st. vedastus - Back in the mid-19th century, Jakob...

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Back in the mid-19th century, Jakob Burckhardt wrote The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy , a book that so well suited an era that came to be dominated by the Spirits of Romanticism and Capitalism that the Middle Ages were long considered only as a superstitious, brutal, stagnant and authoritarian contrast to the enlightened, humane, adventurous, and free society of Renaissance Italy. Much of this view still lingers in popular speech and thought. Historians devoted to the study of Medieval society naturally rejected what they considered an invidious and ill-informed comparison, and pointed out -- among other things -- that the Italian Renaissance was hardly unique. The American medievalist, Charles Homer Haskins, published The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century , in which he portrayed Europe in the 1100's as a vibrant, expanding, and tolerant society that compared favorably in most important aspects with fourteenth-century Italy. Other historians pointed to the era when the Carolingians ruled much of western Europe as still another "Renaissance." There is a good deal to support such a characterization. The Carolingian rulers, from the Mayor of the Palace, Charles Martel (died 741) through the Emperor Louis the Pious (died 841), expanded Frankish authority throughout most of western Europe (Muslim Spain was a notable exception), and brought a peace and security that marked an end to the turmoil that had begun with the Germanic invasions of the Western Roman Empire at the beginning of the fifth century (Alaric sacked Rome in 410). Moreover, the Carolingians appear to have been consciously trying to restore some of the cultural and economic greatness that they associated with the long- vanished Roman Empire. Each of the monarchs was careful to associate with himself one of the outstanding intellects of the period: Charles Martel's chief minister was St. Boniface; Charlemagne (died 814) brought in Alcuin to set up a school system, and to
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HISTORY 170 taught by Professor Romero during the Fall '11 term at Rutgers.

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st. vedastus - Back in the mid-19th century, Jakob...

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