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.
These complex arrangements directly involved only the governing class who fought on horseback as mounted knights and whose fiefs consisted of landed property known as manors or estates. Even if we include their dependents, the total would hardly reach 10 percent of the population of Europe. Most of the other 90 percent of the people worked the land.
The union of Belgium and the Netherlands, decreed by the peacemakers of 1815, worked well only in economics. The commerce and colonies of Holland supplied raw materials and markets for the textile, glass, and other manufactures of Belgium.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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,
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.