The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 06 (From Barbarossa to Dante)

Anonymous The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 06 (From Barbarossa to Dante)
ISBN:
2000000001703
Мова:
англійська
Автор:
Anonymous
Видавництво:
Project Gutenberg
Рік видання:
2004 р.
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The Emperor had in fact encountered a power too strong for him. He had been struggling against the beginnings of modern democracy, a system stronger even in its infancy than the ancient rule of the aristocracy which it has gradually supplanted. The resistance of Italy came not from its knights and lords, but from its great cities, which had been slowly growing more and more self-reliant and independent. The rise of these city republics of the Middle Ages cannot be fully traced. Everywhere little communities of men seem to have been driven by desperation to build walls about their group of homes and to defy all comers. As it was in Italy that the ancient Roman civilization had been most firmly established and the barbarian dominance least complete, so it was in Italy that these walled towns first asserted their importance. Venice indeed, protected by her marshes, we have seen establishing a somewhat republican form even from her foundation. She and Genoa and Pisa defended themselves against the Saracens and built ships and grew to be the chief maritime powers of the Mediterranean, rulers of island empires. They fought wars against one another, and Pisa was overwhelmed and ruined in a tremendous conflict with Genoa. Genoa's fleets carried supplies for the first crusaders. In later crusades, when the deadly nature of the long journey by land was more clearly known, the wealthy maritime republics were hired to carry the crusaders themselves to the East—and profited vastly by the business.

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