Excerpt from The Close of the Tenth Century of the Christian Era: The Arnold Prize Essay, for 1858 The close of the tenth century of the Christian era is singled out by history as a memorable time of pause and recommence ment in the career of the world. By history likewise it is nu rolled as One of her darkest and saddest chapters. It presents itself both as a period and an epoch. With it expired that long course of formation which began with the fifth century: and from amidst its anarchy or misrule were evolved the institu tions, societies, and manners of mediazval Europe. It assumes a twofold significance. Retrospectively it connects itself with the five centuries preceding, especially with the two great facts of those centuries - the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, and its revival b Charlemagne and we ask the question, What did this point 0 time receive from the past, which rendered it a crisis of development for the future? Again, when viewed as the seed-time in which were nurtured the forms of the coming world, we must strive to trace in its evanescence and obscurity a law of union deeper than the discord of facts, and pointing to a destiny to be attained in spite of the practical incredulity ex pressed by blood and rapine. The end of the tenth century was the beginning of the European middle age: as therefore it closes five centuries of ruinous war, devastation, and barbarism; so it Opens three centuries magnificent in events and ideas. From this time are to be dated the great facts which reciprocated in producing the medimval genius and tendency, so profound and inscrutable, -such as the origin of modern languages, and national literatures; Of the Feudal system, with its various political cul minations; and of the supremacy of the PO ies. In the east, the close of the tenth century is coeval with the brief outshining of the Greek empire, between the decay of the Saracens and the rise of the Turks, with the Christianization of Russia, and with the transient splendours of the Gaznivide empire in Bactria and India. It will be the object of the following essay to enlarge and substantiate this summary: but a further enquiry first must be despatched. This point of time - through which so much of the past flowed into the future - what was it in itself, as distinct from any other epoch Can any mark be perceived in it that rendered it critical in the faiths, and hopes, and destinies of men?
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