It is a trite thing to say that all long periods of European history are ages of transition. The old order is ever passing gradually away, and a new society is ever springing up from amidst the ruins of the dying system that has done its work. But the period with which this book is concerned is transitional in no merely conventional sense. We take up the story in the early years of the tenth century, when the Dark Ages had not yet run their course. We end it in the closing years of the thirteenth century, when the choicest flowers of mediæval civilisation were already in full bloom. Starting at the end of a period of deep depression and degradation, we have to note how feudalism got rid of the barbarian invaders, and restored the military efficiency of Europe at the expense of its order and civilisation. We learn how the revival of the Roman Empire again set up an effective and orderly political power, and led to the revival of the Church and religion, and the subsequent renewal of intellectual life. But the Empire was never more than a half-realised theory; and while the world had theoretically one master, it was in reality ruled by a multitude of petty feudal chieftains. Thus was brought about the universal monarchy of the Papacy, the Crusades, the monastic revivals, the strong but limited intellectual renascence of the twelfth century, and the marvellous development of art, letters, and material civilisation that flowed from it. The conflict of Papacy and Empire impaired the efficiency of both, and made possible the growth of the great national states of the thirteenth century, from which the ultimate salvation of Europe was to come. Turbulent as was the period during which these great revolutions were worked out, it was one of many-sided activity, and of general, but by no means unbroken, progress. It was the time of the development and perfection of all the most essential features of that type of civilisation which is called mediæval. It was the age of feudalism, of the Papacy and Empire, of the Crusades, of chivalry, of scholasticism and the early universities, of monasticism in its noblest types, of mediæval art in its highest aspects, and of national monarchy in its earliest form. Before our period ends, the best characteristics of the Middle Ages had already manifested themselves. Fertile as were the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in their promise of later developments, they bore witness only to the decline of what was most characteristic of the period that we now have to consider.
Editore Library Of Alexandria
Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM
EAN-13 9781465639196 9781465639196