Commodus (r. 180-192), the true son of Marcus Aurelius, proved to be a tyrant without talent. In the end, his closest advisers murdered him. After two other emperors had been installed and murdered by the Praetorian Guard within a year, Septimus Severus (r. 193-211), a North African who commanded the Roman troops in what is now Hungary, marched his army into Rome and disbanded the guard, replacing it by a new elite body chosen from his own officers.
England was split along lines that were partly territorial, partly social and economic, and partly religious. Royalist strength lay largely in the north and west, relatively less urban and less prosperous than other parts, and largely controlled by gentry who were loyal to throne and altar.
Parliamentary strength lay largely in the south and east, especially in London and in East Anglia, where Puritanism commanded wide support. The Scots were a danger to either side, distrustful of an English Parliament but equally distrustful of a king who had sought to put bishops over their kirk.
A major physical obstacle blocking Spanish communications was the Palatinate, a rich area in the Rhineland ruled by a Calvinist prince, the Elector Palatine. In 1618 the Elector Palatine, Frederick V, also headed the Protestant Union. Frederick hoped to break the Catholic hold on the office of emperor upon the death of the emperor Matthias (r. 1612-1619), who was old and childless.
The land that became so powerful in little more than a century was, in the late 1700s, almost empty of cultivation beyond the Appalachians. Most observers expected the central parts of the North American continent to fill up eventually with settlers, but few realized how quickly this would occur.
Henry Hudson had found not only the Hudson River but also Hudson Bay in the far north of Canada. In 1670 English adventurers and investors formed the Hudson’s Bay Company, originally set up for fur trading along the great bay to the northwest of French Quebec.
In the late sixteenth century the Dutch had penetrated far into the European Arctic, had discovered the island of Spitsbergen to the north of Norway, and had ranged eastward across the sea named after their leader, William Barents (d. 1597).
Each bishop presided over several churches. Each church was under the care of a priest (Greek, presbyteros, or “elder”) who had been qualified by special training and by a ceremony of ordination. The area served by each church and its priest came to be known as the parish. In the early church the office of deacon had much importance. Before long, then, a distinction between those who were merely faithful worshipers (the laity) and those who conducted the worship and administered the affairs of the church (the clergy) became well defined.
Nationalism was a common denominator of several revolutions in 1848. It prompted the disunited Germans and Italians to attempt political unification, and it inspired the subject peoples of the Habsburg Empire to seek political and cultural autonomy. The new nationalism tended to focus on language.
American revulsion against war also took the form of isolationism, the wish to withdraw from international politics outside the Western Hemisphere. The country was swept by a wave of desire to get back to “normalcy,” as President Warren Harding phrased it.
We still know relatively little about Mycenaean politics and society. We can tell from excavated gold treasures that Mycenae itself was wealthy, which is not surprising considering that it had conquered Crete. But the Mycenaeans seem not to have been overseas empire builders, even in the sense that the Cretans had been; their occupation of Crete may well have been undertaken by an invading captain.
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: