Wickham Christopher - The inheritance of Rome


Author : Wickham Christopher
Title : The inheritance of Rome A History of Europe from 400 to 1000
Year : 2009

Link download : Wickham_Christopher_-_The_inheritance_of_Rome.zip

Introduction. Early medieval Europe has, over and over, been misunderstood. It has fallen victim above all to two grand narratives, both highly influential in the history and history-writing of the last two centuries, and both of which have led to a false image of this period: the narrative of nationalism and the narrative of modernity. Before we consider a different sort of approach, we need to look at both of these, briefly but critically, to see what is wrong with each; for most readers of this book who have not already studied the period will have one or both in the front of their minds as a guiding image. The early Middle Ages stands at the origin, whether authentic or fictional, of so many European nation states that it has taken on mythic significance for historians of all the generations since nationalism became a powerful political image, in the early nineteenth century, and often earlier still. People write books called The Birth of France, or, more generally, The Growth of Europe, looking as they do so for the germs of a future national or European identity, which can be claimed to exist by 1000 in France, Germany, England, Denmark, Poland, Russia and a host of other nations if one looks hard enough. Early medieval history thus becomes part of a teleology: the reading of history in terms of its (possibly inevitable) consequences, towards whatever is supposed to mark ‘why we are best’ - we English, or French, or (western) Europeans - or at least, for less self-satisfied communities, ‘why we are different’. ...

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