Drinking History from the Font: Primary Sources

Prior to the modern age and the ubiquity of textbooks, it was common for students to learn history by the reading of primary sources. It was taken for granted that the best way to educate oneself about what the ancient Greeks thought was to actually read the writings of the ancient Greeks. If one wanted to learn about the reign of Charlemagne, the best way to do so was to actually dig up and study the royal charters of the Carolingian kingdom. Not only was historical study based on primary sources common, but it was inconceivable that it should be conducted any other way.
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