Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: An Introduction to the History of a Controversy
The book that follows is not a history in the normal sense, but, as the subtitle explains, the history of a controversy. The controversy in question is the one which has raged for many years around the question: What ended Roman civilization and brought about the Dark Ages?
“During the more than five centuries of Roman presence in the West, the regions of Britain, Gaul, and Germany were marginal to Roman interests. The Empire was essentially Mediterranean and remained so throughout its existence; thus Italy, Spain, and North Africa were the Western areas most vital to it. However, the Empire’s cultural, economic, and population centers were the great cities of the East: Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, and later Constantinople. The West boasted only one true city … Rome. In the first centuries of the Empire, Rome could afford the luxury of maintaining the Romanitas [Roman territories] of the West. Still, these regions, which supplying the legions of the limes, or borders, with men and arms and supporting the local senators with the otium, or leisured existence, necessary to lead a civilized life of letters, contributed little to either the cultural or economic life of the Empire.” (Patrick J. Geary, Before France and Germany, pp. 8-9)