The Saxon Empire, 911-996 | The Early Middle Ages in Western Europe

By the end of the ninth century, Carolingian power in the German territories had almost disappeared in the face of challenges by ambitious local magnates and threats from Norsemen, Slays, and the Magyars. Their predecessors, the Huns and Avars, had vanished, but the Magyars stayed, forming the nucleus of a Hungarian state. The Hungarian language thus remains the only non-Indo-European tongue in Europe except for Finnish and Basque.

Enlightened Despots | The Enlightenment

The concept of an enlightened despot has proved attractive in many cultures.

Those rulers who were versed in the thought of the Enlightenment, may have realized that great social and economic changes were at hand, but some were more adept than others in their understanding of these changes and of how best to prepare their states for the future.

Of course, a bookish knowledge of Enlightenment thinkers was not always translated into enlightened actions.

Political Generals: Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, 107-59 B.C. | The Romans

The first of the generals to achieve power was Marius, leader of the populares, who had won victories against the Numidians (led by their king, Jugurtha) in what is now eastern Algeria, and against a group of largely Celtic peoples called the Cimbri and Teutones. Violating the custom that a consul had to wait ten years before serving a second term. Marius had himself elected five times in succession as the savior of Rome.

Science and Religion | The Renaissance

Humanism both aided and impeded the advance of science. The Renaissance was less a dramatic rebirth of science than an age of preparation for the scientific revolution that was to come in the seventeenth century. The major contribution of the humanists was increased availability of ancient scientific authorities, as works by Galen, Ptolemy, Archimedes, and others were for the first time translated from Greek to Latin.

The Rise of Mussolini | Between The World Wars

Some Italians, supporting Gabriele d’Annunzio (18631938), seized the city of Fiume, which had not been awarded to Italy by the Treaty of London. D’Annunzio ran his own government in Fiume until the end of 1920.

In November 1920, when the Italian government signed the Treaty of Rapallo with Yugoslavia by which Fiume was to become a free city, Italian forces drove d’Annunzio out. But d’Annunzio’s techniques of force, haranguing of mobs from a balcony, straight-arm salute, black shirts, rhythmic cries, and plans for conquest inspired Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), founder of Italian fascism.

The Allied Coalition | The Second World War

The Grand Alliance, as Churchill liked to call it, known in its last years as the United Nations, had mustered overpowering strength against Germany, Japan, Italy, and such collaborators as the Axis powers could secure in the Balkans, Southeast Asia, and western Europe. Britain and the Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, and the United States were the heart of the Allied coalition.

The Song of Roland

Roland has died on the field of battle, and Charlemagne believes that he was betrayed by Ganelon, who with his men deserted the field at a crucial moment. Ganelon is found guilty by trial, but before he can be executed one of his followers, Pinabel, challenges one of the emperor’s most devoted liege men to battle. The following passage describes that battle.

In a broad meadow below Aix la Chapelle, The barons meet; their battle has begun.
Both are courageous, both of them valiant lords, And their war-horses are spirited and swift They spur them hard, and loosening the reins,

War and the Strengthening of German Nationhood, 1863-1871 | The Modernization of Nations

When the king of Denmark died in late 1863, a controversy over Schleswig-Holstein gave Bismarck further opportunities. In brief, the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein at the southern base of the Danish peninsula had been ruled by the king of Denmark, but not as part of Denmark.

A fifteenth-century guarantee assured the duchies that they could never be separated from one another. Yet Holstein to the south was a member of the German Confederation; Schleswig to the north was not. Holstein was mostly German in population; Schleswig was mixed German and Danish.