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Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom Tapa blanda – 2 julio 2009
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Of all the civilisations existing in the year 1000, that of Western Europe seemed the unlikeliest candidate for future greatness. Compared to the glittering empires of Byzantium or Islam, the splintered kingdoms on the edge of the Atlantic appeared impoverished, fearful and backward. But the anarchy of these years proved to be, not the portents of the end of the world, as many Christians had dreaded, but rather the birthpangs of a radically new order.
MILLENNIUM is a stunning panoramic account of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000. This was the age of Canute, William the Conqueror and Pope Gregory VII, of Vikings, monks and serfs, of the earliest castles and the invention of knighthood, and of the primal conflict between church and state. The story of how the distinctive culture of Europe - restless, creative and dynamic - was forged from out of the convulsions of these extraordinary times is as fascinating and as momentous as any in history.
Descripción del producto
** A mighty narrative of kings and popes, battles and massacres . . . A tremendously good read ― SUNDAY TELEGRAPH MAGAZINE
'At last, a book that sheds much-needed light on those 1,000 years between Roman Britain and the Norman conquest that we call the dark ages ― Sue Arnold GUARDIAN
'Holland tells a cracking tale, vividly bringing this neglected era of monks, popes, knights and serfs back to life ― David Sinclair, TRIBUNE
Biografía del autor
Tom Holland is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. He is the author of Rubicon: The Triumph and the Tragedy of the Roman Republic, which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Persian Fire, his history of the Graeco-Persian wars, won the Anglo-Hellenic League's Runciman Award in 2006; Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom, a panoramic account of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000; In the Shadow of the Sword, which covers the collapse of Roman and Persian power in the Near East, and the emergence of Islam; and Dynasty, a portrait of Rome's first imperial dynasty.
He has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for the BBC. His translation of Herodotus was published in 2013 by Penguin Classics and followed in 2016 by a history of Æthelstan published under the Penguin Monarchs series, and in 2019 Æthelflæd England's Forgotten Founder as a Ladybird Expert Book. In 2007, he was the winner of the Classical Association prize, awarded to 'the individual who has done most to promote the study of the language, literature and civilisation of Ancient Greece and Rome'.
Holland is the presenter of BBC Radio 4's Making History. He has written and presented a number of TV documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, on subjects ranging from religion to dinosaurs.
He served two years as the Chair of the Society of Authors; as Chair of the PLR Advisory Committee and was on the committee of the Classical Association.
Detalles del producto
- Editorial : Abacus (2 julio 2009)
- Idioma : Inglés
- Tapa blanda : 512 páginas
- ISBN-10 : 0349119724
- ISBN-13 : 978-0349119724
- Peso del producto : 425 g
- Dimensiones : 20 x 3.6 x 13.3 cm
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº181 en Historiografía
- nº974 en Historia de la edad media
- nº1,997 en Historia antigua
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So far, so interesting and well written. However, the book really loses momentum in the middle. Many paragraphs say the same thing several different ways and in the plethora of kings and queens and all their kin, it becomes hard to keep track of the wicked uncles and saintly wives. A book with lots of good bits which could have been great if it had a chunk of padding edited out, to the benefit of the narrative.
Tom Holland chronicles the course of the centuries either side of 1000 AD, a time of much convulsion and upheaval: the 'birth pangs', as he calls it, of Western Europe. These were the years in which France was emerging from West Francia, a breakaway portion of the empire of the Franks, the empire of Charlemagne, who had been crowned emperor of the West in Rome itself and acknowledged as the western counterpart of the eastern emperor in Constantinople; in which the Scandinavia countries of Norway, Denmark, Iceland were turning away from Odin and the old gods and embracing Christianity; in which Vikings were settling, by force, in France and forming the land that would become Normandy; other Norsemen were settling further in the continent and becoming known as the Rus, eventually giving their name to Russia; yet more Normans were invading and conquering England, Sicily and southern Italy; the Muslim caliphate was splitting in two, with the Umayyad clan basing their dynasty in Cordoba in Muslim Spain, al-Andalus, and the Abbasid caliphate waging persistent war against the Byzantines.
And above all of this, the Church was establishing its grip, the power and influence of the Pope reaching into every kingdom - the secular and the spiritual no longer as separate as they had once been. Popes were claiming new powers and rights over kings, culminating in many kings coming under the papal sway as vassals, crowned and acknowledged by the Pope alone - in effect, the Pope was claiming that the whole of Christendom was subject to him and the Church. And in an act that would have lasting consequences, popes were coming to embracing the concept of a church-blessed 'holy war, a concept already well embedded in the Islamic jihad. In the space of two scant centuries, all this came to pass - and how much can be ascribed to 'millennial fever', to the fervid belief that the End of Days was nigh and the Antichrist due, with the thousand year anniversary of Christ' birth on the horizon, is the major theme of this book. The years before the turn of the millennium were dark and feverish, with many believing that the world was sinful and needed perfecting before the End of Days, giving rise to much of the impetus that propelled these changes.
Tom Holland is a marvellous writer - he has a tone that somehow manages to be wry and melodramatic at the same time, quite a skill. This isn't academic history, it is very much history for the uninformed, but there can be few authors better at painting such a sweep of history so enjoyably. I found the central theory of the millennial fever a little lacking, and it only really forms a central theme in the first half of the book. But I didn't enjoy this book any less for that. This is an era of history I've never been especially interested in - it's either Greek, Persian and Roman, or skipping over these middle years to get to 1066, but I could hardly put this book down.
Holland's book is essentially the story of the making of mainland Europe and the shift from tribes and small kingdoms to a global presence. The latter was greatly helped by the spread of Christianity, which created a community spread across vast areas.
Much of the book focuses on the conversation of the 'barbarian' tribes to the faith and how they went on to convert others and so on. I never realised just how much of Europe was settled by the Vikings! It also focuses on the tension between the rising power of Kings vs the power of the Church. Pope vs King, and also Pope vs the representatives of Eastern Christianity. The area most discussed is what is now France and Germany, we learn about the origin of Knights, of the creation of Castles and their use, and of the constant jostling for position.
What's noticeable throughout the work is the sense of the end of days (people thought the millennium was the coming of the antichrist, and Christ's return) the desperation to make the earth 'better' while also killing/pillaging and committing acts that modern observers would condemn as unbelievably barbaric. Holland tells us that even men at the time were torn between acts they committed (or were going to) and their Christian faith. The book ends as Europe is starting to unite under the banner of Christianity and as the first crusade is called.