The Historians History of the World; A Comprehensive...


Book Details

Author  Henry Smith Williams
Publisher  Forgotten Books
Publication Date   June 24, 2012
Pages  712

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Written Specially for the Present Work Bt JAMES T. SHOTWELL, Ph.D. Of Columbia University THE TP vAKSITION TO THE MIDDLE AGES The fifth century is, in a way, the beginning of the history of Europe. Until the hordes of Goths, Vandals, andF ranks came out from the fastnesses beyond the Rhine and Danube and played their part upon the cleared arena of the empire itself, the history of the world was antique. The history of the later empire is still a part of the continuous but shifting history of theM editerranean peoples. The civilisation which the legions of Constantine protected was not the product of Rome, it was the work of an antiquity which even then stretched farther back, three times farther, than all the distance which separates his time from ours. The empire was all antiquity, fused into a gigantic unit, and protected by the legions drawn from every quarter of the world, from Spain to Syria. As it grew old its roots sank deeper into the past. When it had taken all that Greece had to offer in art and literature, the tongue of Greece gave free access to the philosophy of the orient, and as its pantheon filled with all the gods of the world, its thought became the reflex of that of the Hellenised east. If Rome conquered the ancient world, it was made captive in return. The last pagan god to shine upon the standards of the legions wasM ithras, theS un-god of the Persians, while I sis shared with Jupiter the temple on the Capitol. This world entrenched behind the bulwarks that stretched from Solway toN ineveh, brooding upon its past, was quickened with but one new thought, and that was an un-R oman one, the strange, unworldly, Christian faith. The peoples that had become subjects of Rome were now to own a high allegiance to one whom it had condemned as a Jemsh criminal ;on the verge of its own destruction the empire became Christian. It is the fashion to de
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)

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