The Birth of the West
The tenth century dawned in violence and disorder. Charlemagne's empire was in ruins, most of Spain had been claimed by Moorish invaders, and even the papacy in Rome was embroiled in petty, provincial conflicts. To many historians, it was a prime example of the ignorance and uncertainty of the Dark Ages.… More »
The tenth century dawned in violence and disorder. Charlemagne's empire was in ruins, most of Spain had been claimed by Moorish invaders, and even the papacy in Rome was embroiled in petty, provincial conflicts. To many historians, it was a prime example of the ignorance and uncertainty of the Dark Ages. Yet according to historian Paul Collins, the story of the tenth century is the story of our culture's birth, of the emergence of our civilization into the light of day. The Birth of the West tells the story of a transformation from chaos to order, exploring the alien landscape of Europe in transition. It is a fascinatingnarrative that thoroughly renovates older conceptions of feudalism and what medieval life was actually like. The result is a wholly new vision of how civilization sprang from the unlikeliest of origins, and proof that our tenth-century ancestors are not as remote as we might think.« Less
The physical landscape of the tenth century -- Roman "harlots" : from the cadaver synod to the fall of Marozia -- The nadir of the papacy -- Enemies of Christians -- The dissention of kings -- Salvation from "that very savage people" -- Feudal France -- Muslims and Christians in Spain -- Anglo-Saxon England -- The Celtic lands : Ireland, Scotland, and Wales -- Liutprand of Cremona, cynic, diplomat, and stylist -- "That Greek woman" : Theophano, Otto II, and her mother-in-law -- Monks and nuns -- Ordinary life in the tenth century -- Faith and church in the tenth century -- Gerbert, the magician of the millennium -- Otto III : a "new Rome"? -- The millennium.
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