An absorbing, big-picture history, full of intriguing examples and anecdotes, from one of Australia's most innovative and original historians. Did you know that the Fall of Rome gave rise to private property and individual rights? Or that, curiously enough, the Roman Empire still existed in the nineteenth century? In The Shortest History of Europe, John Hirst takes us on a fascinating journey through antiquity to the Middle Ages and beyond, bringing European civilisation to life in all its peculiarity and exuberance. He begins with a look at its basis in Greek and Roman learning, Judeo-Christian religion and a Germanic warrior culture. He explains how this unlikely alliance came about and how, over the centuries, it has contributed to the rise and fall of republics, kingdoms and empires. He discusses the hapless crusades and all-conquering longboats, foreign conquest and the origin of languages, as well as the arrival of such figures as the chivalrous knight, the belligerent pope and the enlightened citizen.
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