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The Christians V06 - The Quest for the City

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The Quest for the City / AD 740 to AD 1100 / Pursuing the Next World, They Founded this One / Volume Six of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years History Series

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The Quest for the City

Volume 6: A.D. 740 to 1100
Pursuing the Next World, They Founded this One

By the late first millennium, Christianity was caught between a hammer and an anvil – renewed barbarian attacks from the north, while fending off Islam from the south. From the remote fjords of Scandinavia came the best seamen the world had ever seen – the terrifying pagan Vikings, ravaging and plundering coastlands and river settlements as far distant as Byzantium. From the northeast descended the savage Magyars, kinfolk of the old Huns. Yet despite this, medieval Christendom slowly emerged, ruled by impressive kings such as Charlemagne and Alfred the Great, and built in large part by thousands of men and women drawn to monasteries and convents. These monks and nuns sought chiefly what Augustine and the Bible had called the “City of God” – whence the title of this book – but by their patient, selfless labor they laid the foundation of Europe. Meanwhile, evangelistic missions converted the last untamed tribes to the north and east.

Chapter One

Seeking the next world, monks and nuns found a new Europe

  • The brawling monks of the East emerge as godly mentors
  • The curious power of saintly relics
  • High-born nuns fear neither fire nor papal envoys
  • Hildegard of Bingen, ‘a Renaissance figure before the Renaissance’

Chapter Two

Charlemagne strives and fails to create a Christ-ruled empire

  • The Englishman who became the foremost apostle to Germany

Chapter Three

A deadly clash pits an emperor against a pope

  • The doleful era of ‘the bad popes’

Chapter Four

The Vikings butcher and loot Christendom

  • An epic poem of Alfred's defeat of the Danes
  • A Viking convert traces the coast of North America
  • The Norman Duke William seizes control of England

Chapter Five

The veneration of icons sunders Eastern Christendom

  • The mysterious practice of iconography
  • A British poet captures the aura of the icons
  • Amidst palace treachery, Byzantium soars to cultural heights
  • Viking warriors serve the Byzantine emperors

Chapter Six

Calamity of the era: Feuds over authority split East from West

Chapter Seven

An untold story: How all central Asia once teemed with Christians

  • In the footsteps of ‘Doubting’ Thomas

Chapter Eight

The affable Slavs subdue their masters by ably serving them

  • The Khazar compromise
  • A pope sheds light on ninth-century Christian lifestyles
  • A ‘little suffering Slavonic island in a German sea’

Chapter Nine

Norman intruders foil Islam's campaign to kill off Christianity

  • The fighting ships of a war-torn sea
  • Muslim Spain: model of tolerance–up to a point

Chapter Ten

The Abbasid coup begins a disintegrtion of pan-Islamic unity

  • A mad caliph and an obstinate light