|THE MIDDLE AGES, CENTURY BY CENTURY|
|THE TRANSITION FROM MEDIAEVAL TO MODERN TIMES|
IN a topical discussion of this sort and in one that is centered on intellectual history and omits nearly all political and economic matters, the general movement of history is often lost. To restore the balance, and to pull the various threads together, let us view the whole mediaeval age century by century.
The great Roman Empire, which had made an economic, political, and cultural unity of the whole Mediterranean basin, began, in the third and fourth centuries A.D., to show evidences of decline and of transformation. The old economic prosperity and the traditions of honest and efficient government that had once characterized the most successful empire of history steadily deteriorated and disintegrated. The ancient religion of the state and the family was supplemented by Stoicism and Neo-Platonism for the intellectuals, and by the mystery religions and Christianity for the masses. Nearly all interest in experimental science had disappeared. The literature and art of the pagan world became reminiscent; its creative energy was weakening. The vital intellectual forces, outside the Neo-Platonic School, lay with the____________________