Mohammed and Charlemagne

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Courier Corporation, 18 ապր, 2012 թ. - 304 էջ
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The final work of the great Belgian historian Henri Pirenne, this remarkable classic — published after his death — offers a revolutionary perspective on how Europe under the influence of a Roman Empire centered in Constantinople evolved into the Europe of Charlemagne and the Middle Ages.
Departing from the standard view that Germanic invasions obliterated the Roman Empire, Pirenne advances the radical new thesis that "the cause of the break with the tradition of antiquity was the rapid and unexpected advance of Islam," and event of historical proportions that prevented the western Mediterranean from being what it had always been: a thoroughfare of commerce and thought. It became instead what Pirenne refers to as "a Musulman lake," thereby causing "the axis of life [to shift] northwards from the Mediterranean" for the first time in history.
Brilliant and controversial, this volume garnered these words of praise from the critics: "It is a dull reader indeed who does not recognize the light of genius in the pages of this book, without doubt a landmark in contemporary historiography." — G. C. Boyce, Annals of the American Academy. "… Pirenne's crowning triumph. The fire of his genius, the boldness of his mind, his profound learning and vivid pen make this volume pleasant reading." — Commonweal. "… an important, seminal book, worthy to close one of the most distinguished careers in European scholarship." — Saturday Review of Literature.
Pirenne's masterly study is essential reading for history students, medievalists, and general readers with an interest in the decline of the Roman Empire and the beginnings of the Middle Ages.

 

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Belgian-born historian Henry Pirenne spent most of his professional life as professor of history at the University of Ghent. During World War I, he was a leader of Belgian passive resistance and spent several years as a hostage of the Germans. As a historian Pirenne centered his attention on the urban development of the Low Countries during the medieval period. In Medieval Cities, published in 1925, he argues that medieval urban development grew out of regional fortresses. With the economic revival beginning in the tenth century, city and town life expanded. These communities created their own laws, allowing the development of individual freedoms. Pirenne is best remembered, however, for the "Pirenne thesis" about the foundations of European civilization, which he put forth in his 1937 work Mohammed and Charlemagne. The thesis is that the great event that pushed Europeans into the formation of their own civilization was not the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century but the Islamic conquest of much of the Mediterranean.

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