Dazzling the Barbarian

A solemn formal reception at the imperial court usually dazzled a foreign ruler or envoy, even a sophisticated Western bishop like Liudprand of Cremona (d. 972), ambassador of the king in Italy, who has left us his account from the year 948:

The Problem of Divine-Right Monarchy

The peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Thirty Years’ War but also marked the end of an epoch in European history. It ended the Age of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, when wars were both religious and dynastic in motivation, and the chief threats to a stable international balance came from the Catholic Habsburgs and from the militant Protestants of Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.

Sumerians | The First Civilizations

Recent discoveries have led some scholars to believe that the inventors of writing may have been a people called Subarians who were apparently subjugated about 3100 B.C. by the Sumerians, in the fertile lower valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. Here the Sumerians were already well established by the year 3000. They had

Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms in Egypt | The First Civilizations

As each Egyptian king died, a great sepulchral monument, often in the form of a pyramid, told his subjects that he had gone to join his predecessors in the community of gods. The largest of the pyramids took several generations to build and involved the continual labor of thousands of men. A highly centralized bureaucracy carried out the commands of the king. A stratified society worked for him. His forces advanced at times westward into the Libyan desert, and at other times eastward and northward into Palestine.

France After World War One | The Democracies

In France both World War I and the postwar difficulties caused even more serious dislocation than they did in Britain. France had lost proportionately more in human lives and in material damage than had any other major belligerent.

Two million Frenchmen in the prime of life were either killed or so seriously mutilated as to be incapable of normal living. In a land of only 39 million with an already low birth rate, this human loss affected all phases of activity. Three hundred thousand houses and twenty thousand factories or shops were destroyed.

Augustine: Conversion and The Confessions | Judaism and Christianity

At Milan, Augustine abandoned the Manichaean faith and fell under the spell of Ambrose, the bishop of Milan. Better educated than Augustine, a superb preacher, indifferent to the demands of the flesh, Ambrose stimulated Augustine to reexamine all his ideas. And Augustine’s mother, who had followed him to Milan, eagerly drank in Ambrose’s words “as a fountain of water.”

The Radicals | The Protestant Reformation

Among the radicals, preaching was even more important than in other forms of Protestantism, and more emotionally charged with hopes of heaven and fears of hell. Many sects expected an immediate Second Coming of Christ and an end of the material world. Many were economic equalitarians, communists of a sort; they did not share wealth, however, so much as they shared the poverty that seemed to them an essential part of the Christian way.

Authoritarianism in Portugal | Between The World Wars

In the meantime, any Falangist designs on Portugal were blocked by the rise to power there of another dictator, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970). Portugal had participated in World War I, and the republican regime, which had driven King Manoel II (r. 1908-1910) from the country in 1910, governed until forced from office by a military coup in 1926.