Tugrul Kurt: A Ahort Summary- "Christopher Dawson- The Making of Europe"
Marmara University Faculty of Theology
History of Religions (Master)- Prof. Dr. Küşat Demirci
A. Part One: the foundations……………………………………………………………………………………….
I. The Roman Empire...........................................................................................
II. The Catholic Church ………………………………………………………………………………………..
III. The Classical Tradition and Christianity …………………………………………………………
IV. The Barbarians ………………………………………………………………………………………………
V. The Barbarian Invasions and the Fall of the Empire in the West…………………….
B. Part Two: the ascendancy of the east…………………………………………………………………………..
I. The Christian Empire and the Rise of the Byzantine Culture…………………………..
II. The Awakening of the East and the Revolt of the Subject Nationalities……………
III. The Rise of Islam…………………………………………………………………………………..…………
IV. The Expansion of Moslem Culture ……………………………………………………….
V. The Byzantine Renaissance and the Revival of the Eastern Empire………………..
C. Part Three: the formation of western Christendom…………………………………………………….
I. The Western Church and the Conversion of the Barbarians ……………………………..
II. The Restoration of the Western Empire and Carolingian Renaissance……………
III. The Age of the Vikings and the Conversion of the North…………………………….
IV. The Rise of the Mediaeval Unity……………………………………………………………..
Christopher Dawson published his book titled “The Making of Europe” in 1932. This book had reached enormous success and with this work/book, he established his reputation as a scholar and scientist (also).
The main idea, the keynote of Dawson’s thought as found in The Making of Europe was this: religion is the soul of a culture, and a society that has lost its spiritual roots is a dying society, however prosperous it may appear externally.
Dawson demonstrates in his book that Christianity has been the spiritual force that created the unity of Western culture, indeed the commonwealth of Europe itself, from the chaotic world of myriad warring tribes. The western world did not rise up like Phoenix from its ashes, but it rather was risen up under different influences during a long time. He shows how the Dark Ages , became a dawn witnessing to the conversion of the West, the foundation of Western civilization and the creation of Christian art and liturgy .
In this paper, we will show the main ideas of Dawson. Also we will give a short summary of Dawson’s book “The Making of Europe”
Christopher Dawson “The Making of Europe”- Main ideas and a short summary
Christopher Dawson describes at first the general situation and the importance of this study. For Dawson “it is impossible to understand mediaeval culture unless we have a sympathy and appreciation for mediaeval religion, and here the Catholic historian possesses an obvious advantage. To the secular historian the early Middle Ages must inevitably still appear as the Dark Ages, as ages of barbarism, without secular culture or literature, given up to unintelligible disputes on incomprehensible dogmas or to savage wars that have no economic or political justification. But to the Catholic they are not dark ages so much as ages of dawn, for they witnessed the conversion of the West, the foundation of Christian civilisation, and the creation of Christian art and Catholic liturgy. Above all, they were the Age of the Monks”. The Monks are very important for the spreading. Decedict, St. Gregory etc. are some of the most famous Monks.” But he also confess that for those, who are not catholic, it isn’t possible to understand this age of Monks exactly. “It is very difficult for anyone who is not a Catholic to understand the full meaning of this great tradition. There have, indeed, been a few scholars, like the late Heinrich Gelzer, who have been led by their interest in Byzantine or mediaeval studies to an intuitive realization of the monastic ideal.2 But such men are rare; to the ordinary secular historian monasticism must remain as alien and incomprehensible a phenomenon as the Lamaism of Thibet or the temple priesthood of the ancient Sumerians. To the Catholic, on the other hand, the monastic institution still forms an integral part of his spiritual world”.
Therefore we recognized that there are two possibilities to analyze and read the history. On the one hand there is the profane point of view. Everything we know is built on historical and scientist facts. But on the other hand, there is a sacred view. Not everything is based on some facts, but on personal experience. We call it “religious experience”. İt can may be a “theophany ” or a “hierophany ”.
To understand the differences between the sacred and the profane, it is necessary to take a look upon the explanations of Mircea Eliade. In his book “The Sacred and the Profane” Eliade shows in detail the differences and main aspects of profane and also sacred objects and thoughts.
Her are a short view of Eliade’s theory about the sacred and the profane:
“Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different form the profane. To designate the act of manifestation of the sacred, we have proposed the term hierophany. It is a fitting term, because it does not imply anything further; it expresses no more than is implicit in its etymological content, i.e., that something sacred shows itself to us. It could be said that the history of religions-from the most primitive to the most highly developed—is constituted by a great number of hierophanies, by manifestations of sacred realities. From the most elementary hierophany — e.g. manifestation of the sacred in some ordinary object, a stone or a tree — to the supreme hierophany (which, for a Christian, is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ) there is no solution of continuity. In each case we are confronted by the same mysterious act — the manifestation of something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, in objects that area an integral part of our natural "profane"world.
The modern Occidental experiences a certain uneasiness before many manifestations of the sacred. He finds it difficult to accept the fact that, for many human beings, the sacred can be manifested in stones or trees, for example. But as we shall soon see, what is involved is not a veneration of the stone in itself, a cult of the tree in itself. The sacred tree, the sacred stone are not adored as stone or tree; they are worshiped precisely because they are hierophanies, because they show something that is no longer stone or tree but the sacred, the ganz andere”
Dawson argues: “Consequently, if the non-religious reader should feel that an undue amount of space or of emphasis has been given in this book to theological or ecclesiastical matters, he must remember that it is impossible to understand the past unless we understand the things for which the men of the past cared most. The very fact that these things are still matters of interest to theologians is apt to lead to their neglect by the historians, with the result that the latter devote more space to secondary movements that make some appeal to the modern mind than to the central issues that were of vital interest to the men of the past and governed not only their inner life but also their social institutions and their practical activities”
If you want to understand the present, you have to understand the past. No religion, no thought, no philosophy, no culture, no civilization rise up like Phoenix from his ashes. If something new rises up (culture, religion, civilization etc.) it has to prop up on something else before.
A. PART one: The Foundations
I. THE ROMAN EMPIRE
“It is from the Greeks that we derive all that is most distinctive in Western as opposed to Oriental culture—our science and philosophy, our literature and art, our political thought and our conceptions of law and of free political institutions. Moreover, it was with the Greeks that there first arose a distinct sense of the difference between European and Asiatic ideals and of the autonomy of Western civilization. The European ideal of liberty was born in the fateful days of the Persian war, when the navies of Greece and Aisa met in the Bay of Salamis and when the victorious Greeks raised their altar to Zeus the Giver of Freedom after the battle of Platae”.
“Apart from Hellenism, European civilisation and even the European idea of man would be inconceivable. Nevertheless Greek civilisation itself was far from being European in the geographical sense. It was confined to the Eastern Mediterranean, and while Asia Minor played a great part in its development from the beginning, continental Europe and even parts of continental Greece lay outside its zone of influence.”
The extension of this tradition of higher civilisation to the West was the work of Rome, whose mission it was to act as the intermediary between the civilized Hellenistic world of the Eastern Mediterranean and the barbaric peoples of Western Europe. At the same time as Alexander and his generals were conquering the East and sowing the seeds of Hellenistic culture broadcast over the East from the Nile to the Oxus, Rome was slowly and painfully building up her compact military peasant state in Central Italy.
The age of the Romanization of the Hellenistic East was also the age of the Hellenization of the Roman West, and the two movements converged to form a cosmopolitan civilisation, unified by the Roman political and military organization, but based on the Hellenistic tradition of culture and inspired by Greek social ideals.
It is indeed difficult to say what was the ultimate aim of Caesar's life work: whether, as Mommsen held, he desired to retain the civic traditions of the Roman state. In actual fact the victory of Augustus saved European civilization from being absorbed by the ancient East or overwhelmed by the Western barbarians and inaugurated a new period of expansion for classical culture. In the East the Roman Empire co-operated with the forces of Hellenism to extend Greek civilisation and municipal life. In the West, it brought Western and Central Europe into the orbit of Mediterranean civilisation and created a solid bulwark against barbarian invasion. Augustus and his generals completed the work of Caesar by advancing the frontiers of the empire to the Danube from its source to the Black Sea, and though they failed in their great project for the conquest of Germany as far as the Elbe, they at least made southern Germany and the Rhineland a part of the Roman world.
We see in the explanation of Dawson, that the military force of Roman Empire is very important and one of the main aspects of the development. Also the urbanization is important and may be more important than the military transformation.
“At first sight it is the military aspect of Rome's work which is most impressive, but the civil process of urbanization is even more important in the history of culture. It was Rome's chief mission to introduce the city into continental Europe, and with the city came the idea of citizenship and the civic tradition which had been the greatest creation of the Mediterranean culture. The Roman soldier and military engineer were the agents of this process of expansion: indeed the army itself was organized by Augustus as a preparation for citizenship and an agent for the diffusion of Roman culture and institutions in the new provinces.”
With the following paragraph Dawson demonstrates the beginning of the civilization. “Into the higher civilisation of the Mediterranean world. The whole empire was bound together socially by common laws and a common culture, and materially by the vast system of roads, which rendered communications easier and safer than at any time before the seventeenth century.” But also there is a negative aspect. Everything we do have two sides. “All this brilliant expansion of urban civilisation had in it the seeds of its own decline. It was an external and superficial development”.
Dawson mentioned a phrase from Professor Rostovtzeff’s. He has said, “Every new city meant the creation of a new hive of drones”. In this case, the expansion of urban civilization in the imperial age was a great system of exploitation which organized the resources of the newly conquered lands and concentrated them in the hands of a minority consisting of capitalists and business men; and since the basis of the system was landed property rather than industry, it was less elastic and less capable of adapting itself to the requirements of a growing urban population. “So long as the empire was expanding the system paid its way, for every new war resulted in fresh territories to urbanize and new supplies of cheap slave labour. But as soon as the process of expansion came to an end and the empire was forced to stand on the defensive against new barbarian invasions, the economic balance was destroyed.”
“According to the design of Augustus the legionary army was to be a school of citizenship, officered by Roman citizens of Italian origin and recruited in part from Italy and in part from the urban communities of the most Romanized parts of the Empire.”
Military anarchy grew up. “Thus the military anarchy of the third century produced a profound change in the constitution of Roman society”.
“At last the military anarchy was brought to an end and the Empire was restored by the Dalmatian soldier, Diocletian. But it was no longer the same empire. The foundations on which Augustus had built—the Roman senate, the Italian citizen class, and the city states of the provinces—had all of them lost their strength.”
“At least Diocletian succeeded in his primary tasks of warding off barbarian i invasion and putting an end to the state of military anarchy that was destroying the Empire. He did this by a drastic reorganization of the Roman military system. From the beginning it had been the fundamental principle of the Roman state that authority—imperium—was indivisible and that the supreme magistrates—the consuls—and their representatives in the provinces—the proconsuls—were ex officio the commanders of the Roman armies; and under the Empire the same conditions obtained with regard to the emperor and his provincial representatives-the legates. In theory this principle secured the control of the army by the state, but it actually resulted, both at the close of the Republic and during the third century of the Empire, in the control of the state by the army. Diocletian put an end to this state of things by the radical separation of civil and military command. The army and the civil service were constituted as two independent hierarchies which were united only in their common head— the emperor. The provincial governor was no longer a sort of viceroy in his province. He had no control over the troops, and his province, which under Diocletian's successors became much reduced in size, was grouped with several others so as to form a diocese under the supervision of a new official, the vicar, who was himself responsible to the Praetorian Prefect, the chief minister of the Empire.”
Very important for the further pathway is the era of Constantin. He fulfilled what Diocletian started before. “The work of Diocletian found its completion in that of Constantine, who gave the new Empire a new capital and a new religion, and thus inaugurated a new civilisation which was not that of the classical world.”
Christopher Dawson tells that patriotism was important but still not the reason for the negative processes in the Roman Empire. “We must not suppose that Roman patriotism had disappeared because the institutions of the city state were moribund, and the Empire itself seemed falling into decay. On the contrary it is just in this period that we find the clearest realization of what the world owed to the work of Rome. It runs through all the literature of the fifth century and is common alike to Christian and pagan writers” In my opinion this is another aspect of the author’s point of view and his vision about an European unity. For him the unity can be reached with the unification of the various cultures and the real urbanization and even the patriotism. But the patriotism is not for each country, for example the “German Patriotism”, or the “British Patriotism” but the “European Patriotism”.
THE NEW CHRİSTİAN ROME!!! After Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, something changed.
“In fact, Prudentius gave a still wider significance to the conception of Rome's universal mission, since he brought it into organic relation with the ideals of the new world religion. “What," he asks, "is the secret of Rome's historical destiny? It is that God wills the unity of mankind, since the religion of Christ demands a social foundation of peace and international amity. Hitherto the whole earth from east to west had been rent asunder by continual strife. To curb this madness God has taught the nations to be obedient to the same laws and all to become Romans. Now we see mankind living as citizens of one city and members of a common household. Men come from distant lands across the seas to one common forum, and the peoples are united by commerce and culture and intermarriage. From the intermingling of peoples a single race is born. This is the meaning of all the victories and triumphs of the Roman Empire: the Roman peace has prepared the road for the coming of Christ. For what place was there for God or for the acceptance of truth, in a savage world in which men's minds were at strife and there was no common basis of law?" And he concludes: En ades, omnipotens, concordibus influe terris! jam mundus te, Christe, capit, quern congrege nexu Pax et Roma tenent.
The new Christian Rome, whose advent Prudentius had hailed, was indeed destined to inherit the Roman tradition and to preserve the old ideal of Roman unity m a changed world. For it was to Rome that the new peoples owed the very idea of the possibility of a common civilisation. Through all the chaos of the dark ages that were to follow, men cherished the memory of the universal peace and order of the Roman Empire, with its common religion, its common law and its common culture; and the repeated efforts ot the Middle Ages to return to the past and to recover this lost unity and civilisation led the new peoples forward to the future and prepared the way for the coming of a new European culture.”
May be this is also an argument for the relation between Christianity and the Roman – pagan- believes like Mithraism and the İsis-cult. In my opinion Christianity influenced the Roman Empire, its political and social attitude and also the Roman believes influenced and changed some Christian doctrines and liturgies. If you look upon the main credo, the trinity we see aspects from the Mithraism etc…
II. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
“The influence of Christianity on the formation of the European unity is a striking example of the way in which the course of historical development is modified and determined by the intervention of new spiritual influences. History is not to be explained as a closed order in which each stage is the inevitable and logical result of that which has gone before. There is in it always a mysterious and inexplicable element, due not only to the influence of chance or the initiative of the individual genius, but also to the creative power of spiritual forces.” This is ca common aspect we have mentioned before. History is a continuum (integral hole). Therefore it is absolutely essential to contemplate the different historical, political, social and religious events.
“The religion which was destined to conquer the Roman Empire and to become permanently identified with the life of the West was indeed of purely oriental origin and had no roots in the European past or in the traditions of classical civilisation. But its orientalism was not that of the cosmopolitan world of religious syncretism in which Greek philosophy mingled with the cults and traditions of the ancient East, but that of a unique and highly individual national tradition which held itself jealously aloof from the religious influences of its oriental environment, no less than from all contact with the dominant Western culture” after this explanation about the relation between religion and civilization he complements his ideas by mentioning Jewish and Christian religion:
A. “The Jews were the one people of the Empire who had remained obstinately faithful to their national traditions | in spite of the attractions of the Hellenistic culture, which | the other peoples of the Levant accepted even more eagerly | than their descendants have received the civilisation of modern Europe.”
B. “Although Christianity by its very nature broke with the exclusive nationalism of Judaism and assumed an universal mission, it also claimed the succession of Israel and I based its appeal not on the common principles of Hellenistic thought, but on the purely Hebraic tradition represented by the Law and the Prophets. The primitive Church regarded itself as the second Israel, the heir of the Kingdom which was promised to the People of God; and consequently it preserved the ideal of spiritual segregation and the spirit of irreconcilable opposition to the Gentile world that had inspired the whole Jewish tradition. It was this sense of historic continuity and social solidarity j which distinguished the Christian Church from the mystery religions and the other oriental cults of the period, and made it from the first the only real rival and alternative to the official religious unity of the Empire. It is true that it did not attempt to combat or to replace the Roman Empire as a political organism.”
Dawson’s following sentences clarify the attitude of Christians. In the past, and also today they didn’t feel dedicated to the government (the country they belong to), but (instead of this) they felt dedicated to the Church. In Christianity there are some doctrines, which dictate the believer to be dedicated to the Church only. Here are some examples:
- There is a clear and well-known doctrines which shows the only way for salvation. The Latin phrase extra Ecclesiam nulla salus means: "outside the Church there is no salvation". The most recent Catholic Catechism explained this as "all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body
- In the Gospel of Matthew 22:21 Jesus says: “"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"
“The idea of citizenship, which was the fundamental idea of the classical culture, was transferred by Christianity to the spiritual order. In the existing social order Christians were peregrini—strangers and foreigners—their true citizenship was in the Kingdom of God, and even in the present world their most vital social relationship was found in their membership of the Church, not in that of the city or the Empire. Thus the Church was, if not a state within the state, at least an ultimate and autonomous society. It had its own organization and hierarchy, its system of government and law, and its rules of membership and initiation”
In the book of the Revelation, the 27th- last book of the New Testament, the Apostle John narrated the Apocalypse. It was composed in the province of Asia at a time when the Church was threatened with persecution owing to the public enforcement of the imperial cult of Rome and the Emperor in the time of Domitian.
“Rome herself whom Virgil described as "like the Phrygian Mother of the Gods, crowned with towers, rejoicing in her divine offspring now appears as the Woman sitting upon the Beast, the mother of harlots and abominations, drunken with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And all the heavenly hosts and the souls of the martyrs are shown waiting for the coming of the day of vengeance when the power of the Beast shall be destroyed and Rome shall be cast down for ever, like a mill-stone into the sea.”
The Church used also in later times this method of impress people and win for the Church by scaring people. By doing this they made sure, that infidels shall search their salvage only in the Church. Furthermore he describes how the Church built a new social life and system. For those in need and those who are dissatisfied pass over to Christianity and Church.
The state priesthood, which was organized in the cities of the province, is described as the False Prophet that caused men to worship the Beast (the Roman Empire) and its image, and to receive its seal, without which no man might buy or sell.
At least Dawson says that Christianity won the victory after a long and proposed process.
“Christianity won the victory only after a long and bitter struggle. The Church grew under the shadow of the executioner's rods and axes, and every Christian lived in peril of physical torture and death. The thought of martyrdom colored the whole outlook of early Christianity. It was not only a fear, it was also an ideal and a hope. For the U martyr was the complete Christian. He was the champion and hero of the new society in its conflict with the old, and even the Christians who had failed in the moment of trial—the lapsi—looked on the martyrs as their saviours and m protectors. We have only to read the epistles of St. Cyprian or the Testimonia which he compiled as a manual for the milites Christi," or the treatise de Laude Martyrum which goes under his name, to realise the passionate exaltation which is the ideal of martyrdom produced in the Christian mind.”
And with this the idea of a holy mission and holy war started. We call it SACRUM BELLUM, “Holy War”, meaning “to kill in name of God”.
With Christianity new trends/streams come into the Empire, like Gnosticism, mysticism, dualism etc.
The Author says: “the most characteristic product of this movement of oriental syncretism was the Gnostic theosophy, which was an ever-present danger to the Christian Church during the second and third centuries. It was based on the fundamental dualism of spirit and matter and the association of the material world with the evil principle, a dualism which derived more, perhaps, from Greek and Anatolian influences than from Persia, since we find it already fully developed in the Orphic mythology and in the philosophy of Empedocles…”
Dawson tells us, that in principio the Church regarded itself as the ' New Israel, "an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart" which is a common belief of Judaism. Ergo, a new holy society was build. This holy society was a theocracy inspired and governed by the Holy Spirit, and its rulers, the apostles, being the representatives not of the community but of the Christ, who had chosen them and transmitted to them ; his divine authority. This conception of a divine apostolic authority remained as the foundation of ecclesiastical order in the Roman Empire, in the post-apostolic period.
III. THE CLASSICAL TRADITION AND CHRISTIANITY
“If Europe owes its political existence to the Roman Empire and its spiritual unity to the Catholic Church, it is indebted for its intellectual culture to a third factor—the Classical Tradition—which is also one of the fundamental elements that have gone to the making of the European unity (…) Throughout European history this tradition has been the constant foundation of Western letters and Western thought. It was first diffused through the West by the cosmopolitan culture of the Roman Empire. It survived the fall of Rome and remained through the Middle Ages as an integral part of the intellectual heritage of the Christian Church, and in the age of the Renaissance it arose with renewed strength to become the inspiration and model of the new European literatures and the basis of all secular education.”
What the Classical Tradition is, tells us the Author: “The classical tradition is, m fact, nothing else than Hellenism..” and he amplifies his argumentation with the following sentences, which are fundamentally to understand his point of view: “…and perhaps the greatest of all the services that Rome rendered to civilisation is to be found in her masterly adaptation of the classical tradition of Hellenism to the needs of the Western mind and the forms of Western speech, so that the Latin language became not only a perfect vehicle for the expression of thought but also an ark which carried the .seed of Hellenic culture through the deluge of barbarism”
There was a conflict between science and Christianity and because of this the early Christians were for the most part men of little education and culture. In the cities they belonged mainly to the lower and lower middle classes. Some examples:
- "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" writes Tertullian
- "What concord is there between the Academy and the Church?" St. Paul
- "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness; but with them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
- "Surely unhappy is he who knoweth all these and knoweth not Thee, but happy whoso knoweth Thee, though he know not these. And whoso knoweth both Thee and them is not happier for them, but for Thee only.”
IV. THE BARBARIANS
The word “barbarian” has a negative connotation yet the common definition says: “A member of a people considered by those of another nation or group to have a primitive civilization.” But Dawson shows, that it isn’t as like as it is known.
“As far back as the Bronze Age, and even earlier, there were centres of culture in Central and Northern Europe which had an autonomous development and which exerted an influence not only on the surrounding peoples but even on the higher culture of the Eastern Mediterranean (…) But barbarism in the sense in which we are using the word is by no means the same thing as savagery. It is applied to any stage of social development which has not acquired the higher organization of a settled urban and territorial state—in short, to the culture of the tribe as against that of the city. The essence of barbaric society is that it rests on the principle of kinship rather than on that of citizenship or that of the absolute authority of the state. It is true that kinship is not the only element in tribal society; in practically every case the territorial and the military factors also intervene.”
V. THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS AND THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE IN THE WEST
Dawson call attention to the great change in the area before and after the barbarians and their influences: “As we have already seen, the life had passed out of the ancient classical civilisation as early as the third century, and a new culture had arisen which was due not to the coming of the Germanic barbarians but to the infiltration of new influences from the East. The old culture of the city-state with its civic religion passed away owing to a gradual process of internal change, and its place was taken by a theocratic monarchy in close alliance with the new world-religion— Christianity. But while in the East this development was closely linked with a native oriental tradition of immense antiquity, in the West it was entirely new, with no basis m past history; and here, accordingly, it failed to strike root…”
Many changes happened. Dawson explains all this. In generally we can say, that the changes had occurred in 3 general sections: social (like the first example), in the economy (new feudal system) and last but not least in the military (new structure).
A new formation of the social system had emerged.
During the further procedure the Author names some facts and archaeological studies and illustrates how the unity raised up: “His intermingling of Germanic and late-Roman elements which we see in the structure of the state runs through the whole culture of the age. At the beginning of the conquest the two elements stand over against one another in sharp contrast, but in the course of time each loses its individuality and finally gives place to a new unity”. The meaning of the unity is actually the European Union which has its roots deep in the past (history).
A. PART TWO: The Ascendancy of the East
I. THE CHRISTIAN EMPIRE AND THE RISE OF THE BYZANTINE CULTURE
İt is important to internalize, that the modern study of history has taken its departure from two points:
a) from the history of classical antiquity
b) from that of the modern European nationalities—and anything which failed to fit into this scheme was disregarded or misunderstood
“In reality, the Byzantine culture is not merely a decadent survival from the classical past; it is a new creation, which forms the background of the whole development of mediaeval culture, and to some extent, even of that of Islam. It is true that the greatness of Byzantine culture lies rather in the sphere of religion and art than in its political and social achievements.”
In the opinion of Dawson it is inevitable to know, that the Byzantine culture is not to estimate with the only European context, but it is more. Dawson says: “But if we are to understand Byzantine culture and appreciate its true achievement, it is useless to judge it by the standards of modern Europe or even by those of classical Greece and Rome. We must view it rather in relation to the oriental world and place it in its proper setting side by side with the great contemporary civilizations of the East, such as those of Sassanian Persia and the Khalifate of Damascus of Bagdad.”
Also the aspect of the sun God is present. “Already in the third century Aurelian, the restorer of the Empire, had brought back from his Syrian campaign the oriental ideal of sacred monarchy and had established a kind of solar monotheism—the worship of the Unconquered Sun—as the official cult of the restored Empire. This solar theism was the religion of Constantine's house and prepared the way for his own acceptance of Christianity. “With this we have to recognize that Christianity is not clear of pagan or other cultural or religious elements. Zoroastrian aspects, for instance the aspect of Mithra is vitally to understand Christian dogma accurately. “The new Christian Empire of Byzantium is a parallel phenomenon to the new Zoroastrian Kingdom of Sassanian Persia. It also was a sacred monarchy, based on the new world religion of Christianity.”
Normally it is known, that the German Kaiser Charlemagne is the founder of Rome (in 802) but Dawson regrets this and claims, that Constantin is actually the one who formed Rome. “The Holy Roman Empire — sancta respublica romana—was the creation, not of Charlemagne, but of Constantine and Theodosius.”
“The modern European is accustomed to look on society as essentially concerned with the present life, and with material needs and on religion as an influence on the moral life of the individual. But to the Byzantine, and indeed to mediaeval man m general the primary society was the religious one, andeconomic and secular affairs were a secondary consideration. The greater part of a man's life, especially a poor man's, was lived m a world of religious hopes and fears, and the supernatural figures of this religious world were just as real to him as the authorities of the Empire.”
According to my opinion the following phrase shows the reason why Constantin decided to convert to Christianity (while he was a pagan- Mithras) and structured Christianity: “It is necessary to combine the religion with the politic aims to manifest the administration. According to this Constantin concluded Christianity with pagan elements and created (in my opinion) a suitable religion, which was a new edition of Christianity combined with pagan elements…
“In such a world it was obviously of the greatest importance that the relations between State and Church should be close; for if the Empire lost the allegiance of the latter, half its power would be gone, and it would have not only an ecclesiastical organization, but the whole force of popular feeling arrayed against it. Hence the unity of the Church was one of the leading considerations of the imperial policy, and from the time when Constantine called together the council of Nicaea the Emperors did all in their power to preserve ecclesiastical unity and to enforce conformity on the recalcitrant minorities”
Hence there arose the long schism between the West and the state church of the Eastern Empire, which was not terminated until the faith of Nicaea was re-established by an Emperor from the West.
“By degrees the church of the Empire itself became a national church, and the Patriarch of Constantinople the spiritual head of the Greek people.”
To keep in mind, that the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) is important to understand the relation between society and Church. Precisely because the exterior and also the interior of a church is a mirror of the virtue of the society. In the Ancient Rome the Hagia Sophia, which is located in Istanbul (todays name), depicts a supreme example. Regarding this Dawson says: “By the sixth century the Eastern Empire had evolved its own artistic tradition, in which Eastern and Western elements were brought into organic union with one another. The noblest creation of this art was the Church of the Holy Wisdom at Constantinople, which was the work of architects from Ionia, the motherland of Hellenic culture, but which at the same time grew up under the direct inspiration and supervision of Justinian himself. It is the greatest domed church in the world, the perfect union of oriental plan and decoration with Greek organic structure, and though it has lost something of the splendour of its polychrome decoration, it is possible to supplement this from the contemporary art of the churches of Ravenna, so that we can form a complete idea of the Byzantine art in its greatest age.”
The setup of a Church is also described by Dawson: “And when we look at the Byzantine church as a whole, with its polychrome adornment of mosaic and colored marbles, m its antique columns, its carved capitals, oriental in richness 9|k and variety, yet Hellenic in proportion and grace, above all the p! crowning miracle of the dome of St. Sophia, in which architecture transcends its limitations and becomes impalpable and immaterial as the vault of the sky itself, we must admit that never has man succeeded more perfectly in moulding matter to become the vehicle and expression of spirit. And this concentration on interior splendour in the Byzantine church was intimately related to its function in the life of the people. The Greek temple, like the Indian temple to-day, was the dwelling-place of the god, and its dimly lighted cella was entered only by his priests and servants. The Byzantine HI church was the home of the Christian people, and it was the J theatre of the great year-long drama of the liturgical cycle. For * the liturgy summed up the art and music and literature of the Byzantine people. Here, as in architecture, the Eastern and the Western spirits met on a common ground.”
II. THE AWAKENING OF THE EAST AND THE REVOLT OF THE SUBJECT NATIONALITIES
The Islam plays an important role by the development of the medieval civilization: “The coming of Islam is the great fact which dominates the history of the seventh and eighth centuries and affects the whole subsequent development of mediaeval civilisation, in the West Oft as well as in the East.”
The difference between the spreading of Christianity in the West and East is clear. In the West it was in toto successful, but in the East it was a little bit different. “In the West Christianity had spread through the cities, and it was assumed that a peasant (paganus) would necessarily be a heathen. But in the East this was not the case, and Christianity seems to have spread as rapidly among the peasants as among the townsmen.”
The Syrian Christ’s and Edessa . Edessa, "the daughter of the Parthians espoused to the Cross," had always been found faithful. "Edessa sent to Christ by an epistle to come and enlighten her. On behalf of all the peoples did she make intercession to Him that He would leave Zion which hated Him and come to the peoples who loved him. "Not from common scribes did she learn the faith : her King taught her, her martyrs taught her and she firmly believed them." "This truth has Edessa held fast from her youth and in her old age she will not barter it away, as a daughter of the poor. Her religious King became to her a scribe and from him she learnt concerning our Lord—that He is the Son of God, yea God. Addaeus, who brought the bridegroom's ring and put it on her finger, betrothed her thus to the Son of God, Who is the Only Begotten/' 2 Syrian Christianity was the religion of a subject people who found in it their justification against the pride of the dominant culture.”
In the early Christianity the Councils played a very important role to solve local and divine problems of the Christendom around the Globus. Of all the councils which have been made, is the council in Chalcedon the most significant for its dramatic interest and its historical results. “The rival forces of Egypt and the East shouted defiance and abuse at one another from either side of the nave, while the great officers of the Empire, seated in front of the chancel rails, with the Roman legates by their side, impassively dominated the turbulent assembly and guided it with inflexible persistence towards a final decision in accordance with the wishes of the Emperor and the Pope. This decision was not reached without a struggle. In fact, it was not until the Roman legates had demanded that they should be given their passports and that a new council should be summoned in the West, and the Emperor had supported their ultimatum that the majority were brought to accept the Western definition of the two natures of Christ in one person. The decision thus reached was, however, of incalculable importance for the history of Christendom, both Eastern and Western. If the issue of the Council of Chalcedon had been different, the schisms between the East and the West would have taken place in the fifth century instead of the eleventh, and the alliance between the Empire and the Western Church, which was an essential element in the formation of Western Christendom, would have been impossible.”
We can notice that in a way the council of Chalcedon was the beginning of the great separation of East and West, of the Catholic and the Orthodox Church. This is the big Shisma of the Church.
With the last phrase in this chapter, Dawson prepares the basic of the rising of Islam.
“A spiritual crisis was imminent which was to transform the scattered warring barbarous tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a united power that in the seventh century swept over the East in an irresistible wave of religious enthusiasm.”
III. THE RISE OF ISLAM
The coming and rising of Islam in the seventh century (in Arabia) was the last act of the thousand years of interaction between East and West (included all the conflicts, relations, fights etc.), the complete victory of the oriental spirit which had been gradually encroaching on the Hellenistic world since the downfall of the Seleucid monarchy. And even Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was the answer himself, of the East to the challenge of Alexander. It is remarkable that the Arabic conquest differs profoundly from that of the Germans in the West, we have explained before. İt differs in that it owed its origin to the work of a great historic personality, Mohammed.
In the following statements of Dawson, he shows a different point of view of Islam like some sources narrated and therefore it is a little problematic to follow his ideas. According to this we have only choose a few ideas from this chapter which are clearly and not in conflict to other narrations.
Mohammed was definitely born at a critical moment in Arabian history. The ancient civilization of the South was in full decline, and alike from the North and the South the land was being invaded by foreign civilization and foreign religions. Therefore in the Holy Scripture of the Muslims, the Coran, there are some phrases about pagans, Zoroastrians, Christ’s, Jews and other religions. Mecca, where Mohammed was born, was one of the last strongholds of Arabian heathenism. It lay upon the great prehistoric trade route from the Yemen to the north, and it probably owed its foundation, to the Sabaean colonizing movement. Mecca was a Temple City of a rudimentary type and owed its importance to the great sanctuary of the Kaaba, the shrine of the god Hobal and his oracle, and to the famous annual pilgrimage which took place at Mount Arafa some miles away. “As the case of the Sabaean temples, the god of the Kaaba was the lord of the city territory, and the Meccans were his clients and subjects, paying to him the tithe of their crops and the first-born of their herd, and the power of the Quraysh rested on their position as priests and guardians of the shrine. On the other hand, the pilgrimage was a ceremony of independent origin, perhaps characteristic of the nomad peoples, and it was accompanied by an inter-tribal truce, a kind of sacred fair, such as is common among peoples of tribal culture”. Therefore we can say that the Meccan culture had a double character.
a) It occupied an intermediate position between two different types of society—the ancient sacred city of Southern Arabia and the warlike nomad tribes of the desert
b) And in the same way the age was a transitional one between the old world of Arabian paganism and the advance of the new world religions. These influences played a great part in the development of Mohammed's character and teaching. It is important to remember that he was a townsman, dominated by the tradition of the temple-city-state and the trading community, and with a considerable contempt for the Arabs of the desert though no doubt he derived from his desert ancestry the warlike and daring spirit which comes out increasingly in the second part of his career.
In the following phrases Dawson tells that Mohammed was doubtless inspired by other religious elements (see at the gloss). “Nevertheless it would be a great mistake to look on Mohammed as one who was an apostle of the ideas of others rather than an original force. He was profoundly convinced of his own direct inspiration. Like so many religious mystics, he used to fall into a kind of trance in which he heard a voice—always the same voiCe_whose utterances he was powerless to control or resist. These utterances took the form of a kind of rhythmic and rhyming prose, similar no doubt to the oracular verses of the heathen poetry, for Mohammed constantly has to defend himself against the accusation of being "a poet" or one possessed by a spirit.”
IV. THE EXPANSION OF MOSLEM CULTURE
With all these aspects we showed in the last chapter, the Muslim world expanded. During the 9th and 10th centuries, Moslem civilisation attained its full development and the whole world of Islam from Spain to Turkestan witnessed the most brilliant efflorescence of culture that it has ever known.
It is remarkable that the area where all these religions and movements grew up was Mesopotamia being a cradle of civilization.
Christopher Dawson remarks this with his explanations. Mesopotamia was essentially the meeting ground of different cultures, Syrian, Persian, Arab and Byzantine, and still more of different religions. Not only was it the center of Judaism and of Nestorian Christianity; every kind of sect and heresy was represented there, from Monophysitism and Manichaeanism to such strange relics of the Gnostic and pagan tradition as the Mandaeans of Babylonia and the star-worshippers of Harran. The country was a palimpsest on which every civilisation from the time of the Sumerians had left its trace.
V. THE BYZANTINE RENAISSANCE AND THE REVIVAL OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE
“While the Islamic world was producing the brilliant civilisation of the ninth and tenth centuries, the Byzantine culture was neither decadent nor stationary. Although for a time there had been a real danger that the Empire might succumb to the victorious forces of the oriental revival, its traditions of discipline and civilized order and the strength of its religious foundation enabled it to survive the crisis.”
Between West and East Church and the religious life, there still remained a latent opposition. This opposition is also the one, between the oriental and Hellenic elements in the religious life of the Empire, and the attempt of the new oriental dynasty to enforce its religious policy on the Byzantine Church led to a bitter and far-reaching strife. The matter with the Icons was a controversial subject.
According to Western historians the Iconoclastic controversy, even more than the Christological heresies which preceded it, has always appeared a meaningless strife about ecclesiastical trifles, and it seems absurd that such a question should have the power to shake Byzantine society to its depths. But underlying the superficial issue there was the same deep-seated opposition between two cultures and two spiritual traditions that we have already described in dealing with the Monophysite movement. Indeed the Dispute of the Images involved even more fundamental principles than the earlier controversies.
There was also a big rivalry between East and West. “This rivalry was no new thing. It goes back to the very origins of the Byzantine Patriarchate. St. Gregory Nazianzen satirized the patriotic ardour with which the Eastern bishops vindicated the religious superiority of the Orient over the West at Constantinople in 381, and both at that council and at Chalcedon the attempt was made to assimilate the ecclesiastical position of the new Rome to that of the old. Throughout the preceding centuries Rome and Constantinople were constantly divided on dogmatic questions; indeed, from the fourth to the ninth centuries the years in which they were in schism were hardly less than those in which they were in communion with one another.”
“The Byzantine culture faithfully preserved its original tradition, but it was powerless to create new social forms and new cultural ideals. Its spiritual and social life was cast in the fixed mould of the Byzantine church-state and when that fell there was no basis for a new social effort. In the West, on the other hand, no such fixed political framework of culture existed during the early Middle Ages. Society was reduced to its bare elements, and the state was so poor and barbarous that it was incapable of maintaining the higher forms of civilized life. It was to the Church rather than the State that men looked for cultural leadership, and thanks to its spiritual independence the Church possessed a power of social and moral initiative that was lacking in the East. And thus, although civilisation of Western Europe was far lower than that of the Byzantine Empire, it was a dynamic and not a static force, which exerted a transforming influence on the social life of the new peoples. In the East there was one allembracing organ of culture, the Empire; but in the West every country or almost every region had its own centres of cultural life in the local churches and monasteries, which were not, as in the East, entirely dedicated to asceticism and contemplation, but were also organs of social activity. The Byzantine ideal is typified by the sublime isolation of Mount Athos, a world by itself apart from the common life of men; that of Western Europe by the great Benedictine abbeys which were, like St. Gall, the chief centres of Western culture, or, like Cluny, the source of the new movements that had so profound an influence on mediaeval society.”
C. Part three: The Formation of Western Christendom
I. THE WESTERN CHURCH AND THE CONVERSION OF THE BARBARIANS
İn the sixth century western Christendom was still dependent on the Eastern Empire and Western culture was a chaotic mixture of Barbarian and Roman elements which as yet possessed no spiritual unity and no internal principal of social order. Barbarian invasion reduced European culture to far lower level than it had reached in the fifth century. The imperial government was faced by many Asial invasion of the Slaves, the Ostgoths and the Katrigur Huns along the Danuber. But not only the Empire all central Europe was suffering under the invasions and consequently the diseases and epidermises caused by the wars. As a result of the political occurrences the Byzantines only preserved their hold upon the costal districts, the Venetian islands, Ravenna and the Pentapolis, The Duchy of Rome, and Genua, Amalfi and Naples.
İn the 7th century the Arabs conquered Byzantine Africa the most civilized province of the West. And the Great African Church, the glory of Latin Christianity disappears from history. The generally depressive state of mind induced some scholars like St. Augustin to inspire the ideals of the new age: the terrestrial world is unsubstantial and transitory, the only reality worth striving for is that which is eternal – the heavenly Jerusalem- “the vision of peace”. This ideal of the supremacy and independence of the spiritual power count its organ of expression above all in the Papacy. SO Rome became like Venice or Cherson a kind of semi - independent member of Byzantine state and remained an opened door between the civilized East and the barbanced West. İt was a common meeting – ground to both without exactly belonging to either thus the Papacy enjoyed the prestige of its connection with the Eastern empire without any danger of being considered, an instrument of imperial policy. On the other side the transformation of the state into an agrarian society and the progressive decline of the city had a deleterious effect on the church. Since the influence of the Barbarous and half pagan country-side came to predominate over that of the cities. The Eastern folk was Christianized through the towns but the Western people were mostly agraric people and at the same time pagan. But yet some of the new religion’s aspects were not strange to the peasant life because of this Christianity was only in need of a new organ beside the city episcopatein order to permeate the country-side.
Since the social structure of Great Britan was tribal the great extension of monastic influence and culture in the sixth century led to the monastery's taking the place of the bishopric as the center of ecclesiastical life and organization. This development made especially Ireland the leader of Western culture from the close of the sixth century, where the monastic schools replaced the narrative tradition of Bards and Druides. The monasteries were not only the great centers of religious and intellectual life; they were also centers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as a result Bishops of course continued to exist and to confer orders, but they were no longer the rulers of the Church. The monasteries played an important role by missionizing the Western Europe as their monks were nature loving men and conclusively made the new religion sympathic to the peasant pagans. ”The same period that saw the rise of Celtic monasticism in Ireland was also marked by a new development of monasticism in Italy which was to have an even greater historical importance. This was due to the work of St. Benedict "the Patriarch of the Monks of the West," who founded the monastery of Monte Cassino about the year 520.”
The appearance of the new Anglo-Saxon culture of the seventh century is perhaps the most important event between the age of Justinian and that of Charlemagne, for it reacted with profound effect on the whole continental development. In its origins it was equally indebted to the two forces that we have described—the Celtic monastic movement and the Roman Benedictine mission. Northern England was common ground to them both, and it was here that the new Christian culture arose in the years between 650 and 680 owing to the interaction and fusion of the two different elements. The monastery’s filled the country with historical European art and this described mainly a return of Britain to Europe, after a barbaric age. This was the reason why the Christian and monastic culture attained in England an independence and autonomy such as it did not possess on the continent except for a time in Spain whereas in the Frankish dominions the kingdom still kept some of the prestige of the ancient state, and exercised considerable control over the Church. It has also to be mentioned that in art and religion, in scholarship and literature, the Anglo-Saxons of the eighth century were the leaders of their age. At the same time they were alliances of the Roman church and the new age were laid by the greatest of them all, St. Boniface of Crediton, "the Apostle of Germany/' a man who had a deeper influence on the history of Europe than any Englishman who has ever lived. He was a statesman and organizer and to him is due the foundation of the mediaeval German Church and the final conversion of Hesse and Thuringia, the heart of the German land. He also restored in a series of great councils held between 742 and 747, the discipline of the Frankish Church and brought it into close relations with the Roman see.
II. THE RESTORATION OF THE WESTERN EMPIRE AND CAROLINGIAN RENAISSANCE
The center of mediaeval civilisation was not to be on the shores of the Mediterranean, but in the northern lands between the Loire and the Weser which were the heart of the Frankish dominions. This was the formative center of the new culture, and it was there that the new conditions which were to govern the history of mediaeval culture find their origin. The essential feature of the new culture was its religious character, because the Carolingian king Pepin had an alliance with the Pope and released him from the danger of losing to much land. As return the Pope reconsecrated Pepin as King of the Franks, and also conferred on him the dignity of Patrician of the Romans which depicted an epoch-making event, for it marked not only the foundation of the Papal State which was to endure until 1870, but also the protectorate of the Carolingians in Italy, and the beginning of their imperial mission as the leaders and organizers of Western Christendom. Charles the Great had in petus what was characteristic for the Carolingian reign: on the one hand he was a strong warrior on the other hand he was alliance with the church and their legitimation. “The coronation of Charles as Roman Emperor and the restoration of the Western Empire in the year 800 marked the final stage in the reorganization of Western Christendom and completed the union between the Frankish monarchy and the Roman Church which had been begun by the work of Boniface and Pepin. The new Frankish state was to an even greater extent than the Byzantine Empire a church-state, the secular and religious aspects of which were inextricably intermingled. The identification of religion and polity, the same attempt to enforce morality by legal means and to spread the faith by war resembled strongly to the İslamic development.” Furthermore the author also sees some parallels between Charles attitude and a Muslim ruler, such as the sword and the private life. The churchmen and the men of letters, rather than the princes and statesmen, cherished the ideal of the Holy Roman Empire because to them it meant the end of the centuries of barbarism and a return to civilized order. The gathering together of the scattered elements of the classical and patristic traditions and their reorganization as the basis of a new culture was the greatest of all the achievements of the Carolingian age. Charles not only was a conqueror he also was able to realize educational ideas on an imperial scale and to make the school of the Palace the standard of culture for the greater part of Western Europe and also was the founder of a "Holy Roman" architecture as well as a Holy Roman Empire. “The great abbeys, such as St. Gall and Reichenau, Fulda and Corbie, were not only the intellectual and religious leaders of Europe, but also the chief centers of material culture and of artistic and industrial activity. In them there was developed the traditions of learning and literature, art and architecture, music and liturgy, painting and calligraphy, which were the foundations of mediaeval culture. For that culture was in its origins essentially liturgical and centered in the Divine Office — Opus Dei—which was the source and end of the monastic life.” The monasteries in this time were not only great agricultural centers, they were also centers of trade; and, thanks to the immunities that they enjoyed, they were able to establish markets, to coin money and even to develop a system of credit and it was owing to the work of the monasteries that the Carolingian culture was able to survive the fall of the Carolingian Empire at the same time. “All through the darkness and distress of the hundred years of anarchy from 850 to 950 the great monasteries of Central Europe, such as St. Gall and Reichenau and Corvey, kept the flame of civilisation alight, so that there was no interruption in the transmission of the culture from the Carolingian period to that of the new Saxon Empire.”
III. THE AGE OF THE VIKINGS AND THE CONVERSION OF THE NORTH
“The Viking ideal was by itself too destructive and sterile to be capable of producing the higher fruits of culture. It acquired its higher cultural value only after it had accepted the Christian law and had been disciplined and refined by a century and more of Christian civilization. Between the age of the Vikings and the civil wars and feuds of the Sturlung period, there intervenes an age of peace and piety during which the leaders of the people were churchmen like the great bishop Gizor the White, and St. John of Holar and St. Thorlac of Scalholt. But this Christian Icelandic culture is essentially transitory. It is the point at which the dying world of the barbaric North comes into momentary contact with the new consciousness of Christian Europe. It is followed by a sudden decline in which the anarchic element in northern society, which could no longer find an outlet in external aggression, turns inwards and destroys itself. and with the thirteenth century the Viking world sinks into the peaceful stagnation of an impoverished peasant society.”
IV. THE RISE OF THE MEDIAEVAL UNITY
That the Carolingian empire was called “Roman” can mislead us to the idea that it was really a state based on the example of Rome and its constitutions, but there was merely no constitution like the senate or a systematic law, like it could have be seen in the Roman Empire. The identification with “roman” was rather an idealistic one, as the Carolingian king was the legitimate King by God and the preservant of Christianity in Europe. Furthermore it was dependent of the Church, being a theocracy inspired and controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. So at this age the intervenance of the Church can be seen in governmental issues in a direct form. With the division of the Carolingian inheritance among the sons of Lewis this ceased to be the case, and henceforward it was the episcopate that became the guardian of the imperial unity and the arbitrator and judge between the rival princes. “The bond of association with the Carolingian Empire of itself increased the political importance of the Papacy, and as the Empire grew weaker and more divided, the Papacy came to be regarded as the supreme representative of Western unity.” The fall of the Empire in the later centuries involved not only the disappearance of the scarcely achieved unity of Western Europe, but also the dissolution of political society and the breaking up of the Carolingian states into a disorganized mass of regional units. As a result royalty became the attribute of anyone who could raise power, so the one principle of the new society was the law to force and its correlative—the need for protection. Personal freedom was no longer a privilege, because a man without a lord became a man without a protector. At the same time churches and monasteries had to find protectors too. The administrative system of the Carolingians disappeared and instead of this there emerged a development to feudalism. But the Church remained and continued to keep alive the traditions of higher civilization. “Learning, literature, music and art all existed primarily in and for the Church, which was the representative of the Latin tradition of culture and order as well as of the moral and spiritual ideals of Christianity”. The author speaks here about a dualistic society: “on the one hand there is peaceful -society of the Church, which was centered in the monasteries and episcopal cities and inherited the tradition of later Roman culture. And, on the other hand, there was the war-society of the feudal nobility and their following, whose life was spent in incessant wars and private feuds.”
But at the same time most of the episcopates and monks were fallen in moral diseases and corruptness began to spread out under the holy church, even the Pope was affected ( Marioza Affair). Still the author speaks in a positive way about it and calls it as birth-pangs of a new society, which is very suspicious and a result of his subjectivism. The medieval royalty embodies two characters of Kings mentioned as war kings and peaceful crowned- monks. The restoration of the Carolingian monarchy in Germany by Otto I. (crowned in the year 961) found its natural fulfillment in the restoration of the Christian Empire and brought the Western Europe more in contact with the Mediterranean world. After the struggles of Otto III. To preserve the roman and byzantine heritage in Western Europe the unity of Christendom was no longer conceived as the unity of an imperialist autocracy, a kind of Germanic Tsardom, but as a society of free peoples under the presidency of the Roman Pope and Emperor. After this time the dark ages were left behind and European culture spread until today.