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The Baldwin Project: Alfred J. Church

Alfred J. Church

(1829 - 1912)

1879 Stories from the Greek Tragedians Adapted Literature
1882 Stories from Livy Comprehensive History
1884 Roman Life in the Days of Cicero Episodic History
1885 The Chantry Priest of Barnet Historical Fiction
1885 Lucius. Adventures of a Roman Boy Historical Fiction
1887 Stories of the Magicians Legends
1888 The Count on the Saxon Shore Historical Fiction
1889 Three Greek Children Historical Fiction
1889 To the Lions Historical Fiction
1889 The Hammer Historical Fiction
1891 The Burning of Rome Historical Fiction
1891 Callias - The Fall of Athens Historical Fiction
1891 Stories of the East from Herodotus Episodic History
1891 The Story of the Persian War Episodic History
1892 Pictures from Roman Life and Story Episodic History
1893 Stories from the Greek Comedians Adapted Literature
1893 Pictures from Greek Life and Story Episodic History
1895 Stories from English History: I Comprehensive History
1896 Stories From English History: III Comprehensive History
1896 Stories From English History: II Comprehensive History
1897 Lords of the World Historical Fiction
1899 Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition Military History
1900 Helmet and Spear Military History
1902 Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France Legends
1903 The Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem Episodic History
1903 Greek Story and Song  
1904 The Crusaders Episodic History
1905 A Young Macedonian in the Army of Alexander the Great Historical Fiction
1906 The Crown of Pine Historical Fiction
1906 The Odyssey for Boys and Girls Legends
1907 Stories from Ancient Rome Episodic History
1907 The Iliad for Boys and Girls Legends
1908 The Aeneid for Boys and Girls Legends
1909 With the King at Oxford Historical Fiction


Rev. Alfred J. Church (1829-1912) grew up in Victorian England, was ordained in 1853, and taught at several private schools in Britain before gaining a post as a professor of Latin at University College of London. He was a respected scholar and some of his earliest works were translations of Latin authors.

In the late 1870s he published his first works for a general reading audience: Stories from Homer, Stories from Virgil, and Stories from Livy. These were simplified versions of classical works, and were so well received that he embarked on a thirty year career of writing. During this period he produced over fifty books, all historical in nature, but written in a variety of genres.

Church's books vary widely in approach, and his intended audience ranges from elementary to university level. His books include historical fiction, biographies, historical vignettes, general history, mythology, epics, and simplified classics, as well as scholarly Latin translations.

For anyone interested in a classical education, Church's books are an invaluable resource. He is especially gifted at exciting a real interest in history in the intermediate student; that is someone who has already read an introductory history of Greece, Rome, or England, but would like more interesting and indepth knowledge of these areas. Church's works are full of many of the fascinating details of history that introductory courses must leave out, and inspire an abiding interest in the ancients. A few of his most famous works are written for older elementary students, but most are directed toward college bound junior high school and high school students; but history buffs of any age will be delighted with his works.

His books can be categorized in the following manner.

Simplified Classics: In these books Church takes a classic work and simplifies it, while retaining as much of the character of the original as possible. These are faithful renditions, rather than translations. They are not difficult reading, but are intermediate, rather than introductory material. Some of his simplified classics include:

Stories from Livy 
Stories From Virgil 
Stories from the Greek Tragedians (∆schylus, Sophicles, Euripides)
Stories from the Greek Comedians(Aristophanes, Meander, Philemon)
The Story of the Persian War(Herodotus)
Stories of the East from Herodotus(Herodotus)
Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition(Thucydides)
The Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem(Josephus)
Faery Queen and Her Knights(Spenser)
The Greek Gulliver a.k.a A Travellerís True Tale(Lucan)
Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France(Caxton)

Childrenís Classics: Church's Classicís for Juniors, are some of his best-known works, and have been widely read in the English speaking world for most of the 20th century. In these books, he does not preserve the authors original style, but rather, retells the tale in a manner accessible to young readers.

The Iliad for Boys and Girls(Homer)
The Odyssey for Boys and Girls(Homer)
The Aeneid for Boys and Girls(Virgil)
Stories of the Old World(Argo, Thebes, Troy, Ulysses, Aenied)
Three Greek Children(Classical Greek heroes)
Heroes of Chivalry and Romance(Beowolf, King Arthur, Nibelungs)
Stories of the Magians(Thalaba, Rustem, Kehama)

Historical Fiction: Church's approach to Historical fiction is to introduce as much history as possible into an action packed narrative. The plotlines may be somewhat contrived, but they are never dull; His heroes are buffeted from one historically significant event to another, with just a few asides for love interest, and dramatic escapes and rescues. Church's ability to weave tremendous amounts of historical detail into his stories without becoming tedious is astounding, but most are recommended for older students with some background in history rather than for introductory level students.

Callias - The Fall of Athens(After Peloponnesian War ~400 B.C.)
A Young Macedonian in the Army of Alexander the Great(Alexander the Great ~330 B.C.)
The Hammer(Maccabee Revolt ~250 B.C.)
Helmet and Spear(Macedonian Wars ~200 B.C.)
Lords of the World(Fall of Carthage/Corinth ~146 B.C.)
Lucius. Adventures of a Roman Boy(Age of Pompey ~70 B.C.)
The Crown of Pine(Age of Claudius ~50 A.D.")
The Burning of Rome(Age of Nero ~62 A.D.)
To the LionsPersecution of Christians ~110 A.D.)
The Count on the Saxon Shore(Romans leave Britain ~400 A.D.)
The Chantry Priest of Barnet(War of Roses, Abbey Life ~1480 A.D.)
With the King at Oxford(English Civil War ~1640 A.D.)

Historical Vignettes: These books are collections of interesting stories and anecdotes rather than comprehensive histories. They are all of intermediate level interest. Many of these anecdotes are quite entertaining. They are an excellent second step for becoming familiar with Classical History.

Pictures from Greek Life and Story(Golden Age of Greece ~550-400 B.C.)
Stories from Ancient Rome(Kingdom & Early Republic ~750-200 B.C.)
Roman Life in the Days of Cicero(Fall of Republic ~ 80-40 B.C.)
Pictures from Roman Life and Story(Early Empire ~ 30 B.C-180 A.D.)
Stories from English History: I(Caesar to Black Prince ~ to 1400 A.D.)
Stories From English History: II(Richard II to Charles I ~ to 1650 A.D.)
Stories From English History: III(Cromwell to Victoria ~ to 1900 A.D.)
The Crusaders(~1000 A.D.)
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