Augustus’s first four successors are called the Julio-Claudian emperors. Each had been a member of the family of Julius Caesar and Augustus. But now the line had run out. In 68-69, four emperors, each a general supported by his own troops, ruled in rapid succession. The first three died by violence. The fourth was Vespasian, Nero’s commander in Palestine.
The vernaculars of the western European countries emerged gradually, first as the spoken languages of the people, then as vehicles for popular writing, finally achieving official recognition. Many vernaculars—Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French—developed from Latin; these were the Romance (Roman) languages. Castilian, the core of modern literary Spanish, attained official status in the thirteenth century when the king of Castile ordered that it be used for government records.
Prince Henry of Portugal (1394-1460), known as “the Navigator,” was a deeply religious man who may well have been moved by a desire to convert the populations of India and the Far East. Indeed, many in the West were convinced that these distant peoples were already Christian, and for true salvation needed only to be brought in direct contact with the Roman Catholic church.
Besides tragic human losses from the war, Great Britain’s economic losses were grave. The national debt after the war was ten times that of 1914. Many British investments abroad had been liquidated to purchase food and war materials. Forty percent of the great British merchant fleet had been destroyed by enemy action.
The breach between the colonies and Britain first became serious after the Seven Years’ War, when Britain began to interfere more directly and frequently in colonial matters.
By 1763 the colonies had become accustomed to regulating their own affairs, though the acts of their assemblies remained subject to the veto of royally appointed governors or of the king himself. The vast territories acquired in 1763 in Canada and west of the Allegheny Mountains brought Britain added opportunities for profitable exploitation and added responsibilities for government and defense.
Though not his most famous book, Civilization and Its Discontents, written in 1929-1930, is probably the most frequently read work by Sigmund Freud, for it appears to speak directly to the human condition.
Educated for the ministry, Malthus became perhaps the first professional economist in history; he was hired by the East India Company to teach its employees at a training school in England. In 1798 he published his Essay on Population, a dramatic warning that the human species would breed itself into starvation. In the Essay, Malthus formulated a series of natural laws:
The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in earth to produce subsistence for man.
Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence only increases in an arithmetical ratio.”
The great Roman historian Tacitus said that the emperor Nero was using the Christians as a scapegoat for the great fire of A.D.. 64:
There are no historical sources contemporary with Jesus himself from which to draw an account of his life and teaching. Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians were written about A.D. 55, the Acts of the Apostles about 60-62, and the four Gospels between 70 and 100. Late in the second century or early in the third these texts were revised in Alexandria.
Henry of Navarre was now by law Henry IV (r. 15891610), the first king of the house of Bourbon. In the decisive battle of Ivry in March 1590, he defeated the Catholics, who had set up the aged cardinal of Bourbon as “King Charles X.” But Henry’s efforts to besiege Paris were repeatedly frustrated by Spanish troops sent down from Flanders by Philip II.