those who read them. Nothing was known of an ocean route to these beautiful regions....The sixteenth century was allowed to wane and die without any navigator being known to specially visit Australia. It is quite possible that vessels had been wrecked during storms on her rocky boundaries, but if so, the passengers with the ships were overwhelmed by the ocean waves. It was, however, early in the seventeenth century that the first detailed discovery was made. The natives of the East Indies had meanwhile become familiar with Portuguese, Dutch, and Spaniards alike, but the pristine silence of southern oceans was often rudely broken by the cries of conflicting ships' companies. The Spaniards and the Portuguese were in deadly enmity and slaughtered each other with impunity. Nor was that all. For much more than a century the East Indies supplied a hunting ground for bloodthirsty Europeans, who constantly preyed upon the weaker and ignorant natives. In their greed for wealth, and in their brute love for slaughter, they thought nothing of devastating towns and murdering the inhabitants. Privateers and buccaneers roved the southern seas, and Englishmen were not backward in the deadly game then carried on. But while this was proceeding, navigators of the same noble caste as Columbus were making their useful voyages, and taking back to Europe astounding news of divers rich great countries. Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, and English all deserve honour for their services to navigation in the Southern Hemisphere, and especially, so far as Australia is concerned, the Dutch and English. It is remarkable that more wrecks did not occur while they were prosecuting their adventurous search, for knowing nothing of the Australian coast, nor of the gales which periodically blow so strongly, there was the possibility of their at any moment sinking to the bottom of the ocean. So far away from their homes, and trusting their lives to comparatively fragile vessels they had much to chance. But they were cautious men, possessing qualities which fitted them for almost any position a community can offer; and those of their journals which are extant prove that they possessed no mediocre literary ability. And with all their caution they were remarkably courageous, and permeated with an intense love of adventure..."
This book deals with the Story of Bacteriology and presents a history of Vaccination and Preventive Medicine.
"The story of bacteriology can best be told by recounting the labors of Pasteur, for while bacteria were known and theories of infection had been elaborated and vaccination practiced before his time, it was he who definitely established the importance of bacteria in putrefaction, fermentation and disease, and gave to vaccination a scientific basis. The influence of these labors is compatible in medicine only to that of Virchow in his field and is as great as that exerted in general biology by Darwin's researches. The story of rapid sequence of Pasteur's brilliant discoveries in science, each of crucial importance and establishing a new principle have, I believe, no parallel in biology or, for that matter, any other science. But before presenting Pasteur's labors it is necessary to outline the knowledge of bacteria and the theories of fermentation, infection and allied processes which were current at the beginning of his era..."
This book deals with the history of Aesop, the inventor of fables.
"Famous for his Fables, Aesop was a native of Phrygia, in Asia Minor, and flourished in the time of Solon, about 560 B. C. A life of him was written by a Greek monk, named Planudes, about the middle of the fourteenth century, which passed into circulation as a genuine work, but which is proved to have been a mere fiction. In that work, Æsop is represented as being hunch-backed, and an object of disgust from his deformity. There appears to be no foundation whatever for this story. This invention of the monk, no doubt, had for its object, to give eclat to the beauties of Æsop's mind, by the contrast of bodily deformity..."
This book deals with the phenomena of Animal Intelligence.
No phenomena in nature are watched with more interest by all classes, young and old, ignorant and educated, than the displays of intelligence in the inferior animals. From the dog, which occupies a position of intelligent companionship with man, down through the less favored species even to the lowest groups of animal life, we see manifested all degrees of that wonderful attribute which in its highest perfection constitutes the human mind.