Slike strani



fluenced all the succeeding generations; Boileau and La Fontaine the poets, still widely read after nearly three centuries; Bossuet, Bourdaloue and Flechier the orators, among the greatest of history; La Rochefoucauld and La Bruyère as moralists are still living forces, and La Rochefoucauld is almost more quoted than any author since his time. Fenclon has a place by himself and it is very high. The period also saw the development of a school of romance, mainly of women writers. Madame de Sévigné wrote French prose while coteries of immortal French literary ladies made literature a fashion, though little of their work has survived. Mademoiselle de Scudéry's writings had an immense vogue and probably suggested the comic romance of Scarron and some other romantic developments. Madame de la Fayette wrote in the Princess of Treves, a story that anticipates our modern fiction in many ways.

Three philosophers who have notably affected human thinking ever since wrote at that time. Descartes (1596-1650), who probably has influenced modern philosophy more deeply than any other, was distinguished as a mathematician, but put that aside to spend 20 years in retirement in Holland (near Leyden) elaborating his system of philosophy. He began by doubting everything, even his own existence, but his "I think, therefore, I am,” became for him the foundation of certiiude. Spinoza (1632–77) was the greatest modern expounder of Pantheism. He was descended from Portuguese Jews and made his living as a lensgrinder in Amsterdam. His metaphysical speculations were founded on Descartes, who had gone into philosophic retirement not far from where Spinoza also retired when he gave up his occupation to write out his Pantheistic theories. Pascal (1623-62) was like Descartes, first a mathematician and then a pliilosopher. He is famous for his prose style. He died before his magnum opus, an apology for Christianity, was completed. All that we have of it is the Pensées, thoughts on great subjects.

The century proved a great period in the history of mathematics. Kepler succeeded Tycho Brahe as mathematician-astronomer to the Emperor Rudolph (1602). In working out Tycho's observations he deduced the grcat laws that bear his name. Galileo's discoveries opened further occasions for mathematics. Cassini's tables of the motions of Jupiter's

to his invitation to the observatory in Paris, and the Cassinis continued for generations as successful workers in astronomy and mathematics. Descartes and Pascal graduated from mathematics into philosophy and carried the modes of their previous discipline into the new sphere of thought. The Bernoullis, Jacques and Jcan were followed in succeeding generations, like the Cassinis, by grcat mathematicians. Jacques Bernoulli (1654–1705) solved the isoperimetrical problem and discovered the properties of the logarithmic spiral. The two greatest mathematicians of the century are Leibnitz (1646–1716) and Newton (16421727). Leibnitz was thé inventor of the differential and integral calculus (independently discovered by Newton), and was also a writer of influence on philosophy. Newton's astro

nomical mathematics, depending on the determination of the length of a degree on the earth's surface by Picard in Paris (1671), made him famous. His Principia Mathematica) was presented to the Royal Society (1686) and published the following year.

The name of the period around which cverrecurring controversy has centred is that of Galileo (1564-1612) the physicist-astronomer. He invented the thermometer, discovered the isochronism of the pendulum and the hydrostatic balance and the barometer,

His great invention was the telescope, with which he discovered Jupiter's moons (1610). For teaching in opposition to all the mathematicians and astronomers of his time that the Copernican theory is the only tenable doctrine of the heavens though his reasons for it have all since been contradicted, and Copernicanism is now held on entirely other grounds. Galileo was compelled by the Inquisition to abjure his Copernican teaching in 1633. He was disciplined but not imprisoned, and prominent ecclesiastics continued to be his friends. "His long life considered as a whole was one of the most serene and enviable in the history of science (Bertrand, Perpetual Secretary Paris Academy of Science). His trial at Rome has been taken as the symbol of Church opposition to science, but as it is practically the only case in some six centuries, Cardinal Newman emphasized the fact that it had just the opposite sig, nificance, and was the exception which proved the rule of Church relations to science as favorable. Galileo himself continued to be a faithful and even devout Catholic.

The century stands out in the history of art, with two of the greatest artists of all time Rembrandt (160769) and Velasquez (1599– 1660). Admiration for the work of these men has grown ever since. A series of great painters, besides Rembrandt in the Netherlands and the contemporaries of Velasquez in Spain, are noteworthy: Rubens (1577-1640) did his best work in this century, and his pupil Van Dyke (1599–1641) belongs entirely to it. His greatest work was done in the fourth decade of the century in England. Ruysdacl, Hobbema, Paul Potter, Vermeer, Teniers and others maintained the primacy of the Netherlands in painting during this century. Besides Velasquez there were in Spain many who reached distinction and that distinction has grown in recent years. The best known among them are Zurbaran, Murillo and Ribera. In France, though the French were under the influence of the Italians, such names as Nicolas Poussin and Claude (Lorrain) are forever famous.

Sweden came to occupy a very important place in European politics during this century. King Gustav Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) intervened in the Thirty Years' War to prevent the further aggrandizement of the Hapsburgs. The Swedes looked upon the Baltic as a Swedish lake and their supremacy seemed imperiled. After the fall of Magdeburg, 1631, when that city was stormed hy Tilly and given up to pillage, the Protestant princes of Germany, alarmed, united with the Swedish king. Tilly was defeated at Breitenfeld (Leipzig) 1631, and again the following year, when he was fatally wounded. The emperor had to turn to Wallenstein, who had been in disgrace. Under him a




[ocr errors]

battle was fought with the Swedes at Luetzen in Saxony, which the Swedes won, but at the fatal price of their king. Wallenstein fell under the suspicion of the emperor who caused him to be assassinated (1634). After this the later part of the Thirty Years' War became a political struggle between the house of Bourbon and the house of Austria, though for a time it had seemed to be a war on religious grounds between Catholics and Protestants. The Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the war, established the principles of balance of power in Europe, which has been the source of so much disaffection and so many wars since.

On the death of Gustavus Adolphus, his daughter Christina, but six years old, succeeded under a regency. At the age of 18 she assumed the government, at once concluded the war with Denmark and hastened the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War in Germany. She had the genius of her father but applied it to peace, and all his virtues and some of his faults. She patronized literature and philosophy, brought Descartes to Sweden and tried to bring order out of the chaos at home and abroad. Dissatisfied, she secured the election of her cousin Charles Gustavus as her successor, abdicated in 1654 and embraced the Roman Catholic faith. She settled in Rome, where she became the patroness of letters and science and collected a great library which was afterward incorporated with that of the Vatican.

The beginning of the century saw a series of contradictory movements begin. The Jesuits established their Reductions in Paraguay, where a solution of the social problems of life for savage peoples was probably best presented in history. About the same time the Romanoffs became tsars of Russia to continue absolutism until well on in the 20th century. In 1620 slavery was introduced by the sale of African negroes in Virginia and the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.

France became the dominant power in Europe during this century. This was largely due to the genius of Richelieu, but also to his almost complete disregard for any law, human or divine, that opposed his ambitions for his country. He intrigued with Protestants when that suited his purpose, was the champion of Catholicism on occasion, oppressed the nation at home and schemed abroad the type of statesman praised because he put the state above every other consideration. He aimed to make the power of France supreme in Europe and to make the king absolute in France. By intrigue, by diplomacy, by every other means, he suca ceeded in these ambitious projects. He crushed the Huguenots, suppressed the aristocracy and wiped out the local assemblies and courts with their old privileges. He did not live to see France the leading power of Europe, but his policy carried out, proved successful in the hands of others. When Louis XIII died, his son Louis XIV was but five years of age. He reigned 68 years. It looked as though, under a child ruler, France might lose her prestige, but Cardinal Mazarin continued Richelieu's policies, loading France with the taxes that eventually brought the Revolution in its train, to do so. When Mazarin died, Louis at 23 at once took the government into his own hands. For more than 50 years he was his own Prime Minister and gave attention to every detail. He waged

four great wars, three of them in this century

that about the Spanish Netherlands (1657– 68), that of the Protestant Netherlands (1672– 78), that of the League of Augsburg (1688-97). He succeeded in extending his rule over certain Flemish towns, but his war with Holland proved a failure, the sturdy Dutch cutting the dikes, flooding their country, making the French army useless and driving the French fleet from the seas. Louis seized the free town of Strassburg (1681) without provocation and thus extended his kingdom to the Rhine. He revoked the Edict of Nantes which guaranteed religious freedom to the French Protestants, but only succeeded in depriving France of many worthy citizens, some of whom sought refuge in America to be sturdy upholders of liberty, and others in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State to be the backbone of independence there. A League of Nations was formed against Louis, embracing not only the Protestant countries, of England, Holland and Sweden, but also most of the Catholic powers of Europe, including Spain and the emperor,

The war lasted 11 years. The French made important conquests but were unable to hold them and laid 'them waste. At the end of the war, all parties gave up the territory they had won, though Louis succeeded in retaining Strassburg.

The most interesting character of the century is Oliver Cromwell

. The son of a simple country gentleman, educated at Cambridge, he was returned by his university to the Short and Long Parliaments. He became captain of a Parliamentary company of horse in 1642, and then colonel. He organized a regiment which, on account of its invincible courage, was known as the Ironsides. He was a prominent member of the High Court that signed the death warrant of Charles I. His position in the army gave him a controlling voice in the government, and after his expedition to Ireland (1649), he was made commander-in-chief. Later, defeating the Scotch (1651), and expelling the Rump Parliament, he was made Lord Protector of the Commonwealth (1653). He ruled practically alone. He was a benevolent autocrat who labored «to make England great and to make her worthy of greatness. His autocracy was tempered by his manifest desire to rule England in accordance with Scriptural precepts. He had the vindictiveness of the Old Testament deep in his character. His treatment of the Irish put an indelible stain on his memory. Over half a million of them were killed or banished. The best lands of the island were confiscated and granted to English and Scotch settlers. The famous Cromwellian settlement is called the "curse of Cromwell” by the Irish. Disaffection has existed ever since. As Lord Protector, Cromwell ruled firmly and secured the respect of foreign countries and peace and prosperity at home. He made England the leading Protestant country and interposed wherever Protestantism on ihe Continent needed an ally. He protected the Huguenots, won the Duke of Savoy to stop the persecution of the Vaudois and opposed the political policies of France and Spain except when they might favor Protestantism. Confident that the Pope was responsible for all opposition to Protestantism, he had him informed that unless there was peace, the sound of English guns would be heard in Rome. When he died unexpectedly of influenza (1658),



[ocr errors]

he was succeeded as Lord Protector by his I am the state," -- but his career exemplified son Richard, timid and without resolution, who that motto. Since Henry VIII's time, the diyielded to the disaffection of the army and re- vine right of a monarch in England had besigned his office the next year. Anarchy seemed come more explicit and was formally claimed by in prospect, but General Monk, commander of James 1 and the Stuarts after him. The second the army in Scotland, took control and the half of the 17th century brought with it the Long ament restored the Stuarts in the beginning of the reaction against this exaggeraperson of the son of Charles I. Charles II tion of the place of royal authority and thorwas received with the heartiest of welcomes. oughly prepared for the revolutionary moveHis reign saw a long reaction against the ments of the next century. gloomy Puritanism of the preceding generation, With the beginning of this century, English during which morality sank to a low ebb, the America comes into history. The settlement of drama declined, women appeared as actresses Jamestown, Virginia (1607); of the Pilgrims and literature became a pander. England suf- in Massachusetts (1620); of the Dutch in New fered severely from plague (1665) and the York (1621); of the Swedes in New Jersey great fire in London (1666) wiped out most (1633); of Lord Baltimore and his colony in of the town but gave opportunity for recon- Maryland (1634) and of the Quakers in struction, with widened streets and created much Pennsylvania (1681), are the important events more healthful conditions. Sir Christopher of this period. All of the colonies suffered Wren was put in charge of the reconstruction much from the Indians except Pennsylvania, and built a number of handsome buildings. where William Penn paid them for their land Great dread existed lest Roman Catholics gain and always treated them fairly. Most of the any power in England and the announcement colonies developed slowly but by the beginning of the discovery of a Popish plot (1678) to of the 18th century, had begun to show some kill all Protestants, beginning with the king signs of the power they were to be. Unfortuand Parliament, caused great excitement. In- nately the colonists brought with them all the formers came forward to testify and Titus prejudices of their former European environOates, particularly, gained notoriety. Many ment. Even those who had been driven from Catholics, convicted on the testimony of per- Europe by religious persecutions refused to perjured witnesses, were condemned.

The re

mit religious liberty in America. Only the vulsion of feeling over the injustice done led Quakers in Philadelphia allowed freedom of to the Habeas Corpus Act (1679) which has worship. As a result, Philadelphia, though stood ever since as the safeguard of personal latest founded and situated far from the sea, liberty all over the English-speaking world. soon became the largest city of the colonies and

The hero of the century is John Sobieski, the centre of their cultural and commercial life. the brave king of Poland (1629_96). He had Massachusetts grew very rapidly, receiving risen by merit to the command of the Polish some 20,000 immigrants before the middle of army when Poland was the most important the century, and Harvard College, the first colcountry in central Europe and had been espe- legiate institution in English America until the cially successful against the Cossacks and 18th century, was founded in 1638. The first Tartars, encroaching on the frontiers. Later, book printed in the English colonies was the when the Turks invaded Poland, he won sev- Massachusetts Bay Psalm Book (1639). eral battles from them and his crowning victory The great social worker of the century, the of Chocim cost them 20,000 men and many guns. type of social reformer that was to come, is He became a national hero and was unani- Vincent de Paul (b. 1576; d. 1660), perhaps mously elected king (1674). His reign was the greatest benefactor of the poor that ever occupied in battling with the Turks. Finding lived. Ordained priest at 25, he was captured it vain to attack the Poles, the Turks turned by Turkish pirates shortly afterward and sold in against Austria, laid siege to Vienna, from

Tunis as a slave. After two years, he escaped which the Emperor Leopold fled, after implor- with his master, a renegade Christian, whom ing Sobieski's help. In spite of political rea- he brought back to his religion. After this exsons to the contrary and Louis XIV's counsel perience, the one ambition of his life was to against it, Sobieski at once went to the rescue do good to those in need. The poor in the and with an army of scarcely more than 75,000 country places in France were sadly neglected – men, defeated some 300,000 Turks and saved little better than slaves on the land. Vienna. The victory was largely due to the ganized missions and conferences of charity for prestige of Sobieski's name, for the Turks their benefit. By his enthusiastic and yet stood their ground until they heard that «The thoroughly practical ways, he won to his aid a Northern Lion” was on the field, when they number of distinguished patrons. Then he took lost courage and broke in confusion.

up the care of the convicts in the galleys. What has been called the political revolu- While on land, they were crowded, in chains, in tion of modern times begins after the peace of damp dungeons, their only food black bread and Westphalia (1648). For the next century and water, and they were covered with vermin and a half the seeds of political disaffection grew ulcers. He went among them, bringing them 10 reach fruition in the French Revolution food, medicines and, above all

, human solace. (1789). The revolutionary spirit was fostered Nothing was repulsive to him and he dressed by the frequent wars of the time, so many of the ugliest of wounds. He began his work in ihem undertaken merely for the benefit of par- Paris and when it attracted the attention of the ticular reigning families, that the period has king, Louis XIII, and he was appointed Royal been called in history the "era of dynastic Almoner, he took advantage of the position to wars. The culmination of arbitrary power visit Marseilles and Bordeaux. In each place centred in one man was reached in Louis XIV a hospital was erected for the convicts. Their of France, who may not have used the expres- moral regeneration was even more his care than sion attributed to him often «L'État c'est moi their physical improvement. He recognized the

He or

[blocks in formation]

need of special training for the assistants in 1629. Cardinal Richelieu becomes Prime Minister of France. such social work for the missions and charities,

1631. Battle of Leipzig.

1632. Death of Gustavus Adolphus at the battle of Lutzen. and so he established an association for this

1641. The Irish rebellion and massacre of Protestants. purpose. He gathered around him as an auxili- 1642. Civil war begins in England. Battle of Edgehill. ary a number of ladies of the nobility of

1643. Louis XIV of France begins to reign. Wars of the

Fronde. France, organized as the Ladies of Charity. 1644. Cromwell's victory at Marston Moor over the English Through them he collected immense sums of

royalist forces. The Chinese Ming dynasty overmoney which were distributed

to the poor.

thrown and the Manchu rule established.

1645. Complete defeat at Naseby of King Charles of England. Foundling children were his special care, par- 1648. End of Thirty Years' War. ticularly after he discovered that sometimes 1649. Charles I of England beheaded. they were deliberately deformed by scoundrels

1653. Cromwell becomes lord protector of England.

1660. The English restoration. Charles II becomes king of who thus appealed to public pity. The mu

Great Britain. Death of the great social reformer nicipal asylum for foundlings was little better

of the century, Vincent de Paul. than a place for them to die. The 17th

1665. The great plague of London in which 68,000 persons

died. century was a time of war, with poverty rife, 1666. The great fire of London which in three days deand the children suffering above all, so Vincent

stroyed 13,000 houses.

1667. French invade the Netherlands. next organized the Daughters of Charity, young

1668. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. women who were willing to devote their lives to 1678. The habeas corpus act passed in England. social service. This foundation still exists as 1683. The Turks capture Vienna. the well-known Sisters of Charity, all over the

1685. James II becomes king of Great Britain. The New.

tonean philosophy first published. Revocation of world. Poverty became so bitter that Vincent

the edict of Nantes. had to organize for the shelter and employment

1688. War of the Spanish succession. Revolution in Great

Britain. James II abdicates of some 40,000 unemployed near and around

1689. Peter the Great becomes tsar of Russia. William and Paris. His reputation and prestige enabled him

Mary crowned rulers of Great Britain. to get the needed help. The king, granted the

1690. The Battle of the Boyne.

1692. The Massacre of Glencoe. lands of the Salpetrière for a hospital and

1697. Charles XII becomes king of Sweden. The peace of lodgings. In what is known as the French

Ryswick. Period of the Thirty Years' War, the war zone,

1700. The grandson of Louis XIV of France succeeds to the

Spanish throne. as in our own time, was in Lorraine, FrancheComté and Champagne, around Metz, Toul and

SEVENTH CENTURY. The outstanding Verdun, for nearly 25 years. Vincent came to events of this century centre around the rise the assistance of the poor people there, secured of Mohammedanism or Islam (submission to hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time God). From a small town in Arabia it spread when money was worth five or six times as over Asia to the Indus, through northern much as now. He established a periodical, Africa, then to Spain and across the Pyrenees Le Magasin Charitable, in order to publish ac- into southern France within a century. Mocounts of what was done, to call attention to hammed, born at Mecca in Arabia, was a camel special needs, and touch the hearts of others by driver. He was a young man who was brought letters received from those helped. He founded in contact with many different peoples, and a series of public kitchens to feed the poor, and earlier had been a watcher of flocks by night also to instruct them how to prepare their when men are tempted to think deeply about food economically and advantageously. He the relations of man to the universe. The himself gave minute instructions as to the Arabs and the Hebrews are the two most imquantity of fat, butter, vegetables and bread portant branches of the Semitic race, to whom people should use and the mode of preparing ihe world owes so much of thought with rethe sour;

He founded societies to bury the gard to religion. Mohammed passed through dead and clear away dirt to prevent disease. a series of mental struggles, and though unable These were under the Sisters of Charity. He to read and write declared that the angel distributed seeds so that the war-stricken peo- Gabriel came to him in sleep and made a series ple might prepare their harvest. The triumph of of revelations so that he thought of himself as his charity is the foundation of a special or- a messenger of God. These revelations became ganization for the relief of the impoverished the Koran. He lived in retirement, teaching, nobility. In the midst of all this work, he but making few disciples especially in Mecca, lived to be 85 years of age and wrote some though his doctrines were carried to Medina 30,000 important letters, all of them without where they attracted a number of converts. exception for some good purpose for others. The Meccans, fearing that his new teaching

J. , would disturb popular feeling toward their Holy

City where was the Kaaba (the cube stone turies.

around which centred the idolatrous worship

of the Arabs), rose against him and he fled to PRINCIPAL EVENTS OF THE SEVENTEENTH

Medina. This Aight (622) hegira (Arabic) was CENTURY.

adopted as the beginning of a new era from 1603. Queen Elizabeth of England dies. Union of Scotland

which Mohammedan history still reckons. At and England under James I. 1605. The English gunpowder plot.

Mecca, Mohammed had only preached, but at 1607. Hudson's Bay discovered by Hendrik Hudson.

Medina he became a ruler and lawgiver. After 1608. Galileo with a telescope observes the satellites of a time he led his troops to the capture of

Jupiter. 1610. Assassination of Henry IV, king of France.

Mecca, and Islam as a conquering religious 1614. Logarithms invented by Napier.

empire began its history. Ten years after the 1618. Manchus invade China. 1619. Harvey discovers the circulation of the blood.

hegira Mohammed died, but his teaching and 1620. Voyage of the Mayflower, The Pilgrims land at the kingdom which he had founded lived on.

Plymouth Rock. Slavery introduced in Virginia. At first his doctrines were scarcely more than 1625. Charles I of England begins to reign. 1627. Siege of Rochelle. Torricelli invents the barometer.

Judaism with a slight admixture of Christianity Drabellius invents the thermometer.

adapted for the Arabs. His first disciples were

Author of "The Thirteenth, Greatest of Pen

[blocks in formation]

instructed to turn toward Jerusalem to pray, but later Mecca was substituted, and Judaism and Mohammedanism definitely parted.

The spread of Mohammedanism is a mystery until it is realized that it represents the religious motives which animated a series of barbarous tribes in their national efflorescence. The Arabians discovered their power just when the Roman Empire was reaching a depth of decadence that made it a ready victim. Mohammed taught that man's life was fated, predestined to good or evil from all eternity, but that death for the cause of Mohammedanism was an assurance of heaven. Fanatic fatalism made indomitable warriors of the Arabs and a series of commanders arose who led armies in all directions that soon gave wide extension to Mohammedanism. The interior of Arabia was conquered, and the whole Arab nation united in six years, Syria was overcome and all the Byzantine Greeks, Damascus was taken and the victory of Yermuk in Palestine completed the conquest (636). Jerusalem opened its gates to the Caliph Omar, and finally Antioch, the great capital of Syria, surrendered (638). The army directed toward Mesopotamia was equally successful. Persia was defeated in a great battle at Kadesia which lasted three days and in which 150,000 Persian soldiers were overcome by 30,000 Arabs. Ctesiphon fell into their hands, Ispahan was captured and Persepolis sacked, and by the middle of the 7th century Khorasaan became subject to the Arabs. Egypt suffered the same fate. Alexandria was scized about 646, and clever advantage was taken of the disaffection on the part of the Copts, or natives, toward their Greek rulers whom they considered foreigners and heretics. Amru or Amer, the Arab general in command in Egypt, proved himself a statesman as well as a leader of armies, and as he gave the country a much better rule than it had had under the Eastern Empire, he won the people. The story that either he or the Caliph Omar ordered that the great library at Alexandria should be burned is probably without foundation. posed to connect the Nile and the Red Sea by canal but the project was abandoned for fear of opening to the unbelievers a way to the sacred cities of Arabia.

In spite of divisions among the rulers, the spread of Mohammedanism continued under the Ommiads, the first of whom, who became ruler in 661, was Moawiyah, the descendant of Omayya, founder of a well-known Arab family. The Ommiads succeeded Ali, Mohammed's sonin-law, the husband of his daughter Fatima, and occupied the throne for some 90 years until

The last of these Ommiads escaped to Spain and founded the Caliphate of Cordova, where the family ruled for nearly 300 years. Under the Ommiads, Damascus became the capital of the Mussulman Empire, By 672 their power had become so firmly fixed that they attacked even Constantinople itself by land and sea, and the capital of the Greek Empire was only saved by the use of Greek fire, an invention of a Syrian, which caused havoc among the wooden vessels of the Mohammedans because water would not quench it but actually caused it to burn more fiercely. Having spread over northern Africa, the Mohammedans were ready at the beginning of the 8th century to cross over into Spain and to begin the series

of attacks on civilization from the West which so often put it to the hazard. The followers of the religion of the camel driver of Mecca threatened at one time to overrun and rule the world. Their war cry, "God is God and Mohammed is His Prophet,) came to be the terror of Christians everywhere. Mohammedan pirates made the Mediterranean itself, and even many of the larger coast cities, places of terror because of their rage. The contradictions in the Koran, the emphasis on the sensual rewards that the faithful were to enjoy in the hereafter, the denial of the moral freedom of man, all these did not prevent the spread of the doctrine.

The Mohammedans were in close touch with the Grecian culture in the Eastern countries, and as ever in history "captive Greece led its captor captive.) The Saracens, children of the desert as they called themselves, were in the course of two generations of close contact with the Greek cities of Asia Minor, deeply influenced and reached a stage of high intellectual development. They often were more highly civilized in the intellectual sense of the term than the Germanic conquerors of the Roman Empire with whom they came in contact in the West. For some centuries the Arabs carried on the Greek tradition and represented the highest culture in the world. They accomplished little that was progressive, though the Arabian Nights) and some of their poetry are eminently original contributions to world literature. The Arabs by a curious contradiction consonant, however, with their Semitic character, possessed the two opposite qualities, the mystic and the practical. They accomplished much more in science than in literature. The number of words of Arabic origin used in the sciences demonstrate this. Alchemy, alcohol, alembic, algebra, almanac are but a few examples in (a.” They had the advantage of close touch with the work of the Greeks in science, and this enabled them to out-distance the Western Europeans. Their great cities Bagdad, Cairo and Cordova -- were centres of learning as well as of world commerce. They developed an attractive style of architecture and were the intellectual Icaders of mankind in the mid-mediæval period. They added much less to what they had learned from the Greeks than has been thought, and their reputation for great advances in medicine and surgery has been rudely disturbed by modern studies in medical history. Their religious prejudices hampered the development of anatomy and of surgery, and their oriental tendencies led to unfortunate polypharmacy. Arabian physicians developed what, from the number of ingredients, came to be known as calendar prescriptions. Modern medicine had its real beginning when Arabic influence declined and when Græcisms and not Arabisms are to be found in the medical writers.

The intellectual light of the century in the West is Isidore (560-636), who became archbishop of Seville 599. His influence was farreaching. He presided over the Fourth Council of Toledo (633) and to him are attributed most of its decrees. All bishops were required to establish seminaries, the study of Greek and Hebrew as well as the liberal arts was prescribed, and interest in law and medicine encouraged. The Arabs are usually set down as

Amru pro

750 A.D.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »