Europe from ice age to Middle Ages


This video on the Roman empire is called Archaeology, History, Forensic science – “Gladiator Graveyard”.

By Ann Talbot:

European history in the longue durée
Europe Between the Oceans by Barry Cunliffe

9 October 2008

Barry Cunliffe, Europe Between the Oceans: Themes and Variations: 9000 BC—AD 1000, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008)

Professor Barry Cunliffe’s new book is a well-informed synthesis that is based on a lifetime’s work in European archaeology, prehistory and protohistory. It covers the period from the last glacial maximum to the first millennium—9000 BC to AD 1000. Nothing of similar scope and depth of learning has appeared since V. Gordon Childe’s Dawn of European Civilisation which now is much out of date. Cunliffe’s book, by contrast, reflects the great body of archaeological work conducted since the Second World War.

The book explores the history of Europe from its initial settlement in the wake of the retreating ice by the first hunter-gatherers, the appearance of the first farmers around 7000 BC, the emergence of metal working in the fifth millennium and the development of sophisticated Mediterranean civilisations with close links to the Middle East in the mid-third millennium. Cunliffe explains how these civilisations were replaced by more familiar societies of the classical ancient world dominated by the Greek city states, Carthage and Rome. He continues with the collapse of the Roman Empire, the development of barbarian kingdoms in the West and the formation of an Islamic Empire in much of the Mediterranean.

This is not a book that deals with specific societies, cultures, peoples, or civilisations such as the Greeks or Romans, the Celts or the Germans. Nor does it deal with individuals such as Julius Caesar or Charlemagne. But it provides the reader with the means to put more tightly focused accounts of these subjects into a wider historical frame of reference. In a period where history is often studied in the form of short, disconnected snippets, Cunliffe’s book is invaluable in providing some context for more detailed histories. The reader is given an overview of the flow of European history through an extended period of time and a wide geographical area.

From the BBC:

The tomb of a general thought to have been an inspiration for the main character in the Oscar-winning film Gladiator has been unearthed in Rome.

The tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus is one of a number of recent archaeological discoveries in the city.

Marcus Nonius Macrinus was a favourite of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, helping him achieve major victories in Europe.

He is believed to have in part inspired the character Maximus Decimus Meridius, played by Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

Three days of blood-soaked butchery in the unfamiliar forests of Germany culminated in one of the Roman Empire’s darkest moments, and may have helped shape the Europe of today: here.

1 thought on “Europe from ice age to Middle Ages

  1. Pingback: European Middle Ages and Enlightenment, new book | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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