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The Birth of Europe as a Eurasian Phenomenon1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

R. I. Moore
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Extract

Although they still differ considerably in their willingness to acknowledge it, specialists in the history of north-western Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries CE are increasingly treating it as that of the emergence of a new civilization in what had previously been a peripheral region of the Mediterranean-based civilization of the classical west, rather than as a continuation or revival of that civilization itself. In this light Europe, or Latin Christendom as it saw itself, offers a number of striking resemblances to the developments which Lieberman discusses. The most dynamic regions of the new Europe—north-western France, Flanders and lowland England, north-eastern Spain, northern Italy, southern Italy and Sicily—were all peripheral, though in various senses, both to the long-defunct classical civilization and its direct successors, the Byzantine and Abbasid Empires, and to the transitional and much more loosely based ninth-and tenth-century empires of the Franks and Saxons (Ottonians). To this one might add that by the end of the twelfth century the remaining rimlands of the Eurasian continent in a purely geographical sense—Scandinavia, including Iceland, and still more the southern coast of the Baltic and the areas dominated by the rivers which drained into it—were developing very rapidly indeed.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

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References

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