Outlines of Medieval History

Outlines of Medieval History

Outlines of Medieval History

Outlines of Medieval History

Excerpt

The Middle Age of European history, i.e. the period which extends between the years 395 and 1942 A.D. roughly speaking, has been so named because it lies between the history of the Ancient World of Greece and Rome and that of our own time. It takes its beginning in the dissolution of the Roman Empire of the West, and comes to its close with the discovery of the New World of America. These terminal dates are indeed conventional enough. It is hard to decide which was really the most critical year in the destruction of the Western Roman Empire; it is harder to say when a decisive breach occurred with the civilization which that Empire guarded. And the voyage of Columbus to the further shore of the Atlantic was but one among many events and phenomena which effected the transformation of the politics, the commerce and the thought of Europe from their older to their present-day form. But if the boundaries of the period are conventional, the Middle Age itself is no arbitrary chronological division of history. It has definite characteristics of its own which distinguish it both from Antiquity and Modern Times. Its ideals, its methods of action and government, its conditions of life, and still more its views of life and the world, are startlingly divergent from ours and divergent also from those of ancient Greece and Rome.

The most comprehensive terms, which can be used to describe the Middle Age of Europe, are those of youth . . .

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