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The Forge of Christendom The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the WestAt the approach of the first millennium the Christians of Europe did not seem likely candidates for future greatness Weak fractured and hemmed in by hostile nations they saw no future beyond the widely anticipated Second Coming of Christ  uite good history of the time period from about 900 to about 1100 It gives you a fine understanding of how Christendom tamed the old pagan ways of Europe while in the process incorporating some of the warrior virtues that these pagan peoples possessedI give it four stars rather than five due to the story sometimes getting bogged down in details that make the reading a bit hard going combined with Tom Hollands writing style that while elouent can be a bit convoluted and deducts from the overall reading experience

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MOBI ☆ DOC The Forge of Christendom The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West FREE È DCMDIRECT ¶ [PDF / Epub] ☉ The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West Author Join or create book clubs – At the approach of Kable new age a time of caliphs and Viking sea kings the spread of castles and the invention of knighthood It was one of the most significant departure points in history the emergence of Western Europe as a distinctive and expansionist pow I picked up this novel after reading Holland's Rubicon and Persian Fire due partly to my preference for the author's narrative style of presenting history and partly due to the intriguing subject matterI've read a number of works on the Middle Ages and am passingly familiar with the characters and the events that shaped the history of the era Nevertheless as he did so well in his earlier two works Holland has a way of taking well known subject matter and giving it enough of a twist to capture the reader's attention In addition his narrative style of presenting history is far preferable to the dry textbook style utilized by many other authorsIn this work Holland examines the Middle Ages roughly from the reign of Constantine to the early 12th century through the prism of the spread of Christianity the sometimes extreme tension between religious and secular rulers and challenges posed by adjacent pagan and Islamic encroachmentWhether you are a well read student of the era or a newcomer I can highly recommend Forge of Christendom and other historical works by this author

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But when the world did not end the peoples of Western Europe suddenly found themselves with no choice but to begin the heroic task of building a Jerusalem on Earth  In The Forge of Christendom Tom Holland masterfully describes this remar I consider myself a history buff and love ancient Roman and modern Asian history but basically haven't paid attention to the Middle AgesMediaeval history since high school As Holland's newest book shows that was certainly a mistake According to Holland's The Forge of Christendom The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West the early Middle Ages around the turn of the millennium proved to be an extremely important time not just in European history but also the separation between church and state and the idea of progress broadlyBefore the millennium many Christians in Europe became apprehensive as in the Book of Revelation St John predicted that the Antichrist would rule the world and the end of days would be near The exact date was uncertain but though to be a thousand years after Christ's birth 1000 AD or his resurrection 1033 AD the accepted number after nothing happened in 1000 AD During this time Europe coincidentally? suffered internecine warfare rogue knights Viking raids threats from a rising Islamic Caliphate and a host of other problems When the millennium came and went both religious and secular leaders realized they had better solidify their own dominions on earth since the end of days might take longer than expected However unlike James Reston's The Last Apocalypse Europe at the Year 1000 AD Holland's book does not focus on the myths and legends surrounding the millennium but rather the historical developmentsThe thrust of the book focuses on the political and religious changes that accompanied and were influenced by the millennium Most important for Holland's story is the rise of the papacy Before the millennium the papacy was simply an office available for ambitious roman elites The line of popes consisted of than a few incompetents youthful puppets dilettantes and gigolos Further many bishops received the positions through bribery and other patronage known as simony By the mid 1000s religious reformers with a stronghold in the monastery in Cluny succeeded in installing one of their own Pope Leo IX Thereafter popes increasingly exercised their temporal and religious authority with Pope Leo IX being the first to declare a holy war against Norman marauders in Italy The story culminates when Gregory VII excommunicates the Saxon King Henry IV when the latter sought to appoint and control local bishops as kings had traditionally done Henry successfully begs for forgiveness at Canossa but not before the world realizes that the papacy is powerful and that the Pope controls religious affairs Holland argues this led to the division between church and state that has proven so crucial to Western civilization and contrasted to Islam where Islamic law covers both secular and religious issuesThe years surrounding the millennium marked a time when Europe ceased trying to imitate the ancient Roman Empire and started to forge its own distinct future Initially European kings such as Charlemagne simply sought to emulate Roman emperors and even went to Rome to be crowned by the Pope During the early Middle Ages Europe also underwent a transformation in political authority Holland describes the rise of knights and castles as responses to weak governments in the West and the ambitions of local elites Proselytization of the barbarians also plays a bigger role It is particularly interesting to see how Saxons Vikings and other warrior tribes reinterpret Christianity to endorse their traditional warrior customsThis book is great because in addition to being a history lesson it also describes the origins of so many things still with us today For example in the Frankish Saxon and other kingdoms we see the beginnings of the modern nation states of Western Europe Holland also describes how the Scandinavians Hungarians and others who had been outside the Roman Empire were eventually Christianized We also see the first major incidents of anti Semitism in Orleans in 1010 Holland claims that before then Christian communities had been largely tolerant of Jews Also next time somebody tells you that you need to go to Canossa you'll know what to doHolland has a great knack for finding wonderful anecdotes and enjoys repeating them at face value He breathlessly recounts how heredity was a significant issue for heirs because as the ancients had long since proved both sperm and menstrual blood were suffused with the essence of an individual's soul Hence princes needed to assure competitors and subjects that they had inherited the prior king's noble traits through his semen Meanwhile the Scottish trying to claim a noble heritage for their proud peoples claimed to have descended from the Pharaoh's daughter who had found Moses in a bulrushes her name Princess Scota of course One of my favorite stories was the advice Polish bishops gave for punishing a rapist nailed his scrotum to a bridge and then 'after a sharp knife has been placed next to him' be confronted with the unpleasant options of self castration or suicide Thou shalt NOT lustHaving said that I don't think the book works as well as Holland's other books Persian Fire The First World Empire and the Battle for the West and Rubicon The Last Years of the Roman Republic simply because he covers too much Unlike those two books which covered pivotal events The Forge of Christendom The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West really deals with a 150 year time period There aren't really any central characters and this period of history covers so many kings princes and popes that it simply becomes difficult to remember them all Further the narrative often skips around to different parts of Europe and occasionally goes on tangents I'm still not sure how important the Russians were to all of this However at the end of the day I think Holland rightly felt he had to put in this background because unlike the history of Julius Caesar few readers know enough about the early Middle Ages to appreciate the significance of the millennium and Canossa In that sense for readers like myself who have little background in Mediaeval history it is important to not get too overwhelmed by the details and keep the larger picture in mind If you do that you'll be shocked this history changes your view of the West