Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 106


Roman Civilization

There was, of course, one civilization that shared a high degree of intimacy with the ancient
Greeks. Although they became a highly distinctive civilization on their own, there is no denying
the influence of the Greeks upon the Romans. The Romans may have faced the same
psychological problems as did the Greeks but for some reason -- perhaps their native Stoicism --
the Romans were much better prepared to move forward and create the kind of world they
wished to inhabit. Perhaps the Romans were cosmopolitan by nature? Perhaps the Romans were
able to create the world the Greeks had only dreamed about?

After having expelled the last Etruscan king, the Romans set about to build a republican form of
government. Such a task was precipitated because of social inequalities between patricians and
plebeians. It was possible that the patricians could have enslaved their social inferiors but instead
they did something typically Roman -- they accommodated them. In fact, this idea of
accommodation is manifest throughout the Republic and offers at least one explanation for
Rome's greatness. Rather than subject conquered peoples to your way of life -- as Alexander had
done -- the Romans sought accommodation. And with accommodation came some form of
citizenship. Upon this edifice, the strength and durability of Rome was perhaps insured.

By the 1st century B.C.E., and following the defeat of the Carthaginians and the Greeks, the
Republic faced its greatest challenge. Military generals, tired of dealing with members or the
Senate as well as the powerful equestrians, made their own bids for power by marching on Rome
with their own armies. This aristocratic reaction came to an end when Julius Caesar proclaimed
himself emperor for life. With his murder in 44 B.C.E., the first triumvirate appeared, only to be
crushed by Octavian, Caesar's grand nephew, who soon became known as Augustus Caesar
("blessed leader").

Under Augustus, the Roman Republic was transformed into the Principate, an Empire by any
other name. Augustus was a smart man who tried to accommodate everyone, but only if that
accommodation left him with absolute power, which it did. Although he died in 14 C.E.,
Augustus managed to create the foundation for that more glorious period of Roman history, the
Pax Romana. Of course, Augustus was a hard act to follow and despite the period of the Five
Good Emperors (96-180), there could be found no one emperor who could match the strength or
skill of Augustus. The Romans were perhaps aware of this and also had need, as did the
Hellenistic Greeks, of therapies (Stoicism and Neoplatonism) as well as diversions (gladiatorial
contests at the circus).

As we all know, mainly thanks to the works of Edward Gibbon, that Rome eventually fell to
Germanic pressures of invasion. The causes of that fall are varied and debatable. For Gibbon, the
main point of contention was not that Rome fell, but that it lasted so long. Although we may
never arrive at the definite reason for Rome's collapse, a few things are certain: the Romans
never determined a clear law of successio› 
 ›› ›   
Roman Civilization

1.p Introduction
1.p Rome as bridge between Mediterranean and ancient Near East
2.p A distinctive civilization
3.p The "mission" of the Romans
2.p Early Italy and the Roman Monarchy
1.p Geographical influences
1.p Rich enough to be attractive
2.p Difficult to defend
2.p The Etruscans
1.p Non-Indo-Europeans
2.p Etruscan confederacy
3.p The Etruscan legacy
1.p The arch and vault
4.p Greek settlements and influences
1.p Greeks arrive as early as eighth century B.C.E.
2.p Greek alphabet
3.p The pantheon of the gods
3.p The rise of Rome
1.p Indo-Europeans entered Italy between 2000 and 1000 B.C.E.
2.p The Tiber River
3.p The "Latin Right"
4.p Early government
5.p The Rape of Lucretia
6.p The Etruscan king Tarquin the Proud is overthrown (510 B.C.E.)
3.p The Early Republic
1.p Constant warfare
2.p Accommodating conquered populations
1.p Did not impose heavy burdens on conquered peoples
2.p Conquered peoples had to contribute soldiers to the Roman army
3.p Extending the "Latin Right"
3.p The government of the early Republic
1.p Slow political evolution
2.p Substituted two consuls for the king
1.p Consuls had full executive and judicial authority
2.p Each consul could veto the other
3.p Senate had control over public funds
4.p Patricians and plebeians
1.p Patrician wealth, power, and influence
2.p Plebeian grievances
3.p The Plebeian Rebellion
1.p The tribunes
2.p Establishment of laws
3.p The concilium plebis
4.p Slow shift to an aristocracy of wealth rather than birth
5.p The equestrians
1.p Men who had wealth and influence but chose business over politics
5.p Culture, religion, and morality
1.p Limited education²fathers taught sons (sports, practical arts, military
2.p Chief occupations²war and agriculture
3.p Religion
1.p Roman gods²Greek gods
2.p Reverence of ancestors
3.p Household gods
4.p Religion tied up with political life
5.p The Roman priesthood
1.p Served as priests and politicians
4.p Roman morality: patriotism, duty, masculine self-control, respect for
5.p Primary duty to Rome and to family
4.p The Fateful Wars with Carthage
1.p The Punic Wars
1.p The First Punic War (264±241 B.C.E.)
1.p Roman fear of Carthaginian expansion
2.p Carthage cedes Sicily to Rome
2.p The Second Punic War (218±202 B.C.E.)
1.p Carthaginian expansion in Spain
2.p Rome declares war
3.p Hannibal (247±182 B.C.E.)
4.p The victory of Scipio Africanus
5.p Carthage abandons all territory save Carthage
3.p The Third Punic War (149±146 B.C.E.)
1.p "Carthage must be destroyed"
2.p Romans massacre Carthaginians
2.p Territorial expansion
1.p Increase in Roman territory (Sicily, North Africa, and Spain)
2.p Policy of westward expansion
3.p Greece and Macedon become Roman provinces (146 B.C.E.)
5.p Society and Culture in the Late Republic
1.p Transformations
1.p New wealth poured into Rome
2.p Increasing social and economic inequality
3.p Small farmers left the land for the cities
2.p Economic and social changes
1.p Slavery
1.p Increase in slave population
2.p Using slaves as agricultural laborers
2.p No transition to industrialism
3.p No incentive for technological initiative
4.p Equestrians made contact with Eastern markets
1.p Operated mines, built roads, collected taxes, principal
3.p Family life and the status of women
1.p New rules for divorce
2.p Wives gained greater legal independence
3.p Upper-class Romans adopted Greek customs
4.p Epicureanism and Stoicism
1.p Lucretius (98±55 B.C.E.)
1.p On the Nature of Things
2.p Removing the fear of the supernatural
3.p Matter is a combination of atoms
4.p "Peace and a pure heart"
2.p Stoicism
1.p Introduced around 140 B.C.E.
2.p Cicero (106±43 B.C.E.)
1.p "Father of Roman eloquence"
2.p Tranquility of the mind is the highest good
3.p Indifference to pain and sorrow
4.p Bringing the best of Greek philosophy to Rome
5.p Religion
1.p Spread of Eastern mystery cults
2.p A more emotional religion
6.p The Social Struggles of the Late Republic (146±30 B.C.E.)
1.p Disorder, war, assassinations, and insurrections
2.p Spartacus slave uprising (73±71 B.C.E.)
3.p Tiberius Graachus (168±133 B.C.E.)
1.p Proposed land grants to landless
2.p The murder of Tiberius
4.p Gaius Graachus (159±123 B.C.E.)
1.p Enacted laws for the less-privileged
2.p Stabilized price of grain in Rome
3.p Suggested full citizenship to Italian allies
4.p The murder of Gaius
5.p The aristocratic reaction
1.p Marius (157±86 B.C.E.)
1.p Elected consul in 107 B.C.E., re-elected six times
2.p Abolished property qualification for the army
3.p Army became more loyal to commanders than to the Republic
2.p Sulla (138±78 B.C.E.)
1.p Appointed dictator (82 B.C.E.)
2.p Exterminated his opponents
3.p Extended the power of the Senate
6.p Pompey (106±48 B.C.E.)
1.p Elected consul by the Senate (52 B.C.E.)
7.p Julius Caesar (c. 100±44 B.C.E.)
1.p Destroys the forces of Pompey at Pharselus (48 B.C.E.)
2.p Cleopatra and Egypt
3.p Dictator for ten years, then declares himself dictator for life (46 B.C.E.)
4.p Death of Caesar²Ides of March (44 B.C.E.)
5.p Treated the republic with contempt
6.p The Julian calendar
7.p The Principate or Early Empire (27 B.C.E.±180 C.E.)
1.p Octavian (63 B.C.E.±14 C.E.)
1.p Joined forces with Marc Antony and Marcus Lepidus
2.p Murder of Cicero
3.p Crushing the republican opposition
4.p The Battle of Actium (31 B.C.E.)
2.p The Augustan system of government
1.p Senate votes Octavian as emperor²calls him Augustus ("worthy of
2.p Augustus rules as princeps ("first citizen")
3.p Republican institutions intact, but power resides with Augustus
4.p Controls the army, determines all government policy
5.p Achievements
1.p New coinage system
2.p Public services
3.p Defender of traditional values
6.p Augustus to Trajan
1.p Continued expansion
2.p Holds northern border at the Rhine and Danube
3.p The Roman Peace (Pax Romana)
4.p The "Five Good Emperors"
1.p Nerva (96±98 C.E.)
2.p Trajan (98±117 C.E.)
3.p Hadrian (117±138 C.E.)
4.p Antoninus Pious (138±171 C.E.)
5.p Marcus Aurelius (171±180 C.E.)
3.p Romanization and assimilation
1.p Pax Romana was not universal
1.p Roman massacres in Britain and Judea
2.p Assimilating the residents of conquered territories
3.p The spread of Roman cultural forms (amphitheaters, baths, paved roads)
4.p Rights of citizenship
5.p Borders and frontiers
8.p Culture and Life in the Period of the Principate
1.p Exponents of Stoicism
1.p Seneca (4 B.C.E.±65 C.E.) and Epictetus (c. 60±120 C.E.)
1.p True happiness can be found by surrendering to the benevolent
order of the cosmos
2.p Preached the ideal of virtue for virtue's sake
3.p Urged obedience to conscience
4.p The cosmos was divine²ruled by Providence
2.p Marcus Aurelius (121±180 C.E.)
1.p More fatalistic, less hopeful
2.p People should live nobly
3.p Resign yourself to suffering and pain with dignity
2.p Literature
1.p The Golden Age²extolling the virtues of Rome
1.p Virgil (70±19 B.C.E.)²the Ecologues and the Aeneid
2.p Horace (65±8 B.C.E.)²the Odes
3.p Livy (59 B.C.E.±17 C.E.)²History of Rome
4.p Ovid (43 B.C.E.±17 C.E.)²the Metamorphoses
2.p The Silver Age²self-conscious artifice
1.p Petronius and Apuleius
2.p Juvenal (c. 55±140 C.E.)²the Satires
3.p Tacitus (c. 55±120 C.E.)² Germania and Annals
3.p Art and architecture
1.p Art imported from conquered territories
2.p The wealthy wanted art for their homes²as the demand increased, the
Romans relied on copies
3.p Grand public architecture to delicate wall paintings
4.p The Pantheon and the Colosseum
5.p Engineering feats
1.p Roads and bridges
2.p Aqueducts
3.p Sewage systems
4.p Aristocratic women under the Principate
1.p Important roles played by upper-class women
2.p The very wealthy
1.p Could own property
2.p Invest in commercial ventures
3.p Could not hold public office
4.p Could act as priestesses and civic patrons
5.p New religions
1.p Greater interest in religions of salvation
2.p Christianity and Judaism
3.p Mithraism
1.p Zoroaster
2.p A religion of carefully guarded secrets
3.p Limited to men
4.p Sol invictus was the favored god of the Roman army
5.p Sunday wsa the most sacred day of the week
6.p December 25 was the most sacred day of the year
4.p Emperor worship
6.p Roman law
1.p Product of the Principate
2.p Augustus appoints eminent jurists to deliver opinions on certain legal
3.p Three branches
1.p Civil law²the law of Rome and its citizens (both written and
2.p Law of the peoples²early international law
3.p Natural law²a product of nature and of philosophy
7.p The economy of Italy during the Principate
1.p Manufacturing increased
2.p Mass production of pottery, textiles, metal, and glassware
3.p Signs of strain
1.p Upper class luxury
2.p Diminishing number of slaves
3.p Labor shortages on the latifundia
4.p Unfavorable balance of trade
9.p The Crisis of the Third Century (180±284 C.E.)
1.p Commodus (161±192 C.E.)
1.p Strangled by his wrestling coach
2.p The Severan dynasty
1.p Septimius Severus (145±211 C.E.)
1.p Controlled the army
2.p Eliminated the rights of the Senate
3.p Ruled as a military dictator
4.p Cheapened Roman citizenship
2.p The "barracks emperors"
1.p Twenty-six emperors between 235 and 284 C.E.
3.p The height of the third-century crisis
1.p Political chaos and civil wars
2.p Interruption of agriculture and trade
3.p Nearly confiscatory taxation of civilians
4.p Advance of Rome's external enemies: Germans, Persians, and Goths
10.pThe Roman Rule in the West: A Balance Sheet
1.p Explaining the decline and fall of Rome
2.p Political failures
1.p Lack of a clear law of succession
2.p Civil war
3.p Lack of constitutional means for reform
4.p Violence
3.p Economic crisis
1.p Slavery and manpower shortage
2.p Wealth concentrated in the hands of few families
3.p Undermining of civic ideals
4.p Roman achievements
1.p A long-lasting empire
2.p Created systems of communication, trade, and travel
3.p The Roman economy
4.p The Roman political system
5.p Extending the franchise to outsiders
1.p A standard of comparison: ancient and modern
2.p Architecture
3.p Roman law
4.p Sculpture
5.p The transmission of Greek civilization to the West
6.p The cultural inheritance

Geography of Europe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The continent of Europe

Satellite image of Europe by night

Europe is traditionally reckoned as one of seven continents. Physiographically, however, it is the

northwestern peninsula of the larger landmass known as Eurasia (or Afro-Eurasia): Asia
occupies the eastern bulk of this continuous landmass (save the Suez Canal separating Asia and
Africa) and all share a common continental shelf. Europe's eastern frontier is delineated by the
Ural Mountains in Russia. The south-east boundary with Asia is not universally defined. Most
commonly the Ural or, alternatively, the Emba River serve as possible boundaries. The boundary
continues to the Caspian Sea, the crest of the Caucasus Mountains or, alternatively, the Kura
River in the Caucasus, and on to the Black Sea; the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the
Dardanelles conclude the Asian boundary. The Mediterranean Sea to the south separates Europe
from Africa. The western boundary is the Atlantic Ocean; Iceland, though on the Mid-Atlantic
Ridge and nearer to Greenland (North America) than mainland Europe, is generally included in
Europe for cultural reasons. There is ongoing debate on where the geographical centre of Europe
is. (See Transcontinental nation for a more detailed description of the boundary between Asia
and Europe).

up 1 Overview
up 2 Geology
up 3 Rivers
up 4 Lakes and inland seas
up 5 Major islands
up 6 Plains and lowlands
up 7 Mountain ranges
up 8 Temperature and precipitation
up 9 Landlocked countries
up 10 Countries consisting solely of islands or parts of islands
up 11 Countries bordering or spanning another continent
up 12 Countries that share a name with their capital
up 13 Countries whose capital is not their largest city
up 14 List of countries by the number of other countries they border
up 15 Geography by country
up 16 See also
up 17 Notes

]edit] Overview

The coast of Europe is heavily indented with bays and gulfs, as here in Greece.

The idea of a European "continent" is not universally held. Some geographical texts refer to a
Eurasian Continent, or to a European subcontinent, given that Europe is not surrounded by sea
and is, in any case, much more a cultural than a geographically definable area.

In terms of shape, Europe is a collection of connected peninsulas. The two largest of these are
"mainland" Europe and Scandinavia to the north, divided from each other by the Baltic Sea.
Three smaller peninsulas²Iberia, Italy and the Balkans²emerge from the southern margin of
the mainland into the Mediterranean Sea, which separates Europe from Africa. Eastward,
mainland Europe widens much like the mouth of a funnel, until the boundary with Asia is
reached at the Ural Mountains.

Land relief in Europe shows great variation within relatively small areas. The southern regions
are mountainous, while moving north the terrain descends from the high Alps, Pyrenees and
Carpathians, through hilly uplands, into broad, low northern plains, which are vast in the east. An
arc of uplands also exists along the northwestern seaboard, beginning in the western British Isles
and continuing along the mountainous, fjord-cut spine of Norway.

This description is simplified. Sub-regions such as Iberia and Italy contain their own complex
features, as does mainland Europe itself, where the relief contains many plateaus, river valleys
and basins that complicate the general trend. Iceland and the British Isles]1] are special cases. The
former is a land unto itself in the northern ocean which is counted as part of Europe, while the
latter are upland areas that were once joined to the mainland until rising sea levels cut them off.

The few generalizations that can be made about the relief of Europe make it less than surprising
that the continent's many separate regions provided homes for many separate nations throughout

]edit] Geology
Main article: Geology of Europe

Europe's most significant feature is the dichotomy between highland and mountainous Southern
Europe and a vast, partially underwater, northern plain ranging from England in the west to Ural
Mountains in the east. These two halves are separated by the mountain chains of Pyrenees and
Alps/Carpathians. The northern plains are delimited in the west by the Scandinavian Mountains
and the mountainous parts of the British Isles. Major shallow water bodies submerging parts of
the northern plains are the Celtic Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea complex, and the Barents

The northern plain contains the old geological continent of Baltica, and so may be regarded as
the "main continent", while peripheral highlands and mountainous regions in south and west
constitute fragments from various other geological continents.

]edit] Rivers
The Volga, the longest river in Europe, in Ulyanovsk, Russia.

The Danube, Europe's second longest river, in Budapest, Hungary.

Main article: List of rivers of Europe

The following are the longest rivers in Europe alongside their approximate lengths]2]]3]:

1. Volga - 3,690 km (2,293 mi) 15. Tagus - 1,038 km (645 mi)

2. Danube - 2,860 km (1,777 mi) 16. Daugava - 1,020 km (634 mi)
3. Ural - 2,428 km (1,509 mi) 17. Loire - 1,012 km (629 mi)
4. Dnieper - 2,290 km (1,423 mi) 18. Ebro - 960 km (597 mi)
5. Don - 1,950 km (1,212 mi) 19. Nemunas - 937 km (582 mi)
6. Pechora - 1,809 km (1,124 mi) 20. Sava - 933 km (580 mi)
7. Kama - 1,805 km (1,122 mi) 21. Oder - 854 km (531 mi)
8. Oka - 1,500 km (932 mi) 22. Rhône - 815 km (506 mi)
9. Belaya - 1,430 km (889 mi) 23. Seine - 776 km (482 mi)
10. Tisza - 1,358 km (844 mi) 24. Po - 682 km (424 mi)
11. Dniester - 1,352 km (840 mi) 25. Glomma - 604 km (375 mi)
12. Rhine - 1,236 km (768 mi) 26. Maritsa - 480 km (298 mi)
13. Elbe - 1,091 km (678 mi) 27. Vardar - 388 km (241 mi)
14. Vistula - 1,047 km (651 mi) 28. Shannon - 386 km (240 mi)

]edit] Lakes and inland seas

Main article: List of lakes#Europe

]edit] Major islands

Iceland, Faroe Islands, Great Britain, Ireland, the rest of the British Isles, Balearic Islands,
Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Ionian Islands, Crete, Aegean Islands, Åland Islands, Gotland,
Saaremaa, Svalbard, Hinnøya, Senja, Zealand, Fyn and North Jutlandic Island.

See also List of European islands by area and List of European islands by population

]edit] Plains and lowlands

up East European Plain, the largest landscape feature of Europe
up Northern European Lowlands
up Pannonian plain
up Meseta Central is a high plain (plateau) in central Spain (occupies roughly 40% of the
up Po Valley, also known as Padan Plain, between Alps and Apennines

]edit] Mountain ranges

Mt. Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe.

Mount Olympus, legendary abode of the Greek gods.

Maja Jezercë in Albania at 2,694m high is the highest peak of the Dinaric Alps
Main article: List of mountain ranges#Europe

Some of Europe's major mountain ranges are:

up Ural Mountains, used to separate Europe and Asia

up Caucasus Mountains, which also separate Europe and Asia, and is the namesake of the
Caucasian race, not to be confused with Caucasian peoples
up Carpathian Mountains, a major mountain range in Central and Southern Europe
up Alps, the famous mountains known for their spectacular slopes
up Apennines, which run through Italy
up Pyrenees, the natural border between France and Spain
up Cantabrian Mountains, which run across northern Spain
up Scandinavian Mountains, a mountain range which runs through the Scandinavian
Peninsula, includes the Kjølen mountains
up Dinaric Alps, a mountain range in the Balkans
up Balkan mountains, a mountain range in central Balkans
up Scottish highlands ( cairngorms, a 'low level' mountain range, in northern and central
up pennines, very low level mountain range, subject to extreme glacial sculpting, in earlier
ice ages, found in northern England.

Land area in different classes of European mountainous terrain (classification from UNEP-

1500m &
1500- slope >=5° 300-1000m &
>= 3500- 2500- Mountainous Europe
2500m & or local local elevation
4500m 4500m 3500m TOTAL TOTAL
slope>=2° elevation range >300m
225 497886 10180000
1 km2 2 145838 km2 345255 km2 1222104 km2 2211308 km2
km km2 km2
0.00% 0.00% 4.89% 1.43% 3.39% 12.00% 21.72% 100.00%

]edit] Temperature and precipitation

The high mountainous areas of Europe are colder and have higher precipitation than lower areas,
as is true of mountainous areas in general. Europe has less precipitation in the east than in central
and Western Europe. The temperature difference between summer and winter gradually
increases from coastal northwest Europe to southeast inland Europe, ranging from Ireland, with a
temperature difference of only 10 °C from the warmest to the coldest month, to the area north of
the Caspian Sea, with a temperature difference of 40 °C. January average range from 13°C in
Southern Greece to -20°C in northeastern part of European Russia.

Western Europe and parts of Central Europe generally fall into the temperate maritime climate
(Cfb), the southern part is mostly a Mediterranean climate (mostly Csa, smaller area with Csb),
the north-central part and east into central Russia is mostly a humid continental climate (Dfb)
and the northern part of the continent is a subarctic climate (Dfc). In the extreme northern part
(northernmost Russia; Svalbard), bordering the Arctic Ocean, is tundra climate (Et). Mountain
ranges, such as the Alps and the Carpathian mountains, have a highland climate with large
variations according to altitude and latitude.

]edit] Landlocked countries

up Andorra
up Armenia
up Austria
up Belarus
up Czech Republic
up Hungary
up Luxembourg
up Liechtenstein
up Republic of Macedonia (name is currently under dispute)
up Moldova
up San Marino
up Serbia
up Slovakia
up Switzerland
up Vatican


1.p Liechtenstein is doubly landlocked.

2.p Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Kosovo, Hungary, Serbia,
and Macedonia constitute a contiguous landlocked agglomeration of nine countries in
Central Europe and the Balkans, stretching from Geneva all the way to Greece.
3.p All other landlocked countries (Luxembourg, Andorra, Vatican, San Marino, Belarus,
Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan) are "standalone" landlocked countries, not
bordering any other such = opean one (the emphasis is necessary, since Kazakhstan
borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, thus forming a vast landlocked
expanse in Central Asia)

]edit] countries consisting solely of islands or parts of

up Iceland
up United Kingdom
up Ireland
up Malta
up Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey (dependencies of British Crown)
up Faroe Islands (dependencies of Denmark)

]edit] countries bordering or spanning another continent

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Cyprus, Turkey,

Greece (some Aegean islands)

Spain (Ceuta, Melilla and Canary Islands), Italy (Lampedusa and

Lampione), Portugal (Madeira), France (Réunion)
France (French Guiana)

Europe-North and Portugal (Western part of the Azores), France (Guadeloupe, Saint
Central America Barthélemy and Martinique), the Netherlands (Netherlands Antilles)

]edit] countries that share a name with their capital

up Luxembourg
up Monaco
up San Marino
up Vatican

]edit] countries whose capital is not their largest city

country capital Largest city

Liechtenstein Vaduz Schaan

Malta Valetta Birkirkara

San Marino San Marino Serravalle

Switzerland Bern Zürich

Turkey Ankara Istanbul

sote: Italy's capital, Rome, is the country's largest city if only the municipality (com ne) is
considered. According to some definitions of urban zone and metropolitan areas, Milan's and
Naples' metropolitan areas are larger than Rome's.

]edit] List of countries by the number of other countries they

Map of European countries by number of neighbouring countries.

Russia (Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia,
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea)

10 France

9 Germany

8 Austria, Serbia, Turkey

7 Hungary, Poland, Ukraine

6 Italy

5 Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Switzerland, Belarus, Spain, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Macedonia

Belgium, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia, The Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania,
Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan

3 Finland, Norway, Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegovina

2 Sweden, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Estonia, Moldova, Netherlands

Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom, Monaco, Portugal, Vatican City, San Marino,

Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey (dependencies of the British Crown), Faroe Islands
(dependency of Denmark), Iceland, Malta,

sote: includes borders of overseas departments, for example: France's overseas departments and
collectivities also share land borders with Brazil and Suriname (bordering French Guiana), and
the Netherlands (bordering Saint-Martin).

¢niversità degli Studi di Pavia

centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche
X a Taamell 24 - 27100 Pav a - Italy
ema l : c a@c a. n pv. t

The Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea situated between Europe to the north, Africa to
the south, and Asia to the east.

It covers an area, including the Sea of Marmara but excluding the Black Sea, of about 970,000
square miles (2,512,000 square km). It has an east to west extent of some 3860 km and a
maximum width of about 1600 km. Generally shallow, with an average depth of 1500 m, it
reaches a maximum depth of 5150 m off the southern coast of Greece.

The Mediterranean Sea is an almost completely closed basin where the continuous inflow of
surface water from the Atlantic Ocean is the sea's major source of replenishment and water
renewal. It is estimated waters take over a century to be completely renewed through the Strait of
Gibraltar wich is only 300 m (1000 ft) deep. The scarce inflow, coupled with high evaporation,
makes the Mediterranean much saltier than the Atlantic Ocean.
To the southeast part, the Suez Channel, which is an artificial channel, connects the
Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. Through it many xenobiotic species are now colonizing the
Eastern Mediterranean basins.The low concentration of phosphates and nitrates, necessary for
marine pastures, limits the food availability and thus quantity of marine life in the Mediterranean
which should be considered an oligotrophic sea. In this context, overexploitation of the sea's
marine resources is a serious problem.
On the contrary, some areas, like the Corso-Ligurian Basin and the Gulf of Lion, are
characterized by high levels of primary productivity related with up-welling of nutrients.
Topogaph c and athymet c map of the Med teanean as n (map pod ced w th OceanMap
y com n ng a n me of d ffeent datasets).

Marine Mammals
In the Mediterranean Sea, 19 species of cetaceans can be encountered; 8 of them are considered
common (Fin whale Balaenoptea physal s, Sperm whale Physete macocephal s, Striped
dolphin Stenella coe leoala, Risso's dolphin Gamp s g se s, long finned Pilot whale
Glo cephala melas, Bottlenose dolphin T s ops t ncat s, Common dolphin Delph n s
delph s, Cuvier's beaked whale Z ph s cav ost s), while 4 are occasional (Minke whale
Balaenoptea ac toostata, Killer whale Oc n s oca, False killer whale Pse doca
cass dens, Rough toothed dolphin Steno edanes s), and 6 accidental, alien to the
Mediterranean, but occasionally sighted in the last 120 years (among them the Humpback whale
Megaptea novaeangl ae); moreover, we have to consider the presence of a small population of
Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena in the Black Sea. A table shows the scientific names
along with the common names in different languages. The Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monach s
monach s) is the only pinniped to be found within the Mediterranean Sea. It is now very rare and
listed as an endangered species. The only known colonies are in the Alboran Basin and in the
Aegean Sea. It is very unlikely that any animals will be encountered around Sicily or Malta.
Ecological concerns
In the Mediterranan Sea marine life is heavily threatened by habitat degradation mostly due to
human activities, such as fisheries, ship traffic, water pollution, coastal anthropization.
The cetacean population are currently affected by heavy pollution which contaminates the
marine food web, by overexploitation of marine resources due to unsustainable and not selective
fishery, and also by direct and indirect take of cetaceans. Also, we have to consider that the
Mediterranean and the Black Sea form an integrated oceanographic system. The waters of the
Black Sea, which are at a higher level than those of the Mediterranean, flow into the
Mediterranean basin through the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles. The Black
Sea collects waters coming from an enormous drainage basin wich includes a large part of
central and east Europe and Turkey. Due to the pollution brought mainly by rivers, the Black Sea
is dying; as its polluted waters continuosly flow into the Mediterranean, all marine life,
ecological balance and biological resources are seriously threatened in the whole system.
To the west the Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar,
which at its narrowest point is only 8 miles (13 km) wide and has a relatively shallow channel.
The effect of anthropogenic noise on the marine environment is a new serious concern for
scientists. The effects of intense sounds on marine mammals can vary from physical damage
including temporary or permanent hearing loss to a variety of potentially, still unknown,
disruptive behavioral effects which may have an impact on the status of the stocks. Marine
mammals extensively rely on sound to communicate, navigate, orientate, to find food and avoid
obstacles. The scarce availability of baseline scientific information about cause-effect
relationships prevents the adoption of appropriate conservation policies. Very little is known
about the critical habitat requirements of marine mammals. The lack of adequate knowledge
about the cetacean population in terms of distribution, size, trends, dynamics, reproductive
cycles, migratory habits, sensitivity to human activities, ecological roles, communication
abilities, dramatically limits the ability to develop strategies and policies for their conservation.
This makes all cetacean species particularly vulnerable to increased disturbance and habitat
degradation. Other than general principles of environmental protection, strong regulation
measures are urgently needed in order to increase our awareness about critical habitat
requirements and to reduce direct and indirect impacts caused by human activities.

The Sanctuary
In 1993 the Ministers of the Environment of France and Italy, and the Minister of State of the
Monaco Principality, signed in Brussels a joint declaration for the institution of a Mediterranean
Sanctuary for the protection and conservation of marine mammals.
On 25 November 1999 the Ministers met in Rome to sign the final agreement. The Sanctuary
area of approximately 100,000 Km2 comprises the waters between Toulon (French Riviera),
Capo Falcone (western Sardinia), Capo Ferro (eastern Sardinia) and Fosso Chiarone
(Tuscany).The region comprising the Corso-Ligurian Basin and the Gulf of Lion is characterised
by very high levels of primary productivity, in contrast to the well-known generalised
oligotrophy of the Mediterranean Sea. All cetaceans regularly observed in the Mediterranean can
be found in the region, including pelagic species such as fin whales and sperm whales. However,
considerable threats exist for cetacean living in the sanctuary, including, among others: by-catch
in driftnet fishing activities; high coastal anthropization; chemical pollution with toxic
compounds that accumulate in the cetaceans' fatty tissues through the trophic chain, and, last but
not least, high levels of maritime traffic, including fast ferries, ships transporting hazardous
chemicals, military manouvres, and offshore speedboat competitions.

Baltic Sea
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

For other uses, see Baltic (disambiguation).
Baltic Sea

Map of the Baltic Sea

Location Europe
59°30ƍN 23°00ƍE /
coordinates 23°ECoordinates:
59°30ƍN 23°00ƍE /
59.5°N 23°E
Max length 1,600 km (990 mi)
Max width 193 km (120 mi)
377,000 km2
Surface area
(146,000 sq mi)
55 m (180 ft)
20,000 km3
Water volume
(4,800 cu mi)
Baltic Sea in Darłowo.

The Baltic Sea is a brackish inland sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude
and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of
Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt
and the Little Belt. The Kattegat continues through Skagerrak into the North Sea and the Atlantic
Ocean. The Baltic Sea is connected by man-made waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea
Canal, and to the North Sea via the Kiel Canal. The Baltic Sea might be considered to be
bordered on its northern edge by the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of
Finland, and on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga. However, these various gulfs can be
considered to be simply offshoots of the Baltic Sea, and therefore parts of it.


up 1 Geophysical data
mp 1.1 Dimensions
up 2 Etymology
mp 2.1 Name in other languages
up 3 Sea ice
up 4 Hydrography
up 5 Salinity
up 6 Regional emergence
up 7 Geographic data
mp 7.1 Extent
mp 7.2 Subdivisions
mp 7.3 Land use
mp 7.4 Demographics
up 8 Geologic history
up 9 History
up 10 Biology
up 11 Economy
up 12 Tourism around the sea
mp 12.1 European Route of Brick Gothic
mp 12.2 Piers
mp 12.3 Resort towns
up 13 The Helsinki Convention
mp 13.1 1974 Convention
mp 13.2 1992 Convention
up 14 Countries
up 15 Islands and archipelagoes
up 16 Cities
up 17 See also
up 18 References
up 19 External links

]edit] Geophysical data

Baltic Sea in winter

The Baltic Sea is a brackish inland sea, allegedly the largest body of brackish water in the world
(other possibilities include the Black Sea and Hudson Bay). The Baltic Sea occupies a basin
formed by glacial erosion during the last few Ice Ages.

]edit] Dimensions

The Baltic sea is about 1600 km (1000 mi) long, an average of 193 km (120 mi) wide, and an
average of 55 m (180 ft, 30 fathoms) deep. The maximum depth is 459 m (1506 ft), on the
Swedish side of the center. The surface area is about 377,000 km (145,522 sq mi) and the
volume is about 20,000 km³ (5040 cubic miles). The periphery amounts to about 8000 km
(4968 mi) of coastline. ]1]

]edit] Etymology
While Tacitus called it Mare Suebicum]2] after the Germanic people of the Suebi, the first to
name it also as the Balt c Sea (Mae Balt c m) was eleventh century German chronicler Adam of
Bremen. The origin of the latter name is speculative. It might be connected to the Germanic word
elt, a name used for two of the Danish straits, the Belts, while others claim it to be derived from
Latin alte s (belt).]3] However it should be noted that the name of the Belts might be connected
to Danish lte, which also means belt. Furthermore Adam of Bremen himself compared the Sea
with a belt stating that the Sea is named so because it stretches through the land as a belt
(Balt c s, eo q od n mod m alte longo tact pe Sc th cas eg ones tendat  sq e n
Gec am). He might also have been influenced by name of legendary island mentioned in The
Natural History by Pliny the Elder. Pliny mentions an island named Baltia (or Balc a) with
reference to accounts of Pytheas and Xenophon. It is possible that Pliny refers to island named
Bas l a ("kingdom" or "royal") in On the Ocean by Pytheas. Balt a also might be derived from
"belt" and means "near belt of sea (strait)". Meanwhile others have concluded that the name of
the island originates from the Indo-European root *hel meaning wh te, fa . Yet another
explanation is that, while derived from the afore mentioned root, the name of the sea is related to
naming for various forms of water and related substances in several European languages, that
might have been originally associated colors found in swamps. Another explanation is that the
name was related to swamp and originally meant "enclosed sea, bay" as opposed to open sea.]4]

In the Middle Ages the sea was known by variety of names, the name Balt c Sea started to
dominate only after 16th century. Usage of Balt c and similar terms to denote the region east
from the sea started only in 19th century.

]edit] same in other languages

Look up ˜  in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

The Baltic Sea, in ancient sources known as Mare Suebicum (also known as Mare
Germanicum),]5] is also known by the equivalents of "East Sea", "West Sea", or "Baltic Sea" in
different languages:

up In Geman c lang ages, except English, =  is used: Afrikaans (Oossee), Danish
(Østesøen), Dutch (Oostzee), German (Ostsee), Icelandic and Faroese (=ystasalt),
Norwegian (Østesjøen), and Swedish (Östesjön). In Old English it was known as
up In addition, Finnish, a Balt c-F nn c lang age, has calqued the Swedish term as Itäme
"East Sea", disregarding the geography (the sea is west of Finland), though
understandably since Finland was a part of Sweden from Middle Ages until 1809.
up In another Baltic-Finnic language, Estonian, it is called the K (üääneme ), with
the correct geography (the sea is west of Estonia).
up þ  is used in =ngl sh; in the Balt c lang ages Latvian (Balt jas jūa) and
Lithuanian (Balt jos jūa); in üat n (Mae Balt c m) and the Romance lang ages French
(Me Balt q e), Italian (Ma Balt co), Portuguese (Ma Bált co), Romanian (Maea
Balt că) and Spanish (Ma Bált co); in Greek (ǺĮȜIJȚțȒ ĬȐȜĮııĮ); in the Slav c
lang ages Polish (Moze Bałtyck e or Bałtyk), Czech (Baltské moře), Croatian (Balt ko
moe), Slovenian (Baltsko moje), Bulgarian (Balt jsko Moe (Ȼɚɥɬɢɣɫɤɨ ɦɨɪɟ),
Kashubian (Bôłt), Macedonian (Ȼɚɥɬɢɱɤɨ Ɇɨɪɟ / Balt ko Moe), Ukrainian
(Ȼɚɥɬɿɣɫɶɤɟ ɦɨɪɟ ("Baltijs'ke More"), Belarusian (Ȼɚɥɬɵɣɫɤɚɟ ɦɨɪɚ ("Baltyjskaje
Mora"), Russian (Ȼɚɥɬɢɣɫɤɨɟ ɦɨɪɟ ("Baltiyskoye Morye") and Serbian (Ȼɚɥɬɢɱɤɨ
ɦɨɪɟ); and also in the Hungarian language (Balt -tenge).

]edit] Sea ice

On the long-term average, the Baltic Sea is ice covered for about 45% of its surface area at the
maximum annually. The ice-covered area during such a typical winter includes the Gulf of
Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, Gulf of Riga, Väinameri in the Estonian archipelago, the
Stockholm archipelago and the Archipelago Sea. The remainder of the Baltic itself does not
freeze during a normal winter, with the exception of sheltered bays and shallow lagoons such as
the Curonian Lagoon. The ice reaches its maximum extent in February or March; typical ice
thickness in the northernmost areas in the Bothnian Bay, the northern basin of the Gulf of
Bothnia, is about 70 cm (28 in) for landfast sea ice. The thickness decreases farther south.

Freezing begins in the northern coast of Gulf of Bothnia typically in middle of November,
reaching the open waters of Bothnian Bay in early January. The Bothnian Sea, the basin south of
it, freezes on average in late February. The Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Riga freeze typically
in late January.

The ice extent depends on whether the winter is mild, moderate or severe. Severe winters can
lead to ice formation around Denmark and southern Sweden. According to William Derham
during the severe winters of 1703 and 1708 the ice cover permeated as far as the Danish straits,
parts of the Bay of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland, in addition to coastal fringes in more southerly
locations such as the Gulf of Riga. In recent years a typical winter produces only ice in the
northern and eastern extremities of the Sea. In 2007 there was almost no ice formation except for
a short period in March.]6]

In spring, the Gulf of Finland and of Bothnia normally thaw during late April, with some ice
ridges persisting until May in the eastern Gulf of Finland. In the northernmost reaches of the
Bothnian Bay ice usually stays until late May; by early June it is practically always gone.

During winter, fast ice, which is attached to the shoreline, develops first, rendering the ports
unusable without the services of icebreakers. Level ice, ice sludge, pancake ice or rafter ice form
in the more open regions. The gleaming expanse of ice is similar to the Arctic, with wind-driven
pack ice and ridges up to 15 m, and was noted by the ancients. Offshore of the landfast ice the
ice remains very dynamic all year, because of its thickness it is relatively easily moved around
by winds and therefore makes up large ridges and piles up against the landfast ice and shores.

The ice cover is the main habitat only for a few larger species. The largest of them are the seals
that both feed and breed on the ice, although the sea ice also harbors several species of algae that
live in the bottom and inside brine pockets in the ice.

]edit] Hydrography
The Baltic Sea flows out through the Danish straits; however, the flow is complex. A surface
layer of brackish water discharges 940 km³ per year into the North Sea. Due to the difference in
salinity, a sub-surface layer of more saline water moving in the opposite direction brings in
475 km³ per year. It mixes very slowly with the upper waters, resulting in a salinity gradient
from top to bottom, with most of the salt water remaining below 40 to 70 m deep. The general
circulation is counter-clockwise: northwards along its eastern boundary, and south along the
western one (Alhonen 88).

The difference between the outflow and the inflow comes entirely from fresh water. More than
250 streams drain a basin of about 1.6 million km , contributing a volume of 660 km³ per year to
the Baltic. They include the major rivers of north Europe, such as the Oder, the Vistula, the
Neman, the Daugava and the Neva. Additional fresh water comes from the difference of
precipitation less evaporation, which is positive.

An important source of salty water are infrequent inflows of North Sea water into the Baltic.
Such inflows, important to the Baltic ecosystem because of the oxygen they transport into the
Baltic deeps, used to happen on average every four to five years until the 1980s. In recent
decades they have become less frequent. The latest three occurred in 1983, 1993 and 2003
suggesting a new inter-inflow period of about ten years.

The water level is generally far more dependent on the regional wind situation than on tidal
effects. However, tidal currents occur in narrow passages in the western parts of the Baltic Sea.

The significant wave height is generally much lower than that of the North Sea. Violent and
sudden storms often sweep the surface, due to large transient temperature differences and a long
reach of wind. Seasonal winds also cause small changes in sea level, of the order of 0.5 m
(Alhonen 88).

]edit] Salinity
The Baltic Sea's salinity is much lower than that of ocean water (which averages 3.5%, or 35 ),
as a result of abundant freshwater runoff from the surrounding land; indeed, runoff contributes
roughly one-fortieth its total volume per year, as the volume of the basin is about 21,000 km³ and
yearly runoff is about 500 km³. The open surface waters of the central basin have salinity of 6 to
8 . At the semi-enclosed bays with major freshwater inflows, such as head of Finnish Gulf
with Neva mouth and head of Bothnian gulf with close mouths of Lule, Tornio and Kemi, the
salinity is considerably lower. Below 40 to 70 m, the salinity is between 10 and 15 in the open
Baltic Sea, and more than this near Danish Straits.

The flow of fresh water into the sea from approximately two-hundred rivers and the introduction
of salt from the South builds up a gradient of salinity in the Baltic Sea. Near the Danish straits
the salinity is close to that of the Kattegat, but still not fully oceanic, because the saltiest water
that passes the straits is still already mixed with considerable amounts of outflow water. The
salinity steadily decreases towards North and East. At the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia
the water is no longer salty and many fresh water species live in the sea. The salinity gradient is
paralleled by a temperature gradient. These two factors limit many species of animals and plants
to a relatively narrow region of Baltic Sea.

The most saline water is vertically stratified in the water column to the north, creating a barrier to
the exchange of oxygen and nutrients, and fostering completely separate maritime

]edit] Regional emergence

Much of modern Finland is former seabed or archipelago: illustrated are sea levels immediately
after the last ice age.

The land is still emerging isostatically from its subsident state, which was caused by the weight
of the last glaciation. The phenomenon is known as post-glacial rebound. Consequently, the
surface area and the depth of the sea are diminishing. The uplift is about eight millimetres per
year on the Finnish coast of the northernmost Gulf of Bothnia. In the area, the former seabed is
only gently sloped, leading to large areas of land being reclaimed in, geologically speaking,
relatively short periods (decades and centuries).

]edit] Geographic data

]edit] Extent

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Baltic Sea as follows:]8]

Bordered by the coasts of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
and Germany extends north-eastward of the following limits:

In the ü ttle Belt. A line joining Falshöft ( 54°47ƍN 9°57.5ƍE / 54.783°N 9.9583°E) and
Vejsnæs Nakke (Ærö: 54°49ƍN 10°26ƍE / 54.817°N 10.433°E).

In the Geat Belt. A line joining Gulstav (South extreme of Langeland Island) and Kappel Kirke
( 54°46ƍN 11°01ƍE / 54.767°N 11.017°E) on Island of Laaland.

In G ldog So nd. A line joining Flinthorne-Rev and Skjelby ( 54°38ƍN 11°53ƍE / 54.633°N

In the So nd. A line joining Stevns Lighthouse ( 55°17ƍN 12°27ƍE / 55.283°N 12.45°E) and
Falsterbo Point ( 55°23ƍN 12°49ƍE / 55.383°N 12.817°E).

]edit] Subdivisions

The northern part of the Baltic Sea is known as the Gulf of Bothnia, of which the northernmost
part is the Bay of Bothnia or Bothnian Bay. The more rounded southern basin of the gulf is
called Bothnian Sea and immediately to the south of it lies the Sea of Åland. The Gulf of Finland
connects the Baltic Sea with Saint Petersburg. The Gulf of Riga lies between the Latvian capital
city of Riga and the Estonian island of Saaremaa.

The Northern Baltic Sea lies between the Stockholm area, southwestern Finland and Estonia.
The Western and Eastern Gotland Basins form the major parts of the Central Baltic Sea or Baltic
proper. The Bornholm Basin is the area east of Bornholm, and the shallower Arkona Basin
extends from Bornholm to the Danish isles of Falster and Zealand.

In the south, the Bay of Gdańsk lies east of the Hel peninsula on the Polish coast and west of
Sambia in Kaliningrad Oblast. The Bay of Pomerania lies north of the islands of Usedom and
Wolin, east of Rügen. Between Falster and the German coast lie the Bay of Mecklenburg and
Bay of Lübeck. The westernmost part of the Baltic Sea is the Bay of Kiel. The three Danish
straits, the Great Belt, the Little Belt and The Sound (Ö/Øes nd), connect the Baltic Sea with
the Kattegat bay and Skagerrak strait in the North Sea. The confluence of these two seas at
Skagen on the northern tip of Denmark is a visual spectacle visited by many tourists each year.
]edit] Land use

Polish coast dunes.

The Baltic sea drainage basin is roughly four times the surface area of the sea itself. About 48%
of the region is forested, with Sweden and Finland containing the majority of the forest,
especially around the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland.

About 20% of the land is used for agriculture and pasture, mainly in Poland and around the edge
of the Baltic Proper, in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. About 17% of the basin is unused open
land with another 8% of wetlands. Most of the latter are in the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland.

The rest of the land is heavily populated.

]edit] Demographics

About 85 million people live in the Baltic drainage basin, 15 million within 10 km (6 mi) of the
coast and 29 million within 50 km (31 mi) of the coast. Around 22 million live in population
centers of over 250,000. 90% of these are concentrated in the 10 km (6 mi) band around the
coast. Of the nations containing all or part of the basin, Poland includes 45% of the 85 million,
Russia 12%, Sweden 10% and the others (see below) less than 6% each.

]edit] Geologic history

The Baltic Sea somewhat resembles a riverbed, with two tributaries, the Gulf of Finland and
Gulf of Bothnia. Geological surveys show that before the Pleistocene instead of the Baltic Sea,
there was a wide plain around a big river called the Eridanos. Several glaciation episodes during
the Pleistocene scooped out the river bed into the sea basin. By the time of the last, or Eemian
Stage (MIS 5e), the Eemian sea was in place. Instead of a true sea, the Baltic can even today also
be understood as the common estuary of all rivers flowing into it.

From that time the waters underwent a geologic history summarized under the names listed
below. Many of the stages are named after marine animals (e.g. the Littorina mollusk) that are
clear markers of changing water temperatures and salinity.
The factors that determined the sea's characteristics were the submergence or emergence of the
region due to the weight of ice and subsequent isostatic readjustment, and the connecting
channels it found to the North Sea-Atlantic, either through the straits of Denmark or at what are
now the large lakes of Sweden, and the White Sea-Arctic Sea.

up Eemian Sea, 130,000±115,000 (years ago)

up Baltic ice lake, 12,600±10,300
up Yoldia Sea, 10,300±9500
up Ancylus Lake, 9,500±8,000
up Mastogloia Sea 8,000±7,500
up Littorina Sea, 7,500±4,000
up Post-littorina Sea 4,000±present

]edit] History
At the time of the Roman Empire, the Baltic Sea was known as the Mae S e c m or Mae
Samat c m. Tacitus in his AD 98 Ag cola and Geman a described the Mare Suebicum, named
for the Suebi tribe, during the spring months, as a brackish sea when the ice on the Baltic Sea
broke apart and chunks floated about. The Suebi eventually migrated south west to reside for a
while in the Rhineland area of modern Germany, where their name survives in the historic region
known as Swabia. The Sarmatian tribes inhabited Eastern Europe and southern Russia. Jordanes
called it the Geman c Sea in his work the Getica.

Since the Viking age, the Scandinavians have called it "the Eastern Lake" (A stma, "Eastern
Sea", appears in the Heimskringla and =ysta salt appears in Sörla þáttr), but Saxo Grammaticus
recorded in Gesta Danorum an older name Gandv k, "-v k" being Old Norse for "bay", which
implies that the Vikings correctly regarded it as an inlet of the sea. (Another form of the name,
"Grandvik", attested in at least one English translation of Gesta Danorum, is likely to be a

In addition to fish the sea also provides amber, especially from its southern shores. The
bordering countries have traditionally provided lumber, wood tar, flax, hemp, and furs. Sweden
had from early medieval times also a flourishing mining industry, especially on iron ore and
silver. Poland had and still has extensive salt mines. All this has provided for rich trading since
the Roman times.

In the early Middle Ages, Vikings of Scandinavia built their trade empire all around the Baltic.
Later, there were fights for control over the sea with Wendish tribes dwelling on the southern
shore. The Vikings also used the rivers of Russia for trade routes, finding their way eventually to
the Black Sea and southern Russia. This Viking-dominated period is also referred to as Viking

Lands next to the sea's eastern shore were among the last in Europe to be converted into
Christianity in the Northern Crusades: Finland in the twelfth century by the Swedes, and what
are now Estonia and Latvia in the early thirteenth century by the Danes and the Germans
(Livonian Brothers of the Sword). The Teutonic Knights gained control over parts of the
southern and eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, where they set up their monastic state while fighting
the Poles, the Danes, the Swedes, the Russians of ancient Novgorod, and the Lithuanians (the
last Europeans to convert to Christianity).

In the 12th century, there was intensification of Slavic piracy. Starting in the 11th century, the
southern and eastern shores of the Baltic were settled by Germans (and to a lesser extent by
Dutch, Danes and Scots) in the course of the Ostsiedlung. The Polabian Slavs were gradually
assimilated by the Germans.]9] Denmark gradually gained control over most of the Baltic coast,
until she lost much of her possessions after being defeated in the 1227 Battle of Bornhöved.

In the 13th to 17th centuries, the strongest economic force in Northern Europe became the
Hanseatic league, which used the Baltic Sea to establish trade routes between its member cities.
In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Denmark
and Sweden fought wars for Dom n m Ma s Balt c ("Ruling over the Baltic Sea"). Eventually,
it was the Swedish Empire that virtually encompassed the Baltic Sea. In Sweden the sea was then
referred to as Mae sost m Balt c m ("Our Baltic Sea").

In the eighteenth century, Russia and Prussia became the leading powers over the sea. The Great
Northern War, ending with Sweden's defeat, brought Russia to the eastern coast. Since then,
Russia was a dominating power in the Baltic. Russia's Peter the Great saw the strategic
importance of the Baltic and decided to found his new capital, Saint Petersburg at the mouth of
the Neva river at the east end of the Gulf of Finland. There was much trading not just within the
Baltic region but also with the North Sea region, especially eastern England and the Netherlands:
their fleets needed the Baltic timber, tar, flax and hemp.

During the Crimean War, a joint British and French fleet attacked the Russian fortresses by
bombarding Sveaborg, which guards Helsinki; Kronstadt, which guards Saint Petersburg; and by
destroying Bomarsund in the Åland Islands. After the unification of Germany in 1871, the whole
southern coast became German. The First World War was partly fought in the Baltic Sea. After
1920 Poland was connected to the Baltic Sea by the Polish Corridor and enlarged the port of
Gdynia in rivalry with the port of the Free City of Danzig.

During the Second World War, Germany reclaimed all of the southern shore and much of the
eastern by occupying Poland and the Baltic states. In 1945, the Baltic Sea became a mass grave
for retreating soldiers and refugees on torpedoed troop transports. The sinking of the MV
Wilhelm Gustloff remains the worst maritime disaster, killing (very roughly) 9,000 people. In
2005, a Russian group of scientists found over five thousand airplane wrecks, sunken warships,
and other material mainly from the Second World War, lying at the bottom of the sea.

Since the end of World War II, various nations, including the Soviet Union, the United
Kingdom, the United States, and Germany, have disposed of chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea,
raising concerns of environmental contamination.]10] Even now fisherman accidentally retrieve
some of these materials: the most recent available report from the Helsinki Commission notes
that four small scale catches of CW munitions representing approximately 105 kilograms
(231 lbs) of material were reported in 2005. This is a reduction from the 25 incidents
representing 1,110 kilograms (2,447 lbs) of material in 2003.]11]
After 1945, the German population was expelled from all areas east of the Oder-Neisse line,
making room for Polish and Russian settlers. Poland gained a vast stretch of the southern shore,
Russia gained another access to the Baltic with the Kaliningrad oblast. The Baltic states on the
eastern shore were occupied by the Soviet Union, Poland and East Germany became communist
states. The sea then was a border between opposing military blocks: in the case of military
conflict, in parallel with a Soviet offensive towards the Atlantic Ocean, communist Poland's fleet
was prepared to invade the Danish isles. This border status also impacted trade and travel, and
came to an end only after the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern and Central Europe
in the late 1980s.

Since May 2004, on the accession of the Baltic states and Poland, the Baltic Sea has been almost
entirely surrounded by countries of the European Union (EU). The only remaining non-EU areas
are the Russian metropolis of Saint Petersburg and the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave.

Winter storms begin arriving in the region during October. These have caused numerous
shipwrecks, such as the sinking of the ferry M/S =ston a en route from Tallinn, Estonia, to
Stockholm, Sweden, in 1994, which claimed the lives of hundreds. Older, wood-based
shipwrecks such as the Xasa tend to remain well-preserved, as the Baltic's cold and brackish
water does not suit the shipworm.

]edit] Biology
For other uses, see Baltic (disambiguation).

Phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic Proper, July 3, 2001.

Approximately 100,000 km2 (38,610 sq mi) of the Baltic's seafloor (a quarter of its total area) is
a variable dead zone. The more saline (and therefore denser) water remains on the bottom,
isolating it from surface waters and the atmosphere. This leads to decreased oxygen
concentrations within the zone. It is mainly bacteria that grow in it, digesting organic material
and releasing hydrogen sulfide. Because of this large anaerobic zone, the seafloor ecology differs
from that of the neighbouring Atlantic.

The low salinity of the Baltic sea has led to the evolution of many slightly divergent species,
such as the Baltic Sea herring, which is a smaller variant of the Atlantic herring. The benthic
fauna consists mainly of Monopoe a aff n s, which is originally a freshwater species. The lack
of tides has affected the marine species as compared with the Atlantic.
The most common fish species that can be found in the Baltic Sea are codfish, herring, hake,
plaice, flounder, sea trout, eel and turbot.

]edit] Economy
See also: Baltic Sea ferries

Pedestrian pier at Palanga, the most popular sea resort in Lithuania

Construction of the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark (completed 1997) and the Oresund Bridge-
Tunnel (completed 1999), linking Denmark with Sweden, provided a highway and railroad
connection between Sweden and the Danish mainland (the Jutland Peninsula). The undersea
tunnel of the Oresund Bridge-Tunnel provides for navigation of large ships into and out of the
Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is the main trade route for export of Russian petroleum. Many of the
countries neighboring the Baltic Sea have been concerned about this, since a major oil leak in a
seagoing tanker would be disastrous for the Baltic²given the slow exchange of water. The
tourism industry surrounding the Baltic Sea is naturally concerned about oil pollution.

Much shipbuilding is carried out in the shipyards around the Baltic Sea. The largest shipyards are
at Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Szczecin, Poland; Kiel, Germany; Karlskrona, Sweden; Malmö, Sweden;
Rauma, Turku, and Helsinki, Finland; Riga, Ventspils, and Liepāja (Latvia); Klaipėda
(Lithuania); and St. Petersburg, Russia.

There are several cargo and passenger ferries that operate on the Baltic Sea, such as Scandlines,
Silja Line, Polferries, the Viking Line, Tallink, and Superfast Ferries.

]edit] Tourism around the sea

]edit] European Route of Brick Gothic

European Route of Brick Gothic is a touristic route connecting cities with Brick Gothic
architecture in seven countries along the Baltic Sea: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland,
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

]edit] Piers
up Liepaja, Latvia
up Sopot, Poland
up Międzyzdroje, Poland
up Kołobrzeg, Poland
up Klaipeda, Lithuania

]edit] Resort towns


up winoujście, Poland
up Kamień Pomorski, Poland
up Kołobrzeg, Poland
up Pärnu, Estonia
up Jūrmala, Latvia
up Sopot, Poland
up Ueckermünde, Germany
up Ustka, Poland
up Svetlogorsk, Russia

]edit] The Helsinki convention

]edit] 1974 convention

For the first time ever, all the sources of pollution around an entire sea were made subject to a
single convention, signed in 1974 by the then seven Baltic coastal states. The 1974 Convention
entered into force on 3 May 1980.

]edit] 1992 convention

In the light of political changes and developments in international environmental and maritime
law, a new convention was signed in 1992 by all the states bordering on the Baltic Sea, and the
European Community. After ratification the Convention entered into force on 17 January 2000.
The Convention covers the whole of the Baltic Sea area, including inland waters and the water of
the sea itself, as well as the seabed. Measures are also taken in the whole catchment area of the
Baltic Sea to reduce land-based pollution. The Convention on the Protection of the Marine
Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1992, entered into force on 17 January 2000.

The governing body of the Convention is the Helsinki Commission,]12] also known as HELCOM,
or Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. The present contracting parties are
Denmark, Estonia, the European Community, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland,
Russia and Sweden.
The ratification instruments were deposited by the European Community, Germany, Latvia and
Sweden in 1994, by Estonia and Finland in 1995, by Denmark in 1996, by Lithuania in 1997 and
by Poland and Russia in November 1999.

]edit] countries
Countries that border on the sea:

up Denmark
up Estonia
up Finland
up Germany
up Latvia
up Lithuania
up Poland
up Russia
up Sweden

Countries that are in the drainage basin but do not border on the sea:

up Belarus
up Czech Republic
up Norway
up Slovakia
up Ukraine

]edit] Islands and archipelagoes

Main article: List of islands in the Baltic Sea

Skerries which are part of the Åland Islands, Finland.

up Åland Islands (Ahvenanmaa) (Finland, autonomous)

up Archipelago Sea (Finland)
mp Pargas
mp Nagu
mp Korpo
mp Houtskär
mp Kustavi
up Bornholm (Denmark)
up Gotland (Sweden)
up Hailuoto (Finland)
up Hiiumaa (Estonia)
up Kotlin (Russia)
up Muhu (Estonia)
up —land (Sweden)
up Rügen (Germany)
up Saaremaa (Estonia)
up Stockholm archipelago (Sweden)
mp Värmdön (Sweden)
up Usedom or Uznam (split between Germany and Poland)
up Kvarken archipelago, including Valassaaret/Valsörarna (Finland)
up Wolin (Poland)

]edit] cities
The biggest coastal cities (by population): Important ports (though not big cities):

up Saint Petersburg (Russia) 4,700,000 up Liepāja (Latvia) 85,000

(metropolitan area 6,000,000) up Pori (Finland) 83,000
up Stockholm (Sweden) 798,898 up Kotka (Finland) 55,000
(metropolitan area 1,927,128) up winoujście (Poland) 50,000
up Riga (Latvia) 709,000 (metropolitan area up Kołobrzeg (Poland) 46,000
842,000) up Pärnu (Estonia) 44,568
up Helsinki (Finland) 579,016 up Ventspils (Latvia) 44,000
(metropolitan area 1,303,126) up Port of Police (The Seaport on The Oder
up Copenhagen (Denmark) 502,204 River) in Police, Poland (34,319)
(metropolitan area 1,823,109) (facing the up Baltiysk (Russia) 20,000
Sound) up Maardu (Estonia) 16,570
up Gdańsk (Poland) 462,700 (metropolitan up Władysławowo (Poland) 15,000
area 1,041,000) up Darłowo (Poland) 14,000
up Szczecin (Poland) 413,600 (metropolitan up Mariehamn (Finland) 11,000
area 778,000) up Hanko (Finland) 10,000
up Tallinn (Estonia) 401,774 up Sassnitz (Germany) (ferry terminal)
up Kaliningrad (Russia) 400,000
up Malmö (Sweden) 259,579 (facing the
up Gdynia (Poland) 255,600 (metropolitan
area 1,041,000)
up Kiel (Germany) 250,000
up Espoo (Finland) 234,400 (part of
Helsinki metropolitan area)
up Lübeck (Germany) 216,100
up Rostock (Germany) 212,700
up Klaipėda (Lithuania) 194,400
up Turku (Finland) 175,000
up Oulu (Finland) 130,000
]edit] See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: þ 

Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article þ  .

up List of cities and towns around the Baltic Sea

up Baltic
up Baltic region
up Baltic states
up Council of the Baltic Sea States
up List of rivers of the Baltic Sea
up Nord Stream
up Northern Europe
up Ports of the Baltic Sea
up Scandinavia
up M/V Estonia

sorth Sea
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from North sea)

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see North Sea (disambiguation).
sorth Sea
Location Atlantic Ocean
56°N 3°E / 56°N
coordinates 03°ECoordinates:
56°N 3°E / 56°N 03°E
Forth, Ythan, Elbe,
Weser, Ems,
Primary Rhine/Waal, Meuse,
sources Scheldt, Spey, Tay,
Thames, Humber, Tees,
Wear, Tyne
Norway, Denmark,
Germany, Netherlands,
Belgium, France and the
United Kingdom
(England, Scotland)
Max length 960 km (600 mi)
Max width 580 km (360 mi)
750,000 km2
Surface area
(290,000 sq mi)
Average depth 95 m (312 ft)
Max depth 700 m (2,300 ft)
94,000 km3
Water volume
(23,000 cu mi)
Salinity 3.4 to 3.5%
17 °C (63 °F)
6 °C (43 °F)
References safety at sea and ]1]
]show]Map of all coordinates in "Geography of the sorth
Sea" from Google

Map of all coordinates in "Geography of the sorth Sea"

from Bing

The sorth Sea is a marginal, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf. The Dover Strait and
the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north connect it to the Atlantic
Ocean. It is more than 970 kilometres (600 mi) long and 580 kilometres (360 mi) wide, with an
area of around 750,000 square kilometres (290,000 sq mi). A large part of the European drainage
basin empties into the North Sea including water from the Baltic Sea.

Much of the sea's coastal features are the result of glacial movements. Deep fjords and sheer
cliffs mark the Norwegian and parts of the Scottish coastline, whereas the southern coasts consist
of sandy beaches and mudflats. These flatter areas are particularly susceptible to flooding,
especially as a result of storm tides. Elaborate systems of dikes have been constructed to protect
coastal areas.

The Romans and the Vikings extended their territory across the sea. The Hanseatic League, the
Netherlands, and finally the British sought to dominate commerce on the North Sea and through
it to access the markets and resources of the world. Commercial enterprises, growing populations
and limited resources gave the nations on the North Sea the desire to control or access it for their
own commercial, military, and colonial ends.

In recent decades, its importance has shifted from the military and geopolitical to the purely
economic. While traditional activities such as fishing and shipping have continued to grow,
newer resources such as fossil fuels and wind and wave energy have also been discovered or


up 1 Geography
mp 1.1 Major features
mp 1.2 Extent
mp 1.3 Hydrology
tp 1.3.1 Temperature and salinity
tp 1.3.2 Water circulation and tides
mp 1.4 Coasts
up 2 Coastal management
mp 2.1 Storm tides
tp 2.1.1 Tsunamis
up 3 Geology
up 4 Natural history
mp 4.1 Fish and shellfish
mp 4.2 Birds
mp 4.3 Marine mammals
mp 4.4 Flora
mp 4.5 Biodiversity and conservation
up 5 History
mp 5.1 Name
mp 5.2 Early history
mp 5.3 Age of sail
mp 5.4 Modern era
up 6 Economy
mp 6.1 Political status
mp 6.2 Oil and gas
mp 6.3 Fishing
mp 6.4 Mineral resources
mp 6.5 Renewable energy
mp 6.6 Tourism
mp 6.7 Marine traffic
up 7 See also
up 8 Notes
up 9 References
up 10 Further reading
up 11 External links

]edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of the North Sea
Eng ch

Sk=Skagerrak Ka=Kattegat
Eng Ch=English Channel

The North Sea is bounded by the Orkney Islands and east coasts of England and Scotland to the
west]2] and the northern and central European mainland to the east and south, including Norway,
Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.]3] In the southwest, beyond the
Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic
Ocean.]2]]3] In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat,]3] narrow
straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively.]2] In the north it is bordered
by the Shetland Islands, and connects with the Norwegian Sea, which lies in the very north-
eastern part of the Atlantic.]2]]4]

It is more than 970 kilometres (600 mi) long and 580 kilometres (360 mi) wide, with an area of
750,000 square kilometres (290,000 sq mi) and a volume of 94,000 cubic kilometres
(23,000 cu mi).]5] Around the edges of the North Sea are sizeable islands and archipelagos,
including Shetland, Orkney, and the Frisian Islands.]3] The North Sea receives freshwater from a
number of European continental watersheds, as well as the British Isles island watersheds. A
large part of the European drainage basin empties into the North Sea including water from the
Baltic Sea. The largest and most important affecting the North Sea are the Elbe and the Rhine -
Meuse watershed.]6] Around 184 million people live in the catchment area of the rivers that flow
into the North Sea encompassing some highly industrialized areas.]7]

]edit] Major features

For the most part, the sea lies on the European continental shelf with a mean depth of 90 metres
(300 ft).]2]]8] The only exception is the Norwegian trench which extends parallel to the
Norwegian shoreline from Oslo to an area north of Bergen.]2] It is between 20 and 30 kilometres
(12 and 19 mi) wide]2] and has a maximum depth of 725 metres (2,379 ft).]8]

The Dogger Bank, a vast moraine, or accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris, rises to a
mere 15 to 30 metres (50±100 ft) below the surface.]9]]10] This feature has produced the finest
fishing location of the North Sea.]2] The Long Forties and the Broad Fourteens are large areas
with roughly uniform depth in fathoms, (forty fathoms and fourteen fathoms or 73 and 26 m
deep respectively). These great banks and others make the North Sea particularly hazardous to
navigate,]11] which has been alleviated by the implementation of satellite navigation systems.]12]
The Devil's Hole 200 miles (320 km) east of Dundee, Scotland. The feature is a series of
asymmetrical trenches between 20 and 30 kilometres (12 and 19 mi) long, 1 and 2 kilometres
(0.62 and 1.2 mi) wide and up to 230 metres (750 ft) deep.]13]

]edit] Extent

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the North Sea as follows:]14]

On the So thwest. A line joining the Walde Lighthouse (France, 1°55'E) and Leathercoat Point
(England, 51°10'N).

On the sothwest. From Dunnet Head (3°22'W) in Scotland to Tor Ness (58°47'N) in the Island
of Hoy, thence through this island to the Kame of Hoy (58°55'N) on to Breck Ness on Mainland
(58°58'N) through this island to Costa Head (3°14'W) and to Inga Ness (59'17'N) in Westray
through Westray, to Bow Head, across to Mull Head (North point of Papa Westray) and on to
Seal Skerry (North point of North Ronaldsay) and thence to Horse Island (South point of the
Shetland Islands).

On the soth. From the North point (Fethaland Point) of the Mainland of the Shetland Islands,
across to Graveland Ness (60°39'N) in the Island of Yell, through Yell to Gloup Ness (1°04'W)
and across to Spoo Ness (60°45'N) in Unst island, through Unst to Herma Ness (60°51'N), on to
the SW point of the Rumblings and to Muckle Flugga ( 60°51ƍN 0°53ƍW / 60.85°N 0.883°W)
all these being included in the North Sea area; thence up the meridian of 0°53' West to the
parallel of 61°00' North and eastward along this parallel to the coast of Norway, the whole of
Viking Bank being thus included in the North Sea.

On the =ast. The Western limit of the Skagerrak ]A line joining Hanstholm ( 57°07ƍN 83°6ƍE /
57.117°N 83.1°E) and the Naze (Lindesnes, 58°N 7°E / 58°N 7°E)].

]edit] Hydrology

]edit] Temperature and salinity

The average temperature in summer is 17 °C (63 °F) and 6 °C (43 °F) in the winter.]5] Climate
change has been attributed to a rise in the average temperature of the North Sea.]15] Air
temperatures in January range on average between 0 to 4 °C (32 to 39 °F) and in July between 13
to 18 °C (55 to 64 °F). The winter months see frequent gales and storms.]2]

The salinity averages between 34 to 35 grams of salt per litre of water.]5] The salinity has the
highest variability where there is fresh water inflow, such as at the Rhine and Elbe estuaries, the
Baltic Sea exit and along the coast of Norway.]16]

]edit] Water circulation and tides

Ocean currents mainly entering via the north entrance exiting along Norwegian coast

The main pattern to the flow of water in the North Sea is an anti-clockwise rotation along the

The North Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean receiving the majority of ocean current from the
northwest opening, and a lesser portion of warm current from the smaller opening at the English
Channel. These tidal currents leave along the Norwegian coast.]18] Surface and deep water
currents may move in different directions. Low salinity surface coastal waters move offshore,
and deeper, denser high salinity waters move in shore.]19]

The North Sea located on the continental shelf has different waves than those in deep ocean
water. The wave speeds are diminished and the wave amplitudes are increased. In the North Sea
there are two amphidromic systems and a third incomplete amphidromic system.]20]]21] In the
North Sea the average tide difference in wave amplitude is between 0 to 8 metres (0 to 26 ft).]5]

The Kelvin tide of the Atlantic ocean is a semidiurnal wave which travels northward. Some of
the energy from this wave travels through the English Channel into the North Sea. The wave still
travels northward in the Atlantic Ocean, and once past the British Isles, the Kelvin wave turns
east and south and once again enters into the North Sea.]22]

]edit] coasts

Main article: Coastline of the North Sea

The German North Sea coast

The eastern and western coasts of the North Sea are jagged, formed by glaciers during the ice
ages. The coastlines along the southernmost part are covered with the remains of deposited
glacial sediment.]2] The Norwegian mountains plunge into the sea creating deep fjords and
archipelagos. South of Stavanger, the coast softens, the islands become fewer.]2] The eastern
Scottish coast is similar, though less severe than Norway. From north east of England, the cliffs
become lower and are composed of less resistant moraine, which erodes more easily, so that the
coasts have more rounded contours.]23]]24] In Holland, Belgium and in the east of England (East
Anglia) the littoral is low and marshy.]2] The east coast and south-east of the North Sea (Wadden
Sea) have coastlines that are mainly sandy and straight owing to longshore drift, particularly
along Belgium and Denmark.]25]

]edit] coastal management

Further information: Afsluitdijk, Delta Works, Flood control in the Netherlands, Thames
barrier, and Zuiderzee Works
The Afsluitdijk (Closure-dike) is a major dam in the Netherlands

The southern coastal areas were originally amphibious flood plains and swampy land. In areas
especially vulnerable to storm tides, people settled behind elevated levees and on natural areas of
high ground such as spits and Geestland.]26]:]302,303] As early as 500 BC, people were constructing
artificial dwelling hills higher than the prevailing flood levels.]26]:]306,308]]27] It was only around
the beginning of the High Middle Ages, in 1200 AD, that inhabitants began to connect single
ring dikes into a dike line along the entire coast, thereby turning amphibious regions between the
land and the sea into permanent solid ground.]26]

The modern form of the dikes supplemented by overflow and lateral diversion channels, began to
appear in the 17th and 18th centuries, built in the Netherlands.]28] The North Sea Floods of 1953
and 1962 were impetus for further raising of the dikes as well as the shortening of the coast line
so as to present as little surface area as possible to the punishment of the sea and the storms.]29]
Currently, 27% of the Netherlands is below sea level protected by dikes, dunes, and beach

Coastal management today consists of several levels.]31] The dike slope reduces the energy of the
incoming sea, so that the dike itself does not receive the full impact.]31] Dikes that lie directly on
the sea are especially reinforced.]31] The dikes have, over the years, been repeatedly raised,
sometimes up to 9 metres (30 ft) and have become flatter in order to better reduce the erosion of
the waves.]32]]33] Where the dunes are sufficient to protect the land behind them from the sea,
these dunes are planted with beach grass to protect them from erosion by wind, water, and foot

]edit] Storm tides

Main article: Storm tides of the North Sea

Zuid-Beveland, North Sea flood of 1953.

Storm tides threaten, in particular, the coasts of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and
Denmark and low lying areas of eastern England particularly around The Wash and Fens.]25]
Storm surges are caused by changes in barometric pressure combined with strong wind created
wave action.]35]

The first recorded storm tide flood was the 4 l anenfl t, on 17 February 1164. In its wake the
Jadebusen, (a bay on the coast of Germany), began to form. A storm tide in 1228 is recorded to
have killed more than 100,000 people.]36] In 1362, the Second Marcellus Flood, also known as
the Grote Manndränke, hit the entire southern coast of the North Sea. Chronicles of the time
again record more than 100,000 deaths as large parts of the coast were lost permanently to the
sea, including the now legendary lost city of Rungholt.]37] In the twentieth century, the North Sea
flood of 1953 flooded several nations' coasts and cost more than 2,000 lives.]38] 315 citizens of
Hamburg died in the North Sea flood of 1962.]39]:]79,86]

]edit] Tsunamis

The Storegga Slides were a series of underwater landslides, in which a piece of the Norwegian
continental shelf slid into the Norwegian Sea. The immense landslips occurred between 8150 BC
and 6000 BC, and caused a tsunami up to 20 metres (66 ft) high that swept through the North
Sea, having the greatest effect on Scotland and the Faeroe Islands.]40]]41] The Dover Straits
earthquake of 1580 is among the first recorded earthquakes in the North Sea measuring between
5.3 and 5.9 on the Richter Scale. This event caused extensive damage in Calais both through its
tremors and two tsunamis]42] The largest earthquake ever recorded in the United Kingdom was
the 1931 Dogger Bank earthquake, which measured 6.1 on the Richter Scale and caused a
tsunami that flooded parts of the British coast.]42]]43]

]edit] Geology
Main article: Geology of the North Sea
The North Sea between 34 million years ago and 28 million years ago, as Central Europe became dry land

Shallow epicontinental seas like the current North Sea have since long existed on the European
continental shelf. The rifting that formed the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean during the
Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, from about 150 million years ago, caused tectonic uplift in the
British Isles.]44] Since then, a shallow sea has almost continuously existed between the highs of
the Fennoscandian Shield and the British Isles.]45] This precursor of the current North Sea has
grown and shrunk with the rise and fall of the eustatic sea level during geologic time. Sometimes
it was connected with other shallow seas, such as the sea above the Paris Basin to the south-west,
the Paratethys Sea to the south-east, or the Tethys Ocean to the south.]46]

Map showing hypothetical extent of Doggerland (c. 8,000BC), which provided a land bridge
between Great Britain and continental Europe

During the Late Cretaceous, about 85 million years ago, all of modern mainland Europe except
for Scandinavia was a scattering of islands.]47] By the Early Oligocene, 34 to 28 million years
ago, the emergence of Western and Central Europe had almost completely separated the North
Sea from the Tethys Ocean, which gradually shrank to become the Mediterranean as Southern
Europe and South West Asia became dry land.]48] The North Sea was cut off from the English
Channel by a narrow land bridge until that was breached by at least two catastrophic floods
between 450,000 and 180,000 years ago.]49]]50] Since the start of the Quarternary period about 2.6
million years ago, the eustatic sea level has fallen during each glacial period and then risen again.
Every time the ice sheet reached its greatest extent, the North Sea became almost completely dry.
The present-day coastline formed after the Last Glacial Maximum when the sea began to flood
the European continental shelf.]51]

]edit] satural history

]edit] Fish and shellfish

Pacific oysters, blue mussels and cockles in the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands.

Copepods and other zooplankton are plentiful in the North Sea. These tiny organisms are crucial
elements of the food chain supporting many species of fish.]52] Over 230 species of fish live in
the North Sea. Cod, haddock, whiting, saithe, plaice, sole, mackerel, herring, pouting, sprat, and
sandeel are all very common and are those which are fished commercially.]52]]53] Due to the
various depths of the North Sea trenches and differences in salinity, temperature, and water
movement, some fish such as blue-mouth redfish and rabbitfish reside only in small areas of the
North Sea.]54]

Crustaceans are also commonly found throughout the sea. Norway lobster, deep-water prawns,
and brown shrimp are all commercially fished, but other species of lobster, shrimp, oyster,
mussels and clams all live in the North Sea.]52] Recently non-indigenous species have become
established including the Pacific oyster and Atlantic jackknife clam.]53]

]edit] Birds

The coasts of the North Sea are home to nature reserves including the Ythan Estuary,
Fowlsheugh Nature Preserve, and Farne Islands in the UK and The Wadden Sea National Parks
in Germany.]52] These locations provide breeding habitat for dozens of bird species. Tens of
millions of birds make use of the North Sea for breeding, feeding, or migratory stopovers every
year. Populations of Black legged Kittiwakes, Atlantic Puffins, Northern fulmars, and species of
petrels, gannets, seaducks, loons (divers), cormorants, gulls, auks, and terns, and many other
seabirds make these coasts popular for birdwatching.]52]]53]
]edit] Marine mammals

A female bottlenose dolphin with her young in Moray Firth, Scotland

The North Sea is also home to marine mammals. Common seals, and Harbour porpoises can be
found along the coasts, at marine installations, and on islands. The very northern North Sea
islands like the Shetlands are occasionally home to a larger variety of pinnipeds including
bearded, harp, hooded and ringed seals, and even walrus.]55] North Sea cetaceans include various
porpoise, dolphin and whale species.]53]]56]

]edit] Flora

Phytoplankton bloom in the North Sea.

Plant species in the North Sea include species of wrack, among them bladder wrack, knotted
wrack, and serrated wrack. Algae, macroalgal, and kelp, such as oarweed and laminaria
hyperboria, and species of maerl are found as well.]53] Eelgrass, formerly common in the entirety
of the Wadden Sea, was nearly wiped out in the 20th century by a disease.]57] Similarly, sea grass
used to coat huge tracts of ocean floor, but have been damaged by trawling and dredging have
diminished its habitat and prevented its return.]58] Invasive Japanese seaweed has spread along
the shores of the sea clogging harbours and inlets and has become a nuisance.]59]

]edit] Biodiversity and conservation

Flamingos, pelicans, and Great Auk were once found along the southern shores of the North Sea,
but went extinct over the 2nd millennium.]60] Gray whale also resided in the North Sea but were
driven to extinction in the Atlantic in the 1600s]61] Other species have seen dramatic declines in
population, though they are still to be found; right whales, sturgeon, shad, rays, skates and
salmon among other species were common in the North Sea into the 20th century, when numbers
declined due to overfishing.]62]]63] Other factors like the introduction of non-indigenous species,
industrial and agricultural pollution, trawling and dredging, human-induced eutrophication,
construction on coastal breeding and feeding grounds, sand and gravel extraction, offshore
construction, and heavy shipping traffic have also contributed to the decline.]53] The OSPAR
commission manages the OSPAR convention to counteract the harmful effects of human activity
on wildlife in the North Sea, preserve endangered species, and provide environmental
protection.]64] All North Sea border states are signatories of the MARPOL 73/78 Accords which
preserves the marine environment by preventing pollution from ships.]65] Germany, Denmark,
and the Netherlands also have a trilateral agreement for the protection of the Wadden Sea, or
mudflats, which run along the coasts of the three countries on the southern edge of the North

]edit] History
Main article: History of the North Sea

]edit] same

A 1490 recreation of a map from Ptolemy's Geogaphy showing the "Oceanus Germanicus"

Through history various names have been used for the North Sea. One of the earliest recorded
names was Septent onal s Ocean s, or "Northern Ocean" which was cited by Pliny.]67]

]edit] Early history

The North Sea has provided waterway access for commerce and conquest. Many areas have
access to the North Sea with its long coastline and European rivers which empty into it.]2] The
British Isles had been protected from invasion by the North Sea waters]2] until the Roman
conquest of Britain in 43 AD. The Romans established organised ports, shipping increased and
sustained trade began.]68] When the Romans abandoned Britain in 410 the Germanic Angles,
Saxons, and Jutes began the next great migration across the North Sea during the Migration
Period invading England.]69]
The Viking Age began in 793 with the attack on Lindisfarne and for the next quarter-millennium
the Vikings ruled the North Sea. In their superior longships, they raided, traded, and established
colonies and outposts on the Sea's coasts. From the Middle Ages through the 15th century, the
northern European coastal ports exported domestic goods, dyes, linen, salt, metal goods and
wine. The Scandinavian and Baltic areas shipped grain, fish, naval necessities, and timber. In
turn the North Sea countries imported high grade cloths, spices, and fruits from the
Mediterranean region]70] Commerce during this era was mainly undertaken by maritime trade due
to underdeveloped roadways.]70]

In the 13th century the Hanseatic League, though centred on the Baltic Sea, started to control
most of the trade through important members and outposts on the North Sea.]71] The League lost
its dominance in the 16th century, as neighbouring states took control of former Hanseatic cities
and outposts and internal conflict prevented effective cooperation and defence.]72] Furthermore,
as the League lost control of its maritime cities new trade routes emerged which provided Europe
with Asian, American, and African goods.]73]]74]

]edit] Age of sail

Painting of the Four Days Battle of 1666 by Willem van de Velde the Younger.

The 17th century Dutch Golden Age during which Dutch herring, cod and whale fisheries
reached an all time high]70] saw Dutch power at its zenith.]75]]76] Important overseas colonies, a
vast merchant marine, powerful navy and large profits made the Dutch the main challengers to
an ambitious England. This rivalry led to the first three Anglo-Dutch Wars between 1652 and
1673 which ended with Dutch victories.]76] After the Glorious Revolution the Dutch prince
William ascended to the English throne. With both countries united, commercial, military, and
political power shifted from Amsterdam to London.]77] The Great Northern War(1700±21) and
the War of the Spanish Succession (1701±1714) were fought concurrently.]78] The British did not
face a challenge to their dominance of the North Sea until the twentieth century.]79]

]edit] Modern era

German cruiser SMS Blüche sinks in the Battle of Dogger Bank on 25 January 1915.
Tensions in the North Sea were again heightened in 1904 by the Dogger Bank incident, in which
Russian naval vessels mistook British fishing boats for Japanese ships and fired on them, and
then upon each other.

During the First World War, Great Britain's Grand Fleet and Germany's Kaiserliche Marine
faced each other on the North Sea,]80] which became the main theatre of the war for surface
action.]80] Britain's larger fleet was able to establish an effective blockade for most of the war that
restricted the Central Powers' access to many crucial resources.]81] Major battles included the
Battle of Heligoland Bight,]82] the Battle of the Dogger Bank,]83] and the Battle of Jutland.]83]
World War I was also the first in which submarine warfare was used extensively and a number
of submarine actions occurred in the North Sea.]84]

The Second World War also saw action in the North Sea,]85] though it was restricted more to
aircraft reconnaissances, aircraft fighter/bombers, submarines and smaller vessels such as
minesweepers, and torpedo boats and similar vessels.]86]

In the last years of the war and the first years thereafter, hundreds of thousands of tons of
weapons were disposed of by being sunk in the North Sea.]87]

After the war, the North Sea lost much of its military significance because it is bordered only by
NATO member-states. However, it gained significant economic importance in the 1960s as the
states on the North Sea began full-scale exploitation of its oil and gas resources.]88] The North
Sea continues to be an active trade route.]89]

]edit] Economy

The Exclusive Economic Zones in the North Sea

]edit] Political status

The countries bordering the North Sea all claim the 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) of
territorial waters within which they have exclusive fishing rights.]90] The Common Fisheries
Policy of the European Union (EU) exists to coordinate fishing rights and assist with disputes
between EU states and the EU border state of Norway.]91]

After the discovery of mineral resources in the North Sea, Convention on the Continental Shelf
established country rights which are largely divided along the median line. The median line is
defined as the line "every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points of the baselines
from which the breadth of the territorial sea of each State is measured."]92] The ocean floor
border between Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark was only reapportioned after protracted
negotiations and a judgement of the International Court of Justice.]90]]93]

]edit] Oil and gas

Further information: North Sea oil and List of oil and gas fields of the North Sea

As early as 1859, oil was discovered in onshore areas around the North Sea and natural gas as
early as 1910.]47]

Oil platform Statfjord A with the flotel Polymarine

Test drilling began in 1966 and then, in 1969, Phillips Petroleum Company discovered the
Ekofisk oil field]94] distinguished by valuable, low-sulphur oil.]95] Commercial exploitation began
in 1971 with tankers and, after 1975, by a pipeline, first to Teesside, England and then, after
1977, also to Emden, Germany.]96]

The exploitation of the North Sea oil reserves began just before the 1973 oil crisis, and the climb
of international oil prices made the large investments needed for extraction much more

Although the production costs are relatively high, the quality of the oil, the political stability of
the region, and the nearness of important markets in western Europe has made the North Sea an
important oil producing region.]95] The largest single humanitarian catastrophe in the North Sea
oil industry was the destruction of the offshore oil platform Piper Alpha in 1988 in which 167
people lost their lives.]98]
Semi-submersible drilling rig in North Sea

Besides the Ekofisk oil field, the Statfjord oil field is also notable as it was the cause of the first
pipeline to span the Norwegian trench.]99] The largest natural gas field in the North Sea, Troll gas
field, lies in the Norwegian trench dropping over 300 metres (980 ft) requiring the construction
of the enormous Troll A platform to access it.

The price of Brent Crude, one of the first types of oil extracted from the North Sea, is used today
as a standard price for comparison for crude oil from the rest of the world.]100] The North Sea
contains western Europe's largest oil and natural gas reserves and is one of the world's key non-
OPEC producing regions.]101]

]edit] Fishing

Main article: Fishing in the North Sea

The North Sea is Europe's main fishery accounting for over five percent of international
commercial fish caught.]2] Fishing in the North Sea is concentrated in the southern part of the
coastal waters. The main method of fishing is trawling.]102]

A trawler in Nordstrand, Germany

In 1995, the total volume of fish and shellfish caught in the North Sea was approximately 3.5
million tonnes.]103] Besides fish, it is estimated that one million tonnes of unmarketable by-catch
is caught and discarded each year.]104]
In recent decades, overfishing has left many fisheries unproductive, disturbing marine food chain
dynamics and costing jobs in the fishing industry.]105] Herring, cod and plaice fisheries may soon
face the same plight as mackerel fishing which ceased in the 1970s due to overfishing.]106] The
objective of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy is to minimize the environmental
impact associated with resource use by reducing fish discards, increasing productivity of
fisheries, stabilising markets of fisheries and fish processing, and supplying fish at reasonable
prices for the consumer.]107]

]edit] Mineral resources

Unpolished amber stones, in varying hues

In addition to oil, gas, and fish, the states along the North Sea also take millions of cubic metres
per year of sand and gravel from the ocean floor. These are used for beach nourishment, land
reclamation and construction.]108] Rolled pieces of amber, usually small but occasionally of very
large size, may be picked up on the east coast of England.]109] It is also found at various localities
along the amber belt of the Danish, Swedish and Frisian Island shorelines.]109]:]147,151]]110]

]edit] Renewable energy

Further information: Renewable energy in the European Union

Due to the strong prevailing winds, countries on the North Sea, particularly Germany and
Denmark, have used the areas near the coast for wind power since the 1990s.]111] Other wind
farms have been commissioned, including Windpark Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ)]112] and Scroby
Sands.]113] However, the usage of offshore wind farms has met some resistance. Concerns
include shipping collisions,]114] reliability,]115] environmental effects on ocean ecology and
wildlife such as fish and migratory birds,]116]]117] and the rising costs of constructing wind
farms.]118] Nonetheless, development of North Sea wind power is continuing, with plans for
additional wind farms off the coasts of Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.]119]]120]]121] There
have also been proposals for a transnational power grid in the North Sea to connect new offshore
wind farms.]122]]123]

Energy production from tidal power is still in a pre-commercial stage. The European Marine
Energy Centre has installed a wave testing system at Billia Croo on the Orkney mainland]124] and
a tidal power testing station on the nearby island of Eday.]125] Since 2003, a prototype Wave
Dragon energy converter has been in operation at Nissum Bredning fjord of northern

]edit] Tourism

The beach in Scheveningen, Netherlands in c. 1900

The beaches and coastal waters of the North Sea are popular destinations for tourists. The
Belgian, Dutch, German and Danish coasts]127]]128] are especially developed for tourism. The
North Sea Trail is a long-distance trail linking seven countries around the North Sea.]129]
Windsurfing and sailing]130] are popular sports because of the strong winds. Mudflat hiking,]131]
recreational fishing and birdwatching]128] are among other popular activities.

The climatic conditions on the North Sea coast are often claimed to be especially healthful. As
early as the 19th century, travellers used their stays on the North Sea coast as curative and
restorative vacations. The sea air, temperature, wind, water, and sunshine are counted among the
beneficial conditions that are said to activate the body's defences, improve circulation, strengthen
the immune system, and have healing effects on the skin and the respiratory system.]132]

]edit] Marine traffic

See also: List of North Sea ports

The North Sea is important for marine traffic and its shipping lanes are among the busiest in the
world.]90] Major ports are located along its coasts: Rotterdam, the third busiest port in the world,
Antwerp and Hamburg, both in the top 25, Bremen/Bremerhaven and Felixstowe, both in the top
30 busiest container seaports,]133] as well as the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge, Europe's leading
RoRo port.]134]
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Traffic in the North Sea can be difficult in high density traffic zones so ports regulate traffic and
monitor vessels in the North Sea lanes.]135] Fishing boats, oil and gas platforms as well as
merchant traffic from Baltic ports share routes on the North Sea. The Dover Strait sees more than
400 vessels a day.]136]

The North Sea coasts are home to numerous canals and canal systems to facilitate traffic between
and among rivers, artificial harbours, and the sea. The Kiel Canal, connecting the North Sea with
the Baltic Sea, is the most heavily used artificial seaway in the world.]137] It saves an average of
250 nautical miles (460 km; 290 mi), instead of the voyage around the Jutland Peninsula.]138] The
North Sea Canal connects Amsterdam with the North Sea.]139]

Decline of the Roman Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Fall of Roman Empire)

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the historiography of the decline of the Roman Empire. For a description of
events, see Roman Empire. For the book, see The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire. For the film, see The Fall of the Roman Empire (film).

The Western and Eastern Roman Empires by 476

The decline of the Roman Empire refers to both the gradual disintegration of the economy of
Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom. The English historian Edward
Gibbon, author of The Decl ne and Fall of the Roman =mp e (1776) made this concept part of
the framework of the English language, but he was not the first to speculate on why and when
the Empire collapsed. "From the eighteenth century onward," Glen W. Bowersock has
remarked,]1] "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every
perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." It remains one of the greatest
historical questions, and has a tradition rich in scholarly interest. In 1984, German professor
Alexander Demandt published a collection of 210 theories on why Rome fell, and new theories
have emerged since then.]2]]3]

This slow decline occurred over an estimated period of 320 years which many historians believe
finally culminated on September 4, 476 when Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the
Western Roman Empire was deposed by Odoacer, a Germanic chieftain. To an extent any such
date must be arbitrary; Julius Nepos, the legitimate emperor recognized by the East Roman
Empire continued to live in Salona, Dalmatia until he was assassinated in 480. Some modern
historians question the relevance of this date,]4] as the Ostrogoths who succeeded considered
themselves as upholders of the direct line of Roman traditions, and note, as Gibbon did, that the
Eastern Roman Empire was going from strength to strength and continued until the Fall of
Constantinople on May 29, 1453. Some other notable dates are the Battle of Adrianople in 378,
the death of Theodosius I in 395 (the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the
crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes after the withdrawal of the troops in order to
defend Italy against Alaric I (such invasions had occurred many times previously but this time it
was successful), the death of Stilicho in 408, followed by the disintegration of the western army,
the Sack of Rome (410), the first time in almost 800 years that the city of Rome had fallen to a
foreign enemy, the death of Justinian I, the last Roman Emperor who tried to reconquer the west,
in 565, and the coming of Islam after 632. Many scholars maintain that rather than a "fall", the
changes can more accurately be described as a complex transformation.]5] Over time many
theories have been proposed on why the Empire fell, or whether indeed it fell at all.


up 1 Overview
up 2 Highlights
up 3 Theories of a fall, decline, transition and continuity
mp 3.1 Overexpansion & Inflation
mp 3.2 Vegetius
mp 3.3 Edward Gibbon
mp 3.4 Henri Pirenne
mp 3.5 J. B. Bury
mp 3.6 Radovan Richta
mp 3.7 Lucien Musset and the clash of civilizations
mp 3.8 Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke
mp 3.9 Michael Rostovtzeff, Ludwig von Mises, and Bruce Bartlett
mp 3.10 William H. McNeill
mp 3.11 Peter Heather
mp 3.12 Joseph Tainter
mp 3.13 Bryan Ward-Perkins
mp 3.14 Adrian Goldsworthy
mp 3.15 Environmental degradation
mp 3.16 Mining Output
mp 3.17 Late Antiquity
mp 3.18 Role of lead poisoning
up 4 Historiography
up 5 See also
up 6 Notes
up 7 References
up 8 Further reading

See also: Late Antiquity and Migration Period

Romulus Augustus was deposed as Western Roman Emperor in 476 while still young. However,
Julius Nepos continued to claim the title of Western Emperor after his deposition.

The decline of the Roman Empire is one of the events traditionally marking the end of Classical
Antiquity and the beginning of the European Middle Ages. Throughout the fifth century, the
Empire's territories in western Europe and northwestern Africa, including Italy, fell to various
invading or indigenous peoples in what is sometimes called the Migration period. Although the
eastern half still survived with borders essentially intact for several centuries (until the Arab
expansion), the Empire as a whole had initiated major cultural and political transformations since
the Crisis of the Third Century, with the shift towards a more openly autocratic and ritualized
form of government, the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, and a general rejection of
the traditions and values of Classical Antiquity. While traditional historiography emphasized this
break with Antiquity by using the term "Byzantine Empire" instead of Roman Empire, recent
schools of history offer a more nuanced view, seeing mostly continuity rather than a sharp break.
The Empire of Late Antiquity already looked very different from classical Rome.

The Roman Empire emerged from the Roman Republic when Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar
transformed it from a republic into a monarchy. Rome reached its zenith in the second century,
then fortunes slowly declined (with many revivals and restorations along the way). The reasons
for the decline of the Empire are still debated today, and likely multiple. Historians infer that the
population appears to have diminished in many provinces²especially western Europe²from the
diminishing size of fortifications built to protect the cities from barbarian incursions from the 3rd
century on. Because these fortifications were restricted to the center of the city only, some have
suggested that parts of the periphery were no longer inhabited.

By the late third century, the city of Rome no longer served as an effective capital for the
Emperor and various cities were used as new administrative capitals. Successive emperors,
starting with Constantine, privileged the eastern city of Byzantium, which he had entirely rebuilt
after a siege. Later renamed Constantinople, and protected by formidable walls in the late fourth
and early fifth centuries, it was to become the largest and most powerful city of Christian Europe
in the Early Middle Ages. Since the Crisis of the Third Century, the Empire was intermittently
ruled by more than one emperor at once (usually two), presiding over different regions. At first a
haphazard form of power sharing, this eventually settled on an East-West administrative division
between the Western Roman Empire (centered on Rome, but now usually presided from other
seats of power such as Trier, Milan, and especially Ravenna), and the Eastern Roman Empire
(with its capital initially in Nicomedia, and later Constantinople). The Latin-speaking west,
under severe demographic crisis, and the wealthier Greek-speaking east, also began to diverge
politically and culturally. Although this was a gradual process, still incomplete when Italy came
under the rule of Barbarian chieftains in the last quarter of the 5th century, it deepened further
afterward, and had lasting consequences for the medieval history of Europe.

Throughout the fifth century, western emperors were usually figureheads, while the eastern
emperors maintained more independence. For most of the time, the actual rulers in the West
were military strongmen who took the titles of mag ste m l t m, patrician, or both, such as
Stilicho and Aetius. Although Rome was no longer the capital in the West it remained the West's
largest city and its economic center. But the city was sacked by rebellious Visigoths in 410 and
by the Vandals in 455, events that shocked the contemporaries and signaled the disintegration of
Roman authority. Saint Augustine wrote The C ty of God partly as an answer to critics who
blamed the sack of Rome by the Visigoths on the abandonment of the traditional pagan religions.

In June 474, Julius Nepos became Western Emperor but in the next year the mag ste m l t m
Orestes revolted and made his son Romulus Augustus emperor. Romulus, however, was not
recognized by the Eastern Emperor Zeno and so was technically an usurper, Nepos still being the
legal Western Emperor. Nevertheless, Romulus Augustus is often known as the last Western
Roman Emperor. In 476 after being refused lands in Italy, Orestes' Germanic mercenaries, led by
the chieftain Odoacer, captured and executed Orestes and took Ravenna, the Western Roman
capital at the time, deposing Romulus Augustus. The whole of Italy was quickly conquered and
Odoacer was granted the title of patrician by Zeno effectively recognizing his rule in the name of
the Eastern Empire. Since, as a barbarian, he was not allowed the title of Emperor,]c tat on needed]
Odoacer returned the Imperial insignia to Constantinople and ruled as King in Italy. Following
Nepos' death Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths, conquered Italy with Zeno's approval.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the Western provinces were conquered by waves of Germanic
invasions, most of them being disconnected politically from the East altogether and continuing a
slow decline. Although central authority in the West had been lost, Roman culture would last in
most parts of the former Western provinces into the sixth century and beyond.

The first invasions had disrupted the West to some degree, but it was the Gothic War launched
by the Eastern Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, and meant to reunite the Empire, that
eventually caused the most damage to Italy, as well as straining the Eastern Empire militarily.
Following these wars Rome and other Italian cities would fall into severe decline (Rome itself
was almost completely abandoned). A last blow came with the Persian invasion of the East in the
seventh century, immediately followed by the Muslim conquests, especially of Egypt, which
curtailed much of the key trade in the Mediterranean on which Europe depended.

The Empire was to live on in the east for many centuries, and enjoy periods of recovery and
cultural brilliance, but its size would remain a fraction of what it had been in classical times. It
became an essentially regional power, centered on Greece and Anatolia. Modern historians tend
to prefer the term Byzantine Empire for the eastern, medieval stage of the Roman Empire.

The decline of the Roman Empire was a process lasting many centuries, there is no consensus
when this process might have begun but many dates and time lines have been proposed by

3rd century

up The Crisis of the Third Century (234 - 284), a period of political anarchy.
up The reign of emperor Diocletian (284 - 305), who attempted substantial political and
economic reforms, many of which would remain in force in the following centuries.

4th century

up The reign of Constantine I (306 - 337), who built the new eastern capital of
Constantinople, and converted to Christianity, legalizing and even favoring to some
extent this religion. All Roman emperors after Constantine, except for Julian, would be
up The first war with the Visigoths (376 - 382), culminating in the Battle of Adrianople
(August 9, 378), in which a large Roman army was defeated by the Visigoths, and
emperor Valens was killed. The Visigoths, fleeing a migration of the Huns, had been
allowed to settle within the borders of the Empire by Valens, but were mistreated by the
local Roman administrators, and rebelled.
up The reign of Theodosius I (379 - 395), last emperor to reunite under his authority the
western and eastern halves of the Empire. Theodosius continued and intensified the
policies against paganism of his predecessors, eventually outlawing it, and making
Nicaean Christianity the state religion.

5th century
up The Crossing of the Rhine: on December 31, 406 (or 405, according to some historians),
a mixed band of Vandals, Suebi and Alans crossed the frozen river Rhine at
Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), and began to ravage Gaul. Some moved on to the regions
of Hispania and Africa. The Empire would never regain control over most of these lands.
up The second war with the Visigoths, led by king Alaric, in which they raided Greece, and
then invaded Italy, culminating in the sack of Rome (410). The Visigoths eventually left
Italy, and founded the Visigothic Kingdom in southern Gaul and Hispania.
up The rise of the Hunnic Empire under Attila and Bleda (434-453), who raided the Balkans,
Gaul, and Italy, threatening both Constantinople and Rome.
up The second sack of Rome, by the Vandals (455).
up Failed counterstrikes against the Vandals (461 - 468). The western emperor Majorian
planned a naval campaign against the Vandals to reconquer northern Africa in 461, but
word of the preparations got out to the Vandals, who took the Roman fleet by surprise
and destroyed it. A second naval expedition against the Vandals, sent by emperors Leo I
and Anthemius, was defeated in 468.

Europe in 476, from M s H sto cal Atlas (1911).

up Deposition of the last western emperors, Julius Nepos and Romulus Augustus (475 -
480). Julius Nepos, who had been nominated by the eastern emperor Zeno, was deposed
by the rebelled mag ste m l t m Orestes, who installed his own son Romulus in the
imperial throne. Both Zeno and his rival Basiliscus, in the East, continued to regard Julius
Nepos, who fled to Dalmatia, as the legitimate western emperor, and Romulus as an
usurper. Shortly after, Odoacer, mag ste m l t m appointed by Julius, invaded Italy,
defeated Orestes and deposed the child emperor Romulus Augustus on September 4, 476.
Odoacer then proclaimed himself ruler of Italy and asked the eastern emperor Zeno to
become formal emperor of both empires, and in so doing legalize Odoacer's own position
as imperial viceroy of Italy. Zeno did so, setting aside the claims of Nepos, who was
murdered by his own soldiers in 480.
up Foundation of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy (493). Concerned with the success and
popularity of Odoacer, Zeno started a campaign against him, at first with words, then by
inciting the Ostrogoths to take back Italy from him. They did as much, but then founded
an independent kingdom of their own, under the rule of king Theodoric. Italy and the
entire West were lost to the Empire.

Theories of a fall, decline, transition and continuity

Overexpansion & Inflation

Many historians speculate that the rapid growth of the empire over a relatively short time and the
economic inflation that followed could have contributed substantially to the empire's decay. Due
to incredible size of the empire, it required a huge budget to maintain many key elements in its
survival such as roads (essential for communication, transportation, and the moving of armies)
and aqueducts (many of Rome's cities relied on the water that it provided). At the time the
empire was fighting enemies on all sides due to its expansion into their territories and was
already contributing huge sums of silver and gold to keep up its armies. To try to combat both
problems, the empire was forced to raise taxes frequently causing inflation to skyrocket. This in
turn caused the major economic stress that others attribute as one of the causes for Rome's


The historian Vegetius theorized, and has recently been supported by the historian Arther Ferrill,
that the Roman Empire ± particularly the military ± declined partially as a result of an influx of
Germanic mercenaries into the ranks of the legions. This "Germanization" and the resultant
cultural dilution or "barbarization", led to lethargy, complacency and loyalty to the Roman
commanders, instead of the Roman government, among the legions and a surge in decadence
amongst Roman citizenry. Ferril agrees with other Roman historians like A.H.M. Jones¶ and

...the decay of trade and industry was not a cause of Rome¶s fall. There was a decline in
agriculture and land was withdrawn from cultivation, in some cases on a very large scale,
sometimes as a direct result of barbarian invasions. However, the chief cause of the agricultural
decline was high taxation on the marginal land, driving it out of cultivation. Jones is surely right
in saying that taxation was spurred by the huge military budget and was thus µindirectly¶ the
result of the barbarian invasion.]6]

Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon famously placed the blame on a loss of civic virtue among the Roman citizens.
They gradually entrusted the role of defending the Empire to barbarian mercenaries who
eventually turned on them. Gibbon considered that Christianity had contributed to this, making
the populace less interested in the worldly hee-and-now and more willing to wait for the
rewards of heaven. "The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate
greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the
extent of conquest; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the
stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight," he wrote. "In discussing Barbarism
and Christianity I have actually been discussing the Fall of Rome."

Henri Pirenne

In the second half of the 19th century some historians focused on continuing events in the
Roman world and the post-Roman Germanic kingdoms. Fustel de Coulanges in H sto e des
nst t t ons pol t q es de lanc enne Fance (1875±1889) argued that the barbarians simply
contributed to a running process in their role of transforming Roman institutions.

Henri Pirenne continued this idea in "Pirenne Thesis", published in the 1920s, which remains
influential to this day. It holds that the Empire continued, in some form, until the time of the
Muslim conquests in the 7th century, which disrupted Mediterranean trade routes, leading to a
decline in the European economy. This theory stipulates the rise of the Frankish realm in Europe
as a continuation of the Roman Empire, and thus legitimizes the crowning of Charlemagne as the
first Holy Roman Emperor as a continuation of the Imperial Roman state.

Pirenne's view on the continuity of the Roman Empire before and after the Germanic invasion
was supported by recent historians such as François Masai, Karl-Ferdinand Werner and Peter

However, some critics maintain the "Pirenne Thesis" erred in claiming the Carolingian realm as a
Roman state, and mainly dealt with the Islamic conquests and their effect on the Byzantine or
Eastern Empire.

Other modern critics stipulate that while Pirenne is correct in his assertion of the continuation of
the Empire beyond the sack of Rome, the Arab conquests in the 7th century may not have
disrupted Mediterranean trade routes to the degree that Pirenne suggests. Michael McCormick in
particular notes that more recent sources, such as unearthed collective biographies, notate new
trade routes through correspondences in communication. Moreover, records such as book-
keepings and coins suggest the movement of Islamic currency into the Carolingian Empire.
McCormick concludes that if money is coming in, some form of trade is going out ± including
slaves, timber, weapons, honey, amber, and furs.

4. B. Bury

John Bagnell Bury's H stoy of the üate Roman =mp e gives a multi-factored theory for the
Fall of the Western Empire. He presents the classic "Christianity vs. pagan" theory, and
dismisses it, citing the relative success of the Eastern Empire, which was far more Christian.

He then examines Gibbon's "theory of moral decay," and without insulting Gibbon, finds that to
be too simplistic, though a partial answer. He essentially presents what he called the "modern"
theory, which he implicitly endorses, a combination of factors, primarily, (quoting directly from

« The Empire had come to depend on the enrollment of barbarians, in large numbers, in the
army, and « it was necessary to render the service attractive to them by the prospect of power
and wealth. This was, of course, a consequence of the decline in military spirit, and of
depopulation, in the old civilised Mediterranean countries. The Germans in high command had
been useful, but the dangers involved in the policy had been shown in the cases of Merobaudes
and Arbogastes. Yet this policy need not have led to the dismemberment of the Empire, and but
for that series of chances its western provinces would not have been converted, as and when they
were, into German kingdoms. It may be said that a German penetration of western Europe must
ultimately have come about. But even if that were certain, it might have happened in another
way, at a later time, more gradually, and with less violence. The point of the present contention
is that Rome's loss of her provinces in the fifth century was not an "inevitable effect of any of
those features which have been rightly or wrongly described as causes or consequences of her
general 'decline.'" The central fact that Rome could not dispense with the help of barbarians for
her wars (gentium barbararum auxilio indigemus) may be held to be the cause of her calamities,
but it was a weakness which might have continued to be far short of fatal but for the sequence of
contingencies pointed out above.]7]

In short, Bury held that a number of contingencies arose simultaneously: economic decline,
Germanic expansion, depopulation of Italy, dependency on Germanic foederati for the military,
the disastrous (though Bury believed unknowing) treason of Stilicho, loss of martial vigor,
Aetius' murder, the lack of any leader to replace Aetius ² a series of misfortunes which proved
catastrophic in combination.

Bury noted that Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" was amazing in its research
and detail. Bury's main differences from Gibbon lay in his interpretation of fact, rather than any
dispute of fact. He made clear that he felt that Gibbon's conclusions as to the "moral decay" were
viable ² but not complete. Bury's judgement was that:

The gradual collapse of the Roman power «was the consequence of a series of contingent
events. No general causes can be assigned that made it inevitable.

It is his theory that the decline and ultimate fall of Rome was not pre-ordained, but was brought
on by contingent events, each of them separately endurable, but together and in conjunction
ultimately destructive.

Radovan Richta

On the other hand, some historians have argued that the collapse of Rome was outside the
Romans' control. Radovan Richta holds that technology drives history. Thus, the invention of the
horseshoe in Germania in the 200s would alter the military equation of pax omana.

Lucien Musset and the clash of civilizations

In the spirit of "Pirenne thesis", a school of thought pictured a clash of civilizations between the
Roman and the Germanic world, a process taking place roughly between 3rd and 8th century.

The French historian Lucien Musset, studying the Barbarian invasions, argues the civilization of
Medieval Europe emerged from a synthesis between the Graeco-Roman world and the Germanic
civilizations penetrating the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire did not fall, did not decline, it
just transformed but so did the Germanic populations which invaded it. To support this
conclusion, beside the narrative of the events, he offers linguistic surveys of toponymy and
anthroponymy, analyzes archaeological records, studies the urban and rural society, the
institutions, the religion, the art, the technology.

Arnold 4. Toynbee and 4ames Burke

In contrast with the declining empire theories, historians such as Arnold J. Toynbee and James
Burke argue that the Roman Empire itself was a rotten system from its inception, and that the
entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in Republican times. In their
view, the Empire could never have lasted longer than it did without radical reforms that no
Emperor could implement. The Romans had no budgetary system and thus wasted whatever
resources they had available. The economy of the Empire was a Raubwirtschaft or plunder
economy based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything new. The Empire
relied on booty from conquered territories (this source of revenue ending, of course, with the end
of Roman territorial expansion) or on a pattern of tax collection that drove small-scale farmers
into destitution (and onto a dole that required even more exactions upon those who could not
escape taxation), or into dependency upon a landed élite exempt from taxation. With the
cessation of tribute from conquered territories, the full cost of their military machine had to be
borne by the citizenry.

An economy based upon slave labor precluded a middle class with buying power. The Roman
Empire produced few exportable goods. Material innovation, whether through
entrepreneurialism or technological advancement, all but ended long before the final dissolution
of the Empire. Meanwhile the costs of military defense and the pomp of Emperors continued.
Financial needs continued to increase, but the means of meeting them steadily eroded. In the end
due to economic failure, even the armor of soldiers deteriorated and the weaponry of soldiers
became so obsolete that the enemies of the Empire had better armor and weapons as well as
larger forces. The decrepit social order offered so little to its subjects that many saw the
barbarian invasion as liberation from onerous obligations to the ruling class. By the late fifth
century the barbarian conqueror Odoacer had no use for the formality of an Empire upon
deposing Romulus Augustus and chose neither to assume the title of Emperor himself nor to
select a puppet, although legally he kept the lands as a commander of the Eastern Empire and
maintained the Roman institutions such as the consulship. The formal end of the Roman Empire
corresponds with the time in which the Empire and the title Emperor no longer had value.

Michael Rostovtzeff, Ludwig von Mises, and Bruce Bartlett

Historian Michael Rostovtzeff and economist Ludwig von Mises both argued that unsound
economic policies played a key role in the impoverishment and decay of the Roman Empire.
According to them, by the 2nd century A.D., the Roman Empire had developed a complex
market economy in which trade was relatively free. Tariffs were low and laws controlling the
prices of foodstuffs and other commodities had little impact because they did not fix the prices
significantly below their market levels. After the 3rd century, however, debasement of the
currency (i.e., the minting of coins with diminishing content of gold, silver, and bronze) led to
inflation. The price control laws then resulted in prices that were significantly below their free-
market equilibrium levels.

According to Rostovtzeff and Mises, artificially low prices led to the scarcity of foodstuffs,
particularly in cities, whose inhabitants depended on trade to obtain them. Despite laws passed to
prevent migration from the cities to the countryside, urban areas gradually became depopulated
and many Roman citizens abandoned their specialized trades to practice subsistence agriculture.
This, coupled with increasingly oppressive and arbitrary taxation, led to a severe net decrease in
trade, technical innovation, and the overall wealth of the empire.]8]

Bruce Bartlett traces the beginning of debasement to the reign of Nero. By the third century the
monetary economy had collapsed. Bartlett sees the result as a form of state socialism. Monetary
taxation was replaced with direct requisitioning, for example taking food and cattle from
farmers. Individuals were forced to work at their given place of employment and remain in the
same occupation. Farmers became tied to the land, as were their children, and similar demands
were made on all other workers, producers, and artisans as well. Workers were organized into
guilds and businesses into corporations called collegia. Both became de facto organs of the state,
controlling and directing their members to work and produce for the state. In the countryside
people attached themselves to the estates of the wealthy to gain some protection from state
officials and tax collectors. These estates, the beginning of feudalism, mostly operated as closed
systems, providing for all their own needs and not engaging in trade at all.]9]

However, this fails to take into question why the Eastern Half, subject to the same government
interference, did not fall in the 5th century.

William H. Mcseill

William H. McNeill (b.1917), a world historian, noted in chapter three of his book Plag es and
Peoples (1976) that the Roman Empire suffered the severe and protracted Antonine Plague
starting around 165 A.D. For about twenty years, waves of one or more diseases, possibly the
first epidemics of smallpox and/or measles, swept through the Empire, ultimately killing about
half the population. Similar epidemics also occurred in the third century. McNeill argues that the
severe fall in population left the state apparatus and army too large for the population to support,
leading to further economic and social decline that eventually killed the Western Empire. The
Eastern half survived due to its larger population, which even after the plagues was sufficient for
an effective state apparatus.

This theory can also be extended to the time after the fall of the Western Empire and to other
parts of the world. Similar epidemics caused by new diseases may have weakened the Chinese
Han empire and contributed to its collapse. This was followed by the long and chaotic episode
known as the Six Dynasties period. Later, the Plague of Justinian may have been the first
instance of bubonic plague. It, and subsequent recurrences, may have been so devastating that
they helped the Arab conquest of most of the Eastern Empire and the whole of the Sassanid
Empire. Archaeological evidence is showing that Europe continued to have a steady downward
trend in population starting as early as the 2nd century and continuing through the 7th century.
The European recovery may have started only when the population, through natural selection,
had gained some resistance to the new diseases. See also Medieval demography.

Peter Heather

Peter Heather, in his The Fall of the Roman =mp e (2005), maintains the Roman imperial
system with its sometimes violent imperial transitions and problematic communications
notwithstanding, was in fairly good shape during the first, second, and part of the third centuries
A.D. According to Heather, the first real indication of trouble was the emergence in Iran of the
Sassanid Persian empire (226±651). Heather says:

The Sassanids were sufficiently powerful and internally cohesive to push back Roman legions
from the Euphrates and from much of Armenia and southeast Turkey. Much as modern readers
tend to think of the "Huns" as the nemesis of the Roman Empire, for the entire period under
discussion it was the Persians who held the attention and concern of Rome and Constantinople.
Indeed, 20±25% of the military might of the Roman Army was addressing the Persian threat
from the late third century onward « and upwards of 40% of the troops under the Eastern

Heather goes on to state ² and he is confirmed by Gibbon and Bury ² that it took the Roman
Empire about half a century to cope with the Sassanid threat, which it did by stripping the
western provincial towns and cities of their regional taxation income. The resulting expansion of
military forces in the Middle East was finally successful in stabilizing the frontiers with the
Sassanids, but the reduction of real income in the provinces of the Empire led to two trends
which, Heather says, had a negative long term impact. First, the incentive for local officials to
spend their time and money in the development of local infrastructure disappeared. Public
buildings from the 4th century onward tended to be much more modest and funded from central
budgets, as the regional taxes had dried up. Second, Heather says "the landowning provincial
literati now shifted their attention to where the money was « away from provincial and local
politics to the imperial bureaucracies." Having set the scene of an Empire stretched militarily by
the Sassanid threat, Heather then suggests, using archaeological evidence, that the Germanic
tribes on the Empire's northern border had altered in nature since the 1st century. Contact with
the Empire had increased their material wealth, and that in turn had led to disparities of wealth
sufficient to create a ruling class capable of maintaining control over far larger groupings than
had previously been possible. Essentially they had become significantly more formidable foes.

Heather then posits what amounts to a domino theory ² namely that pressure on peoples very
far away from the Empire could result in sufficient pressure on peoples on the Empire's borders
to make them contemplate the risk of full scale immigration to the empire. Thus he links the
Gothic invasion of 376 directly to Hunnic movements around the Black Sea in the decade before.
In the same way he sees the invasions across the Rhine in 406 as a direct consequence of further
Hunnic incursions in Germania; as such he sees the Huns as deeply significant in the fall of the
Western Empire long before they themselves became a military threat to the Empire. He
postulates that the Hunnic expansion caused unprecedented immigration in 376 and 406 by
barbarian groupings who had become significantly more politically and militarily capable than in
previous eras. This impacted an empire already at maximum stretch due to the Sassanid pressure.
Essentially he argues that the external pressures of 376±470 could have brought the Western
Empire down at any point in its history.

He disputes Gibbon's contention that Christianity and moral decay led to the decline. He also
rejects the political infighting of the Empire as a reason, considering it was a systemic recurring
factor throughout the Empire's history which, while it might have contributed to an inability to
respond to the circumstances of the 5th century, it consequently cannot be blamed for them.
Instead he places its origin squarely on outside military factors, starting with the Great Sassanids.
Like Bury, he does not believe the fall was inevitable, but rather a series of events which came
together to shatter the Empire. He differs from Bury, however, in placing the onset of those
events far earlier in the Empire's timeline, with the Sassanid rise.

4oseph Tainter

In his 1988 book "The Collapse of Complex Societies" Tainter presents the view that for given
technological levels there are implicit declining returns to complexity, in which systems deplete
their resource base beyond levels that are ultimately sustainable. Tainter argues that societies
become more complex as they try to solve problems. Social complexity can include
differentiated social and economic roles, reliance on symbolic and abstract communication, and
the existence of a class of information producers and analysts who are not involved in primary
resource production. Such complexity requires a substantial "energy" subsidy (meaning
resources, or other forms of wealth). When a society confronts a "problem," such as a shortage of
or difficulty in gaining access to energy, it tends to create new layers of bureaucracy,
infrastructure, or social class to address the challenge.

For example, as Roman agricultural output slowly declined and population increased, per-capita
energy availability dropped. The Romans solved this problem in the short term by conquering
their neighbours to appropriate their energy surpluses (metals, grain, slaves, etc). However, this
solution merely exacerbated the issue over the long term; as the Empire grew, the cost of
maintaining communications, garrisons, civil government, etc., increased. Eventually, this cost
grew so great that any new challenges such as invasions and crop failures could not be solved by
the acquisition of more territory. At that point, the empire fragmented into smaller units.

We often assume that the collapse of the Roman Empire was a catastrophe for everyone
involved. Tainter points out that it can be seen as a very rational preference of individuals at the
time, many of whom were better off (all but the elite, presumably.)]c tat on needed] Archeological
evidence from human bones indicates that average nutrition improved after the collapse in many
parts of the former Roman Empire. Average individuals may have benefited because they no
longer had to invest in the burdensome complexity of empire.
In Tainter's view, while invasions, crop failures, disease or environmental degradation may be
the appaent causes of societal collapse, the ultimate cause is d m n sh ng et ns on nvestments
n soc al complex ty.]11]

Bryan Ward-Perkins

Bryan Ward-Perkins's The Fall of Rome and the =nd of C v l zat on (2005) takes a traditional
view tempered by modern discoveries, arguing that the empire's demise was caused by a vicious
circle of political instability, foreign invasion, and reduced tax revenue. Essentially, invasions
caused long-term damage to the provincial tax base, which lessened the Empire's medium- to
long-term ability to pay and equip the legions, with predictable results. Likewise, constant
invasions encouraged provincial rebellion as self-help, further depleting Imperial resources.
Contrary to the trend among some historians of the "there was no fall" school, who view the fall
of Rome as not necessarily a "bad thing" for the people involved, Ward-Perkins argues that in
many parts of the former Empire the archaeological record indicates that the collapse was truly a

Ward-Perkins' theory, much like Bury's, and Heather's, identifies a series of cyclic events that
came together to cause a definite decline and fall.

Adrian Goldsworthy

In The Complete Roman Amy (2003) Adrian Goldsworthy, a British military historian, sees the
causes of the collapse of the Roman Empire not in any 'decadence' in the make-up of the Roman
legions, but in a combination of endless civil wars between factions of the Roman Army fighting
for control of the Empire. This inevitably weakened the army and the society upon which it
depended, making it less able to defend itself against the growing of numbers of Rome's
enemies. The army still remained a superior fighting instrument to its opponents, both civilized
and barbarian; this is shown in the victories over Germanic tribes at the Battle of Strasbourg
(357) and in its ability to hold the line against the Sassanid Persians throughout the 4th century.
But, says Goldsworthy, "Weakening central authority, social and economic problems and, most
of all, the continuing grind of civil wars eroded the political capacity to maintain the army at this

Environmental degradation

Further information: Deforestation during the Roman period

Another theory is that gradual environmental degradation caused population and economic
decline. Deforestation and excessive grazing led to erosion of meadows and cropland. Increased
irrigation caused salinization. These human activities resulted in fertile land becoming
nonproductive and eventually increased desertification in some regions. Many animal species
become extinct.]13] This theory was explored by Jared M. Diamond in Collapse: How Soc et es
Choose to Fa l o S cceed. Also, high taxes and heavy slavery are another reason for decline as
they forced small farmers out of business and into the cities, which became overpopulated.
Roman cities were only designed to hold a certain amount of people, and once they passed that,
disease, water shortage and food shortage became common.

Mining Output

Output from the silver mine at Rio Tinto peaked in 79,]14] corresponding to the beginning of the
era of coin debasement and inflation and over-taxation. The Roman Emperor debased the
coinage because Roman mines had peaked and output was declining. The thesis is that mines of
all commodities were being depleted, including gold, silver, iron and so forth. This led to the
decline of Roman technological and economic sophistication.

Late Antiquity

Historians of Late Antiquity, a field pioneered by Peter Brown, have turned away from the idea
that the Roman Empire fell refocusing on Pirenne's thesis. They see a transformation occurring
over centuries, with the roots of Medieval culture contained in Roman culture and focus on the
continuities between the classical and Medieval worlds. Thus, it was a gradual process with no
clear break. Brown argues in his book that,

Factors we would regard as natural in a 'crisis' - mala se caused by urbanization, public disasters,
the intrusion of alien religious ideas, and a consequent heightening of religious hopes and fears--
may not have bulked as large in the minds of the men of the late second and third centuries as we
suppose... The towns of the Mediterranean were small towns. For all their isolation from the way
of life of the villagers, they were fragile excresences in a spreading countryside."]15]

Role of lead poisoning

See also: Lead poisoning

The ancient Romans, who had few sweeteners besides honey, would boil must in lead pots to
produce a reduced sugar syrup called def t m, concentrated again into sapa. This syrup was
used to sweeten wine and food.]16] This boiling of acidic must within lead vessels yields a sweet
syrup containing Pb(C2H3O2)2 or lead(II) acetate.]16] Lead was also leached from the glazes on
amphora and from pewter drinking vessels.]17]

The main culinary use of defrutum was to sweeten wine, but it was also added to fruit and meat
dishes as a sweetening and souring agent and even given to food animals such as suckling pig
and duck to improve the taste of their flesh. Defrutum was mixed with garum to make the
popular condiment oenogarum and as such was one of Rome's most popular condiments. Quince
and melon were preserved in defrutum and honey through the winter, and some Roman women
used defrutum or sapa as a cosmetic. Defrutum was often used as a food preservative in
provisions for Roman troops.]18]

The following table shows estimated consumption of lead by various classes within the Roman
Lead level in Daily Absorption
Population Source Lead absorbed
source intake factor
Air 0.05 g/m3 20 m3 0.4 0.4 g/day
Water 50 (50-200) g/l 1.0 liter 0.1 5 (5-20) g/day
180 (120-900)
Wines 300 (200-1500) 2.0 liters 0.3
Foods 0.2 (0.1-2.0) g/g 3 kg 0.1 60 (30-600) g/day
Other/Misc. 5.0 g/day
250 (160-1250)
Less food, same wine consumption. 35 (35-320) g/day
Still less food, more water, 0.75 liters wine 15 (15-77) g/day

Lead is not removed quickly from the body. It tends to form lead phosphate complexes within
bone.]20] This is detectable in preserved bone.]21] Chemical analysis of preserved skeletons found
in Herculaneum by Dr. Sara C. Bisel from the University of Minnesota indicated they contained
lead in concentrations of 84 parts per million (ppm).]21] Compared to skeletons found in a Greek
cave, which had lead concentrations of 3ppm and compared to modern Americans and Britons,
which have concentrations between 20-50ppm, this is considered high.]21]

There is still great controversy regarding the role and importance of lead poisoning in
contributing to the fall of the Roman Empire. Some historians still cite other factors as being
more significant than lead poisoning.]16]

Historiographically, the primary issue historians have looked at when analyzing any theory is the
continued existence of the Eastern Empire or Byzantine Empire, which lasted almost a thousand
years after the fall of the West. For example, Gibbon implicates Christianity in the fall of the
Western Empire, yet the eastern half of the Empire, which was even more Christian than the west
in geographic extent, fervor, penetration and sheer numbers continued on for a thousand years
afterwards (although Gibbon did not consider the Eastern Empire to be much of a success). As
another example, environmental or weather changes affected the east as much as the west, yet
the east did not "fall."

Theories will sometimes reflect the particular concerns that historians might have on cultural,
political, or economic trends in their own times. Gibbon's criticism of Christianity reflects the
values of the Enlightenment; his ideas on the decline in martial vigor could have been interpreted
by some as a warning to the growing British Empire. In the 19th century socialist and anti-
socialist theorists tended to blame decadence and other political problems. More recently,
environmental concerns have become popular, with deforestation and soil erosion proposed as
major factors, and destabilizing population decreases due to epidemics such as early cases of
bubonic plague and malaria also cited. Global climate changes of 535-536 caused by the possible
eruption of Krakatoa in 535, as mentioned by David Keys and others,]22] is another example.
Ideas about transformation with no distinct fall mirror the rise of the postmodern tradition, which
rejects periodization concepts (see metanarrative). What is not new are attempts to diagnose
Rome's particular problems, with Satire X, written by Juvenal in the early 2nd century at the
height of Roman power, criticizing the peoples' obsession with "bread and circuses" and rulers
seeking only to gratify these obsessions.

One of the primary reasons for the sheer number of theories is the notable lack of surviving
evidence from the 4th and 5th centuries. For example there are so few records of an economic
nature it is difficult to arrive at even a generalization of the economic conditions. Thus,
historians must quickly depart from available evidence and comment based on how things ought
to have worked, or based on evidence from previous and later periods, on inductive reasoning.
As in any field where available evidence is sparse, the historian's ability to imagine the 4th and
5th centuries will play as important a part in shaping our understanding as the available evidence,
and thus be open for endless interpretation.

The end of the Western Roman Empire traditionally has been seen by historians to mark the end
of the Ancient Era and beginning of the Middle Ages. More recent schools of history, such as
Late Antiquity, offer a more nuanced view from the traditional historical narrative.

Migration period
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Völkerwanderung)

Jump to: navigation, search
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please
improve this article if you can. (May 2009)
This article is about European migrations in the early part of the first millennium CE. For
prehistoric migrations, see Human migration. For the 2003 Canadian film, see The Barbarian
2nd to 5th century simplified migrations. See also map of the world in 820 A.D..

The Migration period, also called the Barbarian Invasions or German: X  

(wandering of the peoples), was a period of human migration that occurred roughly between the
years 300 to 700 CE in Europe,]1] marking the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle
Ages. These movements were catalyzed by profound changes within both the Roman Empire and
the so-called 'barbarian frontier'. Migrating peoples during this period included the Goths,
Vandals, Bulgars, Alans, Suebi, Frisians, and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes.

Migrations of peoples, although not strictly part of the 'Migration Age', continued beyond 1000
CE, marked by Viking, Magyar, Moorish, Turkic and Mongol invasions, and these also had
significant effects, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.


up 1 Chronology
up 2 Timeline
up 3 Postmodernist discourse
mp 3.1 Barbarian identity
mp 3.2 "Invasion" versus "migration"
mp 3.3 Ethnicity
up 4 See also
up 5 Notes
up 6 References

]edit] chronology
The migration movement may be divided into two phases: the first phase, between 300 and 500
A.D., largely seen from the Mediterranean perspective of Greek and Latin historians,]2] with the
aid of some archaeology, put Germanic peoples in control of most areas of the former Western
Roman Empire (See also: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Alans, Langobards, Angles,
Saxons, Jutes, Suebi, Alamanni, Vandals). The first to formally enter Roman territory ² as
refugees from the Huns ² were the Visigoths in 376. Tolerated by the Romans on condition that
they defend the Danube frontier, they rebelled, eventually invading Italy and sacking Rome itself
in 410, before settling in Iberia and founding a kingdom there that endured 300 years. They were
followed into Roman territory by the Ostrogoths led by Theodoric the Great, who settled in Italy

In Gaul, the Franks, a fusion of western Germanic tribes whose leaders had been strongly aligned
with Rome, entered Roman lands more gradually and peacefully during the 5th century, and
were generally accepted as rulers by the Roman-Gaulish population. Fending off challenges from
the Allemanni, Burgundians and Visigoths, the Frankish kingdom became the nucleus of the
future states of France and Germany. Meanwhile, Roman Britain was more slowly invaded and
settled by Angles and Saxons.

The second phase, between 500 and 700 AD, saw Slavic tribes settling in Central and Eastern
Europe, particularly in eastern Magna Germania, and gradually making it predominantly Slavic.
The Bulgars, a now-Slavicized people possibly of Turkic origin who had been present in far
Eastern Europe since the 2nd century, conquered the eastern Balkan territory of the Byzantine
Empire in the 7th century. The Lombards, a Germanic people, settled northern Italy in the region
now known as Lombardy.

During the early Byzantine±Arab Wars, the Arab armies attempted to invade Southeastern
Europe via Asia Minor in the second half of the 7th century and the early 8th century, but were
eventually defeated at the siege of Constantinople by the joint forces of Byzantium and the
Bulgars in 717±718. During the Khazar±Arab Wars, the Khazars stopped the Arab expansion
into Eastern Europe across the Caucasus. At the same time, the Moors (consisting of Arabs and
Berbers) invaded Europe via Gibraltar, conquering Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) from the
Visigothic Kingdom in 711, before being halted by the Franks at the Battle of Tours in 732.
These battles largely fixed the frontier between Christendom and Islam for the next three
centuries. During this time, however, the Muslims were successful in conquering Sicily and parts
of southern Italy from the Christians, although never consolidating it.

During the 8th to 10th centuries, not usually counted as part of the Migration Period but still
within the Early Middle Ages, new waves of migration, first of the Magyars and later of the
Turkic peoples, as well as Viking expansion from Scandinavia, threatened the newly established
order of the Frankish Empire in Central Europe.

]edit] Timeline
]edit] Postmodernist discourse
]edit] Barbarian identity

The analysis of barbarian identity and how it was created and expressed during the Migration
Age has elicited deep discussion among scholars. The so-called P mod al st c]3] paradigm
enjoyed prominence during the 19th century. Scholars subscribing to this mode of thinking, such
as the German linguist Johann Gottfried Herder, viewed tribes to have been reasonably coherent
biological (that is racial) entities. Herder employed the term Xolk to refer to discrete ethnic
groups]4]. He believed that Volk were an organic whole with a core identity and unique spirit
which was expressed in art, literature and language. These were seen to be intrinsic
characteristics which were timeless and remained unaffected by external influences, even
conquest]5]. Language in particular was perceived to be the most important expression of
ethnicity. They argued that groups sharing the same, or similar, language possessed a common
identity and ancestry]6]. The Romantic ideal that there had once been a single German, Celtic or
Slavic people who originated from a common homeland and once spoke a common tongue
helped provide a conceptual framework for the political movements of the 18th and 19th
centuries (such as German nationalism and Pan-Slavism)]5].

Beginning in the 1960s, a reinterpretation of archaeological and historic evidence prompted

many scholars to propose new models for explaining the construction of barbarian identity.
Scholars such as Goffart and Todd argue that no sense of shared identity was perceived by the
various Geman ]7]]8]]9]. A similar reasoning has been proposed for Celtic and Slavic groups]10].
The argument is that the primordialist mode of thinking was encouraged by a prima facie
interpretation of Graeco-Roman sources which grouped together many tribes under such labels
as Geman , elto or Sclaveno , perceiving them to represent distinct peoples. Instead,
moden sts argue that that the uniqueness perceived by specific groups was primarily based on
common political and economic interests rather than biological or racial distinctions. Even the
role of language in constructing and maintaining group identity was ephemeral, given that large-
scale language shifts have been common in history]11]. Essentially, they adhere to the idea of
"imagined communities"; that the barbarian polities in Late Antiquity should be viewed as social
constructs, rather than timeless and changeless lines of blood kin]12]. The process of forming
tribal units was termed ethnogenes s, a term coined by Soviet scholar Julian Bromley]13]. The so-
called "Austrian school", led by Reinhard Wenskus, popularized this idea which influenced
numerous current medievalists such as Herwig Wolfram, Walter Pohl and Patrick Geary]14]. They
argue that the stimulus for forming tribal polities was perpetuated by a small nucleus of people,
called the Tad t onsken (µkernel of tradition¶) who were a military or aristocratic elite. This
core group formed a standard to set up much larger units, gathering adherents by employing
amalgamative metaphors such as kinship and aboriginal commonality, and claiming that they
perpetuated an ancient, divinely sanctioned lineage]15]. Any capable soldier would be able to
partake in group identity without the requirement of being born into the "tribe". A victorious
campaign confirmed ]the leaders'] right to rule and drew ]to] them an ever-growing people who
accepted and shared in their identity´]15]. In time, these heterogeneous armies grew into a new
people and could even come to possess "a strong belief in a common biological origin"]16].
Halsall argues that no objectively definable criterion can be consistently used to distinguish
ethnic groups from one another, whether it is language, social customs, geographic habitation,
religion or even common origin. "The only common factor in defining ethnicity is belief: in the
reality of your group and the difference to others".]17]

Walter Pohl highlights the dynamic nature of acquiring group identity. He proposes that,
especially during the Migration Age, people could live in circumstances of 'ethnic ambiguity'.
Given that ethnicity was particularly important for the upper classes, they could flexibly adopt
even multiple ethnicities to secure the allegiances of their partners and followers, a phenomenon
referred to as 'situational ethnicity' by instrumentalists.]17] To advance socially, one needed to
"grow into a dominating group with high prestige, to copy its lifestyle"]18]. The process of
assimilation could produce "a wide variety of transitional stages"]19]. Followers could also just as
easily disband from larger units. Often, internal factions arose to challenge for the right to lead
the people and uphold its traditions. At the same time, defeat by an external power could not
only spell the end of a ruler, but also his people, who would be absorbed into another, more
victorious confederacy.]20] Seen in this light, µethnic¶ identity among barbarians was
extraordinarily fluid, as new groups emerged and old ones disappeared".

Peter Heather suggests that constructionism and modernism represent two extremes in a
spectrum of possibilities. The process of assimilation and appropriation of new group identity
varied from group to group. He alludes to literary sources, which describe two contrasting
models of interaction: the Sclavenes were ready, after a given period, to accept prisoners as full
and free members of their tribal groupings; on the other hand the H ns, although politically
incorporating non-Hun groups, kept them separate and subordinate. Rather than being mere
aristocratic kernels, he argues that the identity of tribal groups was maintained by a large
contingent of 'notables' and freemen. He clarifies that, whilst groups like the Goths were multi-
ethnic, full assimilation was not the rule]21]. He proposes that conquered groups held a
subordinate status, either as otherwise autonomous tribute-payers, or as 'disadvantaged' strata
within mixed settlements. Even when a homogeneous material culture arose, disparate groups
were likely to preserve their unique identity and language]22].

Whatever the case, this process of building larger-scaled group identity was particularly evident
along the Roman frontier, prompted by the example of Roman provincial life, and the threat of
Roman attack]23]. Ethnicity was probably a complex, subjective and multi-layered process. The
Migration Period saw numerous groups rise and fall. Great confederations like the H ns or
Xandals arose only to vanish suddenly within a few generations. Other, previously obscure
groups like the Angles or the Fanks succeeded in creating enduring polities. Even ancient
groups, like the Goths, who existed from late Antiquity until the Middle Ages, underwent
profound transformation. Given constant migrations, changing allegiances, and new cultural
appropriations, all that remained constant was the Gothic name]24]. As Thomas Noble states,
"tribes are no longer imagined to have been "marching for centuries at a time in ordered ranks
with homogeneous ethnic compositions" from a distant but well-localized 'homeland', across
much of Europe, and into a settlement on Roman soil. "The common, track-filled map of the
Xölkewande ng may illustrate such ]a] course of events, but it misleads. Unfolded over long
periods of time, the changes of position that took place were necessarily irregular... (with)
periods of emphatic discontinuity. For decades and possibly centuries, the tradition bearers idled,
and the tradition itself hibernated. There was ample time for forgetfulness to do its work"]25].

]edit] "Invasion" versus "migration"

Several explanations are given for the appearance of barbarians on the frontier, including
population pressures, a µprimeval urge¶ to push into the Mediterranean, or the so-called µdomino
effect, whereby the Huns µfell upon¶ the Goths, who in turn pushed other Germanic tribes in
front of them. Entire barbarian tribes, or even µnations¶, were seen to have flooded into Roman
provinces, ending classical urbanism and beginning new types of rural settlements]26]. French and
Italian scholars viewed this as a catastrophic event; the destruction of an entire civilization and
the beginning of a "Dark Age" which set Europe back one thousand years. In contrast, German
and English historians saw it as the replacement of a "tired, effete and decadent Mediterranean
civilization" with a "more virile, martial, Nordic one."]27] Rather than the term "invasion,"
German and Slavic scholars use the term "migration" (Xölkewande ng in German, Stěhování
náodů in Czech, etc.), aspiring to the idea of a dynamic and wandering Indo-Germanic

Guy Halsall argues that the barbarian movements were the result of the fall of the Roman
Empire, and not its cause. Archaeological finds confirm that Germanic and Slavic tribes were
settled agriculturalists]29] that were merely µdrawn into the politics of an empire already falling
apart for quite other causes´. The µthird century crisis¶ caused significant changes within the
Roman Empire, both in the west and eastern parts]30]. In particular, economic fragmentation
removed many of the political, cultural and economic forces that initially bound the Empire
together]31]. The rural population in Roman provinces were distant from the emperor, and there
was little to differentiate them from other peasants across the Roman frontier. In addition, Rome
increasingly used foreign mercenaries to defend itself. This 'barbarisation' of the Empire was
paralleled by changes within aa c m. The Roman Empire had played a vital part in the
building up of barbarian groups along the frontier. Propped up by imperial support and gifts, the
armies of allied chieftains served as important 'buffers' against more hostile barbarian groups.
The disintegration of Roman economic power weakened groups formerly dependent on Roman
gifts for maintenance of their power. Combined with the arrival of the Huns, this prompted many
groups to invade the provinces and seek new fortunes]32].

This barbarian takeover of former Roman provinces varied from province to province. For
example, in Aquitaine, the provincial administration was largely self-reliant. Halsall argues that
local rulers simply 'handed over' military rule to the Ostrogoths, and in the process acquired the
identity of the newcomers]33]. In Gaul, collapse of imperial rule resulted in anarchy, and the
Franks and Alemanni were pulled into the ensuing µpower vacuum"]34], resulting in dramatic
conflicts. In iberian peninsula, local aristocrats maintained independent rule for some time, and
even raised their own armies against the Vandals. Meanwhile, the Roman withdrawal from
lowland England resulted in conflict between Saxons, who might have been invited as Roman
allies, and the Brythonic chieftains whose power retreated westward. The Eastern Empire
attempted to maintain control of the Balkan provinces despite a thinly spread imperial army with
local militias and the undertaking of an extensive re-fortification program of the Danubian l mes.
However, this grandiose program of fortifications collapsed and worsened the impoverished
conditions of the local populace, resulting in permanent colonization by Slavic warriors and their

Halsall and Noble both argue that the changes which took place were the result of the breakdown
in Roman political control which exposed the weakness of Roman rule at the local level. Rather
than large-scale migrations, there were military takeovers by small groups of warriors and their
families, who usually numbered in the tens of thousands. This process often involved active,
conscious decisions taken by Roman provincial populations. Collapse of centralized control
severely weakened the sense of Roman identity in the provinces. This would explain the
dramatic culture changes seen without huge numbers of barbarian migrants]36]. Ultimately, the
Germanic groups in the western Empire were accommodated without 'dispossessing or
overturning indigenous society' and maintained a structured and hierarchical (albeit degenerate)
form of Roman administration]37]. Paradoxically, they lost their unique identity as they were
absorbed into Latinhood. This contrasted with the situation in the east, whereby Slavic tribes
maintained a more "spartan and egalitarian"]38] existence bound to the land, "even in times when
they took their part in plundering Roman provinces"]39]. Their organization was not based on
Roman models, and their leaders were not normally dependent on Roman gold for success. Thus,
their effect was far more thorough than anything that the Goths, Franks or Saxons ever

]edit] Ethnicity

Based on the belief that artifacts carry an ethnic ascription, the 'Culture-History' school of
archaeologists assumed that archaeological cultures represent the ¢he mat (the 'homeland') of
tribal polities named in historical sources]cla f cat on needed]]41]. Following on, the shifting extensions
of material cultures were therefore interpreted as the expansion of peoples.]42] Influenced by
constructionism, processual archaeologists rejected the Culture-Historical doctrine]43]. In fact
they marginalized the discussion of ethnicity altogether, and focused on the intra-group
dynamics that generated such material remains. Moreover they argued that adoption of new
cultures could occur through trade in or internal political developments rather than 'military

Today, scholars take a more moderate position. While recognizing that artifacts do not possess
an inherent 'ethnic ascription', some artifacts may have been used as 'emblems in identity and
alterity ± of belonging and exclusions']44]. Peter Heather suggests that although shifts in culture
should not solely rely on migratory explanations, there is no reason to a p o rule them out,
especially if there is evidence to support it from literary sources]45]. In this regard, profound
changes in culture (and language) could occur through the influx of a ruling elite with minimal or
no impact on overall population composition]46], especially if it occurs at a time when the
indigenous population is receptive to such changes.


Christian groups were first organized loosely. In Paul's time, there were no precisely delineated
functions for bishops, elders, and deacons.]4] A Church hierarchy, however, seems to have
developed by the early second century]4] (see Pastoral Epistles, c 90 - 140]4]). These structures
were certainly formalized well before the end of the Early Christian period, which concluded
with the legalization of Christianity by Constantine's Edict of Milan in 313 and the holding of the
First Council of Nicea in 325, when the title of Metropolitan bishop first appears.

Some first-century Christian writings include reference to overseers ("bishops") and deacons,
though these may have been informal leadership roles rather than formal positions. The Didache
(dated by most scholars to the early second century),]24]) speaks of "appointing for yourself
bishops and deacons" and also speaks about teachers and prophets and false prophets. Bishops
were defined as spiritual authorities over geographical areas.

By the end of the early Christian period, the church of the Roman Empire had hundreds of
bishops, some of them (those of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch "and the other provinces") holding
some form of jurisdiction over others.]25]
Jerusalem was the first church and an important church center up to 135.]26] The First Council of
Nicaea recognized and confirmed the tradition by which Jerusalem continued to be given
"special honour", but did not assign to it even metropolitan authority within its own province,
still less the extraprovincial jurisdiction exercised by Rome and the other sees mentioned

Constantinople came into prominence only after the early Christian period, being founded
officially in 330, five years after the First Council of Nicaea.

The rise of Rome

Main articles: Ancient Rome, Roman Republic, and Roman Empire

Cicero addresses the Roman Senate to denounce Catiline's conspiracy to overthrow the Republic,
by Cesare Maccari

Much of Greek learning was assimilated by the nascent Roman state as it expanded outward
from Italy, taking advantage of its enemies' inability to unite: the only challenge to Roman ascent
came from the Phoenician colony of Carthage, and its defeat in the end of the 3rd century BCE
marked the start of Roman hegemony. First governed by kings, then as a senatorial republic (the
Roman Republic), Rome finally became an empire at the end of the 1st century BCE, under
Augustus and his authoritarian successors.

The Roman Empire had its centre in the Mediterranean Sea, controlling all the countries on its
shores; the northern border was marked by the Rhine and Danube rivers. Under emperor Trajan
(2nd century AD) the empire reached its maximum expansion, controlling approximately
5,900,000 km (2,300,000 sq mi) of land surface, including Britain, Romania and parts of
Mesopotamia. The empire brought peace, civilization and an efficient centralized government to
the subject territories, but in the 3rd century a series of civil wars undermined its economic and
social strength.

In the 4th century, the emperors Diocletian and Constantine were able to slow down the process
of decline by splitting the empire into a Western and an Eastern part. Whereas Diocletian
severely persecuted Christianity, Constantine declared an official end to state-sponsored
persecution of Christians in 313 with the Edict of Milan, thus setting the stage for the empire to
later become officially Christian in about 380 (which would cause the Church to become an
important institution).

]edit] Decline of the Roman Empire

Main articles: Decline of the Roman Empire and Crisis of the third century

Map of the Roman Empire partition in 395, at the death of Theodosius I: the Western (red) and
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) (purple)

The Roman Empire had been repeatedly attacked by invading armies from Northern Europe and
in 476, Rome finally fell. Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire
surrendered to the Germanic King Odoacer. British historian Edward Gibbon argued in The
Decl ne and Fall of the Roman =mp e (1776) that the Romans had become decadent, they had
lost civic virtue.

Gibbon said that the adoption of Christianity, meant belief in a better life after death, and
therefore made people lazy and indifferent to the present. "From the eighteenth century onward",
Glen W. Bowersock has remarked,]8] "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as
an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." It remains
one of the greatest historical questions, and has a tradition rich in scholarly interest.

Some other notable dates are the Battle of Adrianople in 378, the death of Theodosius I in 395
(the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by
Germanic tribes after the withdrawal of the legions in order to defend Italy against Alaric I, the
death of Stilicho in 408, followed by the disintegration of the western legions, the death of
Justinian I, the last Roman Emperor who tried to reconquer the west, in 565, and the coming of
Islam after 632. Many scholars maintain that rather than a "fall", the changes can more
accurately be described as a complex transformation.]9] Over time many theories have been
proposed on why the Empire fell, or whether indeed it fell at all.

]edit] Late Antiquity and Migration period

Main articles: Late Antiquity and Migration period

2nd to 5th century simplified migrations. See also map of the world in 820 A.D..

When Emperor Constantine had reconquered Rome under the banner of the cross in 312, he soon
afterwards issued the Edict of Milan in 313, declaring the legality of Christianity in the Roman
Empire. In addition, Constantine officially shifted the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome
to the Greek town of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople ("City of Constantine").

In 395 Theodosius I, who had made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire,
would be the last emperor to preside over a united Roman Empire, and from thenceforth, the
empire would be split into two halves: the Western Roman Empire centered in Ravenna, and the
Eastern Roman Empire (later to be referred to as the Byzantine Empire) centered in
Constantinople. The Western Roman Empire was repeatedly attacked by marauding Germanic
tribes (see: Migration Period), and in 476 finally fell to the Heruli chieftan Odoacer.

Roman authority in the West completely collapsed and the western provinces soon became a
patchwork of Germanic kingdoms. However, the city of Rome, under the guidance of the Roman
Catholic Church, still remained a centre of learning, and did much to preserve classic Roman
thought in Western Europe. In the meantime, the Roman emperor in Constantinople, Justinian I,
had succeeded in codifying all Roman law into the Cop s 4  s C v l s (529-534).

For the duration of the 6th century, the Eastern Roman Empire was embroiled in a series of
deadly conflicts, first with the Persian Sassanid Empire (see Roman-Persian Wars), followed by
the onslaught of the arising Islamic Caliphate (Rashidun and Umayyad). By 650, the provinces
of Egypt, Palestine and Syria were lost to the Muslim forces, followed by Hispania and southern
Italy in the 7th and 8th centuries (see Muslim conquests).

In Western Europe, a political structure was emerging: in the power vacuum left in the wake of
Rome's collapse, localised hierarchies were based on the bond of common people to the land on
which they worked. Tithes were paid to the lord of the land, and the lord owed duties to the
regional prince. The tithes were used to pay for the state and wars.

This was the feudal system, in which new princes and kings arose, the greatest of which was the
Frank ruler Charlemagne. In 800, Charlemagne, reinforced by his massive territorial conquests,
was crowned Emperor of the Romans (Imperator Romanorum) by Pope Leo III, effectively
solidifying his power in western Europe.

Charlemagne's reign marked the beginning of a new Germanic Roman Empire in the west, the
Holy Roman Empire. Outside his borders, new forces were gathering. The Kievan Rus' were
marking out their territory, a Great Moravia was growing, while the Angles and the Saxons were
securing their borders.

]edit] Middle Ages

Main articles: Middle Ages and Medieval demography
526 Europe under gothic control, and 600 with Byzantium at its height

The Middle Ages are commonly dated from the fall of the Western Roman Empire (or by some
scholars, before that) in the 5th century to the beginning of the Early Modern Period in the 16th
century, marked by the rise of nation-states, the division of Western Christianity in the
Reformation, the rise of humanism in the Italian Renaissance, and the beginnings of European
overseas expansion which allowed for the Columbian Exchange.]10]

The Middle Ages witnessed the first sustained urbanization of northern and western Europe.
Many modern European states owe their origins to events unfolding in the Middle Ages; present
European political boundaries are, in many regards, the result of the military and dynastic
achievements during this tumultuous period.

]edit] Early Middle Ages

Main article: Early Middle Ages

The Early Middle Ages span roughly five centuries from 500 to 1000.]11] During this period,
most of Europe was Christianized, and the "Dark Ages" following the fall of Rome took place.
The establishment of the Frankish Empire by the 9th century led to the Carolingian Renaissance
on the continent. Europe still remained a backwater compared to the rising Muslim world, with
its vast network of caravan trade, or India with its Golden Period under the Gupta Empire and the
Pratiharas or China, at this time the world's most populous empire under the Song Dynasty. By
AD 1000, Constantinople had a population of about 300,000, but Rome had a mere 35,000 and
Paris 20,000. Islam had over a dozen major cities stretching fromCórdoba, Spain, at this time the
world's largest city with 450,000 inhabitants, to central Asia.
]edit] A Byzantine light

Main article: Byzantine Empire

Constantine I and Justinian I offering their fealty to the Virgin Mary inside the Hagia Sophia

Many consider Emperor Constantine I (reigned 306±337) to be the first "Byzantine Emperor". It
was he who moved the imperial capital in 324 from Nicomedia to Byzantium, refounded as
Constantinople, or Nova Roma ("New Rome").]12] The city of Rome itself had not served as the
capital since the reign of Diocletian. Some date the beginnings of the Empire to the reign of
Theodosius I (379±395) and Christianity's official supplanting of the pagan Roman religion, or
following his death in 395, when the political division between East and West became
permanent. Others place it yet later in 476, when Romulus Augustulus, traditionally considered
the last western Emperor, was deposed, thus leaving sole imperial authority with the emperor in
the Greek East. Others point to the reorganization of the empire in the time of Heraclius (ca. 620)
when Latin titles and usages were officially replaced with Greek versions. In any case, the
changeover was gradual and by 330, when Constantine inaugurated his new cap tal, the pocess
of hellen zat on and nceas ng Ch st an zat on was aleady nde way. The =mp e s geneally
cons deed to have ended afte the fall of Constant nople to the Ottoman T ks n 1453. The
Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Byzantine Empire, including its capital
Constantinople, in the years 541±542. It is estimated that the Plague of Justinian killed as many
as 100 million people across the world.]13]]14] It caused Europe's population to drop by around
50% between 541 and 700.]15] It also may have contributed to the success of the Arab

]edit] Feudal christendom

Main articles: Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne, Caliphate of Córdoba, Bulgarian Empire,
Great Moravia, and Kievan Rus'
In 814 the Frankish Empire reached its peak, while Byzantium had before Islamic conquest

Pope Hadrian I asks Charlemagne, King of the Franks for assistance against invasion in 772

The Holy Roman Empire emerged around 800, as Charlemagne, king of the Franks, was
crowned by the pope as emperor. His empire based in modern France, the Low Countries and
Germany expanded into modern Hungary, Italy, Bohemia, Lower Saxony and Spain. He and his
father received substantial help from an alliance with the Pope, who wanted help against the
Lombards. The pope was officially a vassal of the Byzantine Empire, but the Byzantine emperor
did (could do) nothing against the Lombards.

To the east, Bulgaria was established in 681 and became the first Slavic country. The powerful
Bulgarian Empire was the main rival of Byzantium for control of the Balkans for centuries and
from the 9th century became the cultural center of Slavic Europe. Two states, Great Moravia and
Kievan Rus', emerged among the Western and Eastern Slavs respectively in the 9th century. In
the late 9th century and 10th century, northern and western Europe felt the burgeoning power
and influence of the Vikings who raided, traded, conquered and settled swiftly and efficiently
with their advanced sea-going vessels such as the longships. The Hungarians pillaged mainland
Europe, the Pechenegs raided eastern Europe and the Arabs the south. In the 10th century
independent kingdoms were established in Central Europe, for example, Poland and Kingdom of
Hungary. Hungarians had stopped their pillaging campaigns; prominent also included Croatia
and Serbia in the Balkans. The subsequent period, ending around 1000, saw the further growth of
feudalism, which weakened the Holy Roman Empire.

]edit] High Middle Ages

Main article: High Middle Ages

In 1097, as the First Crusade to the Holy land commences

The slumber of the Dark Ages was shaken by renewed crisis in the Church. In 1054, a schism, an
insoluble split, between the two remaining Christian seats in Rome and Constantinople.

The High Middle Ages of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries show a rapidly increasing population
of Europe, which caused great social and political change from the preceding era. By 1250, the
robust population increase greatly benefited the economy, reaching levels it would not see again
in some areas until the 19th century. From about the year 1000 onwards, Western Europe saw the
last of the barbarian invasions and became more politically organized. The Vikings had settled in
the British Isles, France and elsewhere, whilst Norse Christian kingdoms were developing in
their Scandinavian homelands. The Magyars had ceased their expansion in the 10th century, and
by the year 1000, the Roman Catholic Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary was recognized in central
Europe. With the brief exception of the Mongol invasions, major barbarian incursions ceased.

In the 11th century, populations north of the Alps began to settle new lands, some of which had
reverted to wilderness after the end of the Roman Empire. In what is known as the "great
clearances," vast forests and marshes of Europe were cleared and cultivated. At the same time
settlements moved beyond the traditional boundaries of the Frankish Empire to new frontiers in
eastern Europe, beyond the Elbe River, tripling the size of Germany in the process. Crusaders
founded European colonies in the Levant, the majority of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered
from the Moors, and the Normans colonized southern Italy, all part of the major population
increase and resettlement pattern.

The High Middle Ages produced many different forms of intellectual, spiritual and artistic
works. This age saw the rise of modern nation-states in Western Europe and the ascent of the
great Italian city-states. The still-powerful Roman Church called armies from across Europe to a
series of Crusades against the Seljuk Turks, who occupied the Holy Land. The rediscovery of the
works of Aristotle led Thomas Aquinas and other thinkers to develop the philosophy of
Scholasticism. In architecture, many of the most notable Gothic cathedrals were built or
completed during this era.

]edit] A divided church

Main articles: East-West Schism and Norman Invasion

The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings and the events leading to it

The Great Schism between the Western and Eastern Christian Churches was sparked in 1054 by
Pope Leo IX asserting authority over three of the seats in the Pentarchy, in Antioch, Jerusalem
and Alexandria. Since the mid eighth century, the Byzantine Empire's borders had been
shrinking in the face of Islamic expansion. Antioch had been wrested back into Byzantine
control by 1045, but the resurgent power of the Roman successors in the West claimed a right
and a duty for the lost seats in Asia and Africa. Pope Leo sparked a further dispute by defending
the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed which the West had adopted customarily. Eastern
Orthodox today state that the 28th Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council explicitly
proclaimed the equality of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople. The Orthodox also state
that the Bishop of Rome has authority only over his own diocese and does not have any authority
outside his diocese. There were other less significant catalysts for the Schism however, including
variance over liturgical. The Schism of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox followed
centuries of estrangement between Latin and Greek worlds.

Further changes were set afoot with a redivision of power in Europe. William the Conqueror, a
Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066. The Norman Conquest was a pivotal event in
English history for several reasons. This linked England more closely with continental Europe
through the introduction of a Norman aristocracy, thereby lessening Scandinavian influence. It
created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe and engendered a sophisticated
governmental system. Being based on an island, moreover, England was to develop a powerful
navy and trade relationships that would come to constitute a vast part of the world including
India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many key naval strategic points like Bermuda, Suez,
Hong Kong and especially Gibraltar. These strategic advantages grew and were to prove decisive
until after World War II.

]edit] Holy wars

Main articles: Crusades, Reconquista, and Magna Carta

A mitred Adhémar de Monteil carrying the Holy Lance in one of the battles of the First Crusade
After the East-West Schism, Western Christianity was adopted by newly created kingdoms of
Central Europe: Poland, Hungary and Bohemia. The Roman Catholic Church developed as a
major power, leading to conflicts between the Pope and Emperor. In 1129 AD the Roman
Catholic Church established the Inquisition to make Western Europeans Roman Catholic by
force. The Inquisition punished those who practised heresy (heretics) to make them repent. If
they could not do so, the penalty was death. During this time many Lords and Nobles ruled the
church. The Monks of Cluny worked hard to establish a church where there were no Lords or
Nobles ruling it. They succeeded. Pope Gregory VII continued the work of the monks with 2
main goals, to rid the church of control by kings and nobles and to increase the power of the
pope. The area of the Roman Catholic Church expanded enormously due to conversions of pagan
kings (Scandinavia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary), Christian reconquista of Al-Andalus, and
crusades. Most of Europe was Roman Catholic in the 15th century.

Early signs of the rebirth of civilization in western Europe began to appear in the 11th century as
trade started again in Italy, leading to the economic and cultural growth of independent city
states such as Venice and Florence; at the same time, nation-states began to take form in places
such as France, England, Spain, and Portugal, although the process of their formation (usually
marked by rivalry between the monarchy, the aristocratic feudal lords and the church) actually
took several centuries. These new nation-states began writing in their own cultural vernaculars,
instead of the traditional Latin. Notable figures of this movement would include Dante Alighieri
and Christine de Pisan (born Christina da Pizzano), the former writing in Italian, and the latter
although an Italian (Venice) relocated to France and wrote in French.(See Reconquista for the
latter two countries.) On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire, essentially based in Germany
and Italy, further fragmented into a myriad of feudal principalities or small city states, whose
subjection to the emperor was only formal.

The 13th and 14th century, when the Mongol Empire came to power, is often called the Age of
the Mongols. Mongol armies expanded westward under the command of Batu Khan. Their
western conquests included almost all of Russia (save Novgorod, which became a vassal),]18]
Kipchak lands, Hungary, and Poland (Which had remained sovereign state). Mongolian records
indicate that Batu Khan was planning a complete conquest of the remaining European powers,
beginning with a winter attack on Austria, Italy and Germany, when he was recalled to Mongolia
upon the death of Great Khan —gedei. Most historians believe only his death prevented the
complete conquest of Europe]c tat on needed]. In Russia, the Mongols of the Golden Horde ruled for
almost 250 years.

]edit] Late Middle Ages

Main article: Late Middle Ages

Further information: Lex Mercatoria, Hundred Years War, and Fall of Constantinople
Europe in 1400

Europe in 1477

The Late Middle Ages span the 14th and 15th centuries. Around 1300, centuries of European
prosperity and growth came to a halt. A series of famines and plagues, such as the Great Famine
of 1315±1317 and the Black Death, reduced the population by as much as half according to some
estimates. Along with depopulation came social unrest and endemic warfare. France and England
experienced serious peasant risings: the Jacquerie, the Peasants' Revolt, and the Hundred Years'
War. To add to the many problems of the period, the unity of the Catholic Church was shattered
by the Great Schism. Collectively these events are sometimes called the Crisis of the Late
Middle Ages.]19]

Despite these crises, the 14th century was also a time of great progress within the arts and
sciences. A renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman texts led to what has later been termed
the Italian Renaissance. Toward the end of the period, an era of discovery began. The growth of
the Ottoman Empire, culminating in the fall of Constantinople in 1453, cut off trading
possibilities with the east. Europeans were forced to discover new trading routes, as happened
with Columbus¶s travel to the Americas in 1492, and Vasco da Gama¶s circumnavigation of
India and Africa in 1498.
Monks infected with plague given a priest's blessing

One of the largest catastrophes to have hit Europe was the Black Death. There were numerous
outbreaks, but the most severe was in the mid-1300s and is estimated to have killed a third of
Europe's population.

Beginning in the 14th century, the Baltic Sea became one of the most important trade routes. The
Hanseatic League, an alliance of trading cities, facilitated the absorption of vast areas of Poland,
Lithuania and other Baltic countries into the economy of Europe. This fed the growth of
powerful states in Eastern Europe including Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, and
Muscovy. The conventional end of the Middle Ages is usually associated with the fall of the city
Constantinople and of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The Turks made the
city the capital of their Ottoman Empire, which lasted until 1922 and included Egypt, Syria and
most of the Balkans. The Ottoman wars in Europe, also sometimes referred as the Turkish wars,
marked an essential part of the history of southeastern Europe.

up Hanseatic League, Marco Polo, Lex Mercatoria, History of trade

up Western Schism (1378-1417)
up Hundred Years War, Joan of Arc

]edit] Early Modern Europe

Main article: Early Modern Europe
Further information: Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, Baroque, Age of
Enlightenment, Scientific revolution, Great divergence, and European miracle
Europe in 1519

Europa regina, 1570 print by Sebastian Munster of Basel.

Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man depicts his vision for the perfectly proportioned man.

The Early Modern period spans the centuries between the Middle Ages and the Industrial
Revolution, roughly from 1500 to 1800, or from the discovery of the New World in 1492 to the
French Revolution in 1789. The period is characterized by the rise to importance of science and
increasingly rapid technological progress, secularized civic politics and the nation state.
Capitalist economies began their rise, beginning in northern Italian republics such as Genoa. The
early modern period also saw the rise and dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism. As
such, the early modern period represents the decline and eventual disappearance, in much of the
European sphere, of feudalism, serfdom and the power of the Catholic Church. The period
includes the Protestant Reformation, the disastrous Thirty Years' War, the European colonization
of the Americas and the European witch-hunts.

]edit] Renaissance

Main article: Renaissance

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in
the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the north and west during a cultural
lag of some two and a half centuries, its influence affected literature, philosophy, art, politics,
science, history, religion, and other aspects of intellectual enquiry.

The Italian Petrarch (Francesco di Petracco), deemed the first full-blooded Humanist, wrote in
the 1330s: "I am alive now, yet I would rather have been born in another time." He was
enthusiastic about Greek and Roman antiquity. In the 15th and 16th centuries the continuing
enthusiasm for the ancients was reinforced by the feeling that the inherited culture was
dissolving and here was a storehouse of ideas and attitudes with which to rebuild. Matteo
Palmieri wrote in the 1430s: "Now indeed may every thoughtful spirit thank god that it has been
permitted to him to be born in a new age." The renaissance was born: a new age where learning
was very important.

The Renaissance was inspired by the growth in study of Latin and Greek texts and the admiration
of the Greco-Roman era as a golden age. This prompted many artists and writers to begin
drawing from Roman and Greek examples for their works, but there was also much innovation in
this period, especially by multi-faceted artists such as Leonardo da Vinci. Many Roman and
Greek texts were already in existence in the European Middle Ages. The monks had copied and
recopied the old texts and housed them for a millennium, but they had regarded them in another
light. Many more flowed in with the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the
Fall of Constantinople while other Greek and Roman texts came from Islamic sources, who had
inherited the ancient Greek and Roman texts and knowledge through conquest, even attempting
to improve upon some of them.]c tat on needed] With the usual pride of advanced thinkers, the
Humanists saw their repossession of a great past as a Renaissance²a rebirth of civilization

Important political precedents were also set in this period. Niccolò Machiavelli's political writing
in The P nce influenced later absolutism and real-politik. Also important were the many patrons
who ruled states and used the artistry of the Renaissance as a sign of their power.

In all, the Renaissance could be viewed as an attempt by intellectuals to study and improve the
secular and worldly, both through the revival of ideas from antiquity, and through novel
approaches to thought²the immediate past being too "Gothic" in language, thought and
]edit] Reformation

Main article: Protestant Reformation

The Ninety-Five Theses of German monk Martin Luther which broke Papal autocracy

During this period corruption in the Catholic Church led to a sharp backlash in the Protestant
Reformation. It gained many followers especially among princes and kings seeking a stronger
state by ending the influence of the Catholic Church. Figures other than Martin Luther began to
emerge as well like John Calvin whose Calvinism had influence in many countries and King
Henry VIII of England who broke away from the Catholic Church in England and set up the
Anglican Church (contrary to popular belief, this is only half true; his daughter Queen Elizabeth
finished the organization of the church). These religious divisions brought on a wave of wars
inspired and driven by religion but also by the ambitious monarchs in Western Europe who were
becoming more centralized and powerful.

The Protestant Reformation also led to a strong reform movement in the Catholic Church called
the Counter-Reformation, which aimed to reduce corruption as well as to improve and strengthen
Catholic Dogma. An important group in the Catholic Church who emerged from this movement
were the Jesuits who helped keep Eastern Europe within the Catholic fold. Still, the Catholic
Church was somewhat weakened by the Reformation, portions of Europe were no longer under
its sway and kings in the remaining Catholic countries began to take control of the Church
institutions within their kingdoms.

Unlike Western Europe, the countries of Central Europe, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
and Hungary, were more tolerant. While still enforcing the predominance of Catholicism they
continued to allow the large religious minorities to maintain their faiths. Central Europe became
divided between Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and Jews. Another important development in
this period was the growth of pan-European sentiments. Eméric Crucé (1623) came up with the
idea of the European Council, intended to end wars in Europe; attempts to create lasting peace
were no success, although all European countries (except the Russian and Ottoman Empires,
regarded as foreign) agreed to make peace in 1518 at the Treaty of London. Many wars broke out
again in a few years. The Reformation also made European peace impossible for many centuries.

Another development was the idea of European superiority. The ideal of civilization was taken
over from the ancient Greeks and Romans: discipline, education and living in the city were
required to make people civilized; Europeans and non-Europeans were judged for their civility,
and Europe regarded itself as superior to other continents. There was a movement by some such
as Montaigne that regarded the non-Europeans as a better, more natural and primitive people.
Post services were founded all over Europe, which allowed a humanistic interconnected network
of intellectuals across Europe, despite religious divisions. However, the Roman Catholic Church
banned many leading scientific works; this led to an intellectual advantage for Protestant
countries, where the banning of books was regionally organized. Francis Bacon and other
advocates of science tried to create unity in Europe by focusing on the unity in nature.1 In the
15th century, at the end of the Middle Ages, powerful sovereign states were appearing, built by
the New Monarchs who were centralizing power in France, England, and Spain. On the other
hand the Parliament in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth grew in power, taking legislative
rights from the Polish king. The new state power was contested by parliaments in other countries
especially England. New kinds of states emerged which were cooperations between territorial
rulers, cities, farmer republics and knights.

]edit] Exploration and conquest

Main articles: Age of Discovery and Mercantilism

Cantino planisphere, 1502, earliest chart showing explorations by Gama, Columbus and Cabral

The numerous wars did not prevent European states from exploring and conquering wide
portions of the world, from Africa to Asia and the newly discovered Americas. In the 15th
century, Portugal led the way in geographical exploration along the coast of Africa in search for
a maritime route to India, followed by Spain in the early 16th century, dividing their exploration
of world according to the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494.]20] They were the first states to set up
colonies in America and trading posts (factories) along the shores of Africa and Asia,
establishing the first direct European diplomatic contacts with Southeast Asian states in 1511,
China in 1513 and Japan in 1542. In 1552, Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible conquered two major
Tatar khanates, Kazan and Astrakhan, and the Yermak's voyage of 1580 led to the annexation of
Siberia into Russia. Oceanic explorations were soon followed by France, England and the
Netherlands, who explored the Portuguese and Spanish trade routes into the Pacific Ocean,
reaching Australia in 1606]21] and New Zealand in 1642.

Colonial expansion continued in the following centuries (with some setbacks, such as successful
wars of independence in the British American colonies and then later Mexico, Brazil, and others
surrounding the Napoleonic Wars). Spain had control of part of North America and a great deal
of Central America and South America, the Caribbean and the Philippines; Britain took the
whole of Australia and New Zealand, most of India, and large parts of Africa and North
America; France held parts of Canada and India (nearly all of which was lost to Britain in 1763),
Indochina, large parts of Africa and Caribbean islands; the Netherlands gained the East Indies
(now Indonesia) and islands in the Caribbean; Portugal obtained Brazil and several territories in
Africa and Asia; and later, powers such as Germany, Belgium, Italy and Russia acquired further

This expansion helped the economy of the countries owning them. Trade flourished, because of
the minor stability of the empires. By the late 16th century American silver accounted for one-
fifth of the Spain's total budget.]22] The European countries fought wars that were largely paid for
by the money coming in from the colonies. Nevertheless, the profits of the slave trade and of
plantations of the West Indies, then the most profitable of all the British colonies, amounted to
less than 5% of the British Empire's economy (but was generally more profitable) at the time of
the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.

]edit] Enlightenment

Main article: Age of Enlightenment

The Battle of Nördlingen (1634) in the Thirty Years' War

Throughout the early part of this period, capitalism (through Mercantilism) was replacing
feudalism as the principal form of economic organization, at least in the western half of Europe.
The expanding colonial frontiers resulted in a Commercial Revolution. The period is noted for
the rise of modern science and the application of its findings to technological improvements,
which culminated in the Industrial Revolution. Iberian (Spain and Portugal) exploits of the New
World, which started with Christopher Columbus's venture westward in search of a quicker trade
route to the East Indies in 1492, was soon challenged by English and French]23] exploits in North
America. New forms of trade and expanding horizons made new forms of government, law and
economics necessary.

The Reformation had profound effects on the unity of Europe. Not only were nations divided one
from another by their religious orientation, but some states were torn apart internally by religious
strife, avidly fostered by their external enemies. France suffered this fate in the 16th century in
the series of conflicts known as the French Wars of Religion, which ended in the triumph of the
Bourbon Dynasty. England avoided this fate for a while and settled down under Elizabeth to a
moderate Anglicanism. Much of modern day Germany was made up of numerous small
sovereign states under the theoretical framework of the Holy Roman Empire, which was further
divided along internally drawn sectarian lines. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is notable
in this time for its religious indifference and a general immunity to the horrors of European
religious strife.

The Thirty Years' War was fought between 1618 and 1648, principally on the territory of today's
Germany, and involved most of the major European powers. Beginning as a religious conflict
between Protestants and Catholics in Bohemia, it gradually developed into a general war
involving much of Europe, for reasons not necessarily related to religion.]24] The major impact of
the war, in which mercenary armies were extensively used, was the devastation of entire regions
scavenged bare by the foraging armies. Episodes of widespread famine and disease devastated
the population of the German states and, to a lesser extent, the Low Countries, Bohemia and
Italy, while bankrupting many of the regional powers involved. Between one-fourth and one-
third of the German population perished from direct military causes or from illness and
starvation related to the war.]25] The war lasted for thirty years, but the conflicts that triggered it
continued unresolved for a much longer time.

After the Peace of Westphalia, Europe's borders were still stable in 1708

After the Peace of Westphalia which ended the war in favour of nations deciding their own
religious allegiance, Absolutism became the norm of the continent, while parts of Europe
experimented with constitutions foreshadowed by the English Civil War and particularly the
Glorious Revolution. European military conflict did not cease, but had less disruptive effects on
the lives of Europeans. In the advanced northwest, the Enlightenment gave a philosophical
underpinning to the new outlook, and the continued spread of literacy, made possible by the
printing press, created new secular forces in thought. Again, the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth would be an exception to this rule, with its unique quasi-democratic Golden

Eastern Europe was an arena of conflict for domination between Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. This period saw a gradual decline of these three
powers which were eventually replaced by new enlightened absolutist monarchies, Russia,
Prussia and Austria. By the turn of the 19th century they became new powers, having divided
Poland between them, with Sweden and Turkey having experienced substantial territorial losses
to Russia and Austria respectively. Numerous Polish Jews emigrated to Western Europe,
founding Jewish communities in places where they had been expelled from during the Middle

]edit] From revolution to imperialism

See also: Nineteenth century
In 1815 Europe's borders were resettled, its roots shaken up by Napoleon's armies

The "long nineteenth century", from 1789 to 1914 sees the drastic social, political and economic
changes initiated by the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars,
and following the re-organization of the political map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna in
1815, the rise of Nationalism, the rise of the Russian Empire and the peak of the British Empire,
paralleled by the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Finally, the rise of the German Empire and the
Austro-Hungarian Empire initiated the course of events that culminated in the outbreak of World
War I in 1914.

]edit] Industrial Revolution

Main article: Industrial Revolution

London's chimney sky in 1870, by Gustave Doré

The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major
changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transport affected socioeconomic and cultural
conditions in Britain and subsequently spread throughout Europe and North America and
eventually the world, a process that continues as industrialisation. In the later part of the 1700s
the manual labour based economy of the Kingdom of Great Britain began to be replaced by one
dominated by industry and the manufacture of machinery. It started with the mechanisation of
the textile industries, the development of iron-making techniques and the increased use of refined
coal. Once started it spread. Trade expansion was enabled by the introduction of canals,
improved roads and railways. The introduction of steam power (fuelled primarily by coal) and
powered machinery (mainly in textile manufacturing) underpinned the dramatic increases in
production capacity.]26] The development of all-metal machine tools in the first two decades of
the 19th century facilitated the manufacture of more production machines for manufacturing in
other industries. The effects spread throughout Western Europe and North America during the
19th century, eventually affecting most of the world. The impact of this change on society was

See also: Steam engine, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, History of
economic thought, and History of rail transport

]edit] Political revolution

Main articles: American Revolution, French Revolution, and Napoleonic Wars

The storming of the Bastille in the French Revolution of 1789

French intervention in the American Revolutionary War had bankrupted the state. After repeated
failed attempts at financial reform, Louis XVI was persuaded to convene the Estates-General, a
representative body of the country made up of three estates: the clergy, the nobility, and the
commoners. The members of the Estates-General assembled in the Palace of Versailles in May
1789, but the debate as to which voting system should be used soon became an impasse. Come
June, the third estate, joined by members of the other two, declared itself to be a National
Assembly and swore an oath not to dissolve until France had a constitution and created, in July,
the National Constituent Assembly. At the same time the people of Paris revolted, famously
storming the Bastille prison on 14 July 1789.

At the time the assembly wanted to create a constitutional monarchy, and over the following two
years passed various laws including the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the
abolition of feudalism, and a fundamental change in the relationship between France and Rome.
At first the king agreed with these changes and enjoyed reasonable popularity with the people,
but as anti-royalism increased along with threat of foreign invasion, the king, stripped of his
power, decided to flee along with his family. He was recognized and brought back to Paris. On
12 January 1793, having been convicted of treason, he was executed.

On 20 September 1792 the National Convention abolished the monarchy and declared France a
republic. Due to the emergency of war the National Convention created the Committee of Public
Safety, controlled by Maximilien Robespierre of the Jacobin Club, to act as the country's
executive. Under Robespierre the committee initiated the Reign of Terror, during which up to
40,000 people were executed in Paris, mainly nobles, and those convicted by the Revolutionary
Tribunal, often on the flimsiest of evidence. Elsewhere in the country, counter-revolutionary
insurrections were brutally suppressed. The regime was overthrown in the coup of 9 Thermidor
(27 July 1794) and Robespierre was executed. The regime which followed ended the Terror and
relaxed Robespierre's more extreme policies.

The Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington in 1815

Napoleon Bonaparte was France's most successful general in the Revolutionary wars, having
conquered large parts of Italy and forced the Austrians to sue for peace. In 1799 he returned from
Egypt and on 18 Brumaire (9 November) overthrew the government, replacing it with the
Consulate, in which he was First Consul. On 2 December 1804, after a failed assassination plot,
he crowned himself Emperor. In 1805, Napoleon planned to invade Britain, but a renewed
British alliance with Russia and Austria (Third Coalition), forced him to turn his attention
towards the continent, while at the same time failure to lure the superior British fleet away from
the English Channel, ending in a decisive French defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October
put an end to hopes of an invasion of Britain. On 2 December 1805, Napoleon defeated a
numerically superior Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz, forcing Austria's withdrawal from the
coalition (see Teaty of Pess g) and dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, a Fourth
Coalition was set up, on 14 October Napoleon defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Jena-
Auerstedt, marched through Germany and defeated the Russians on 14 June 1807 at Friedland,
the Treaties of Tilsit divided Europe between France and Russia and created the Duchy of

On 12 June 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with a Grande Armée of nearly 700,000 troops. After
the measured victories at Smolensk and Borodino Napoleon occupied Moscow, only to find it
burned by the retreating Russian Army, he was forced to withdraw, on the march back his army
was harassed by Cossacks, and suffered disease and starvation. Only 20,000 of his men survived
the campaign. By 1813 the tide had begun to turn from Napoleon, having been defeated by a
seven nation army at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. He was forced to abdicate after the
Six Days Campaign and the occupation of Paris, under the Treaty of Fontainebleau he was exiled
to the Island of Elba. He returned to France on 1 March 1815 (see H nded Days), raised an
army, but was comprehensively defeated by a British and Prussian force at the Battle of
Waterloo on 18 June 1815.

]edit] sations rising

Main articles: Italian unification, Franco-Prussian War, Crimean War, and Revolutions of 1848
Cheering the Revolutions of 1848 in Berlin

After the defeat of revolutionary France, the other great powers tried to restore the situation
which existed before 1789. In 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, the major powers of Europe
managed to produce a peaceful balance of power among the empires after the Napoleonic wars
(despite the occurrence of internal revolutionary movements) under the Metternich system.
However, their efforts were unable to stop the spread of revolutionary movements: the middle
classes had been deeply influenced by the ideals of democracy of the French revolution, the
Industrial Revolution brought important economical and social changes, the lower classes started
to be influenced by socialist, communist and anarchistic ideas (especially those summarized by
Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto), and the preference of the new capitalists became
Liberalism. Further instability came from the formation of several nationalist movements (in
Germany, Italy, Poland, Hungary etc.), seeking national unification and/or liberation from
foreign rule. As a result, the period between 1815 and 1871 saw a large number of revolutionary
attempts and independence wars. Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon I, returned from exile in the
United Kingdom in 1848 to be elected to the French parliament, and then as "Prince President"
in a coup d'état elected himself Emperor, a move approved later by a large majority of the French
electorate. He helped in the unification of Italy by fighting the Austrian Empire and fought the
Crimean War with the United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. His empire
collapsed after an embarrassing defeat for France at the hands of Prussia in which he was
captured. France then became a weak republic which refused to negotiate and was finished by
Prussia in a few months. In Versailles, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed Emperor of
Germany, and modern Germany was born. Even though the revolutionaries were often defeated,
most European states had become constitutional (rather than absolute) monarchies by 1871, and
Germany and Italy had developed into nation states. The 19th century also saw the British
Empire emerge as the world's first global power due in a large part to the Industrial Revolution
and victory in the Napoleonic Wars.

]edit] colonial Empires

Main article: Colonial Empires

Further information: History of colonialism, Ottoman Empire, Habsburg Empire, Russian
Empire, French colonial empire, British Empire, Dutch Empire, and Italian colonial empire
Paris with the World Fair of 1884

Colonial empires were the product of the European Age of Exploration in the 15th century. The
initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires and those that followed was trade,
driven by the new ideas and the capitalism that grew out of the European Renaissance.
Agreements were also done to divide the world. Portugal began establishing the first global trade
network and empire from Brazil, in South America, to several colonies in Africa (namely
Portuguese Guinea, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Mozambique), in
Portuguese India (Bombay and Goa), in China (Macau), and Oceania (East Timor), amongst
many other smaller or short-lived possessions. During its S glo de Oo, the Spanish Empire had
possession of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Italy, parts of Germany, parts of
France, and many colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. With the conquest of inland
Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines in the 16th century, Spain established overseas dominions on a
scale and world distribution that had never been approached by its predecessors (the Mongol
Empire had been larger but was restricted to Eurasia). Possessions in Europe, Africa, the Atlantic
Ocean, the Americas, the Pacific Ocean, and the Far East qualified the Spanish Empire. From
1580 to 1640 the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire were conjoined in a personal union
of its Habsburg monarchs, during the period of the Iberian Union, though the empires continued
to be administered separately. Subsequent colonial empires included the French, Dutch, and
British empires. The latter, consolidated during the period of British maritime hegemony in the
19th century, became the largest empire in history because of the improved transportation
technologies of the time. At its height, the British Empire covered a quarter of the Earth's land
area and comprised a quarter of its population. By the 1860s, the Russian Empire ² continued as
the Soviet Union ² became the largest contiguous state in the world, and the latter's main
successor, Russia, continues to be so to this day. Despite having "lost" its Soviet periphery,
Russia has 12 time zones, stretching slightly over half the world's longitude.

The peace would only last until the Ottoman Empire had declined enough to become a target for
the others. (See History of the Balkans.) This instigated the Crimean War in 1854 and began a
tenser period of minor clashes among the globe-spanning empires of Europe that set the stage for
the First World War. It changed a third time with the end of the various wars that turned the
Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of Prussia into the Italian and German nation-states,
significantly changing the balance of power in Europe. From 1870, the Bismarckian hegemony
on Europe put France in a critical situation. It slowly rebuilt its relationships, seeking alliances
with Russia and Britain, to control the growing power of Germany. In this way, two opposing
sides formed in Europe, improving their military forces and alliances year-by-year.
]edit] World Wars and cold War
See also: Twentieth century

Trenches became one of the most striking symbols of World War I

The "short twentieth century", from 1914 to 1991, sees World War I, World War II and the Cold
War, including the rise and fall of Nazi Germany and of the Soviet Union. These disastrous
events spell the end of the European Colonial empires and initiated widespread decolonization.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 to 1991 leaves the United States as the world's single
superpower and triggers the fall of the Iron Curtain, the reunification of Germany and an
accelerated process of a European integration that is ongoing.

]edit] World Wars

Main articles: World War I, Russian Revolution (1917), Treaty of Versailles, Great Depression,
and World War II

After the relative peace of most of the 19th century, the rivalry between European powers
exploded in 1914, when World War I started. Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized
from 1914 ± 1918.]28] On one side were Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and
Bulgaria (the Central Powers/Triple Alliance), while on the other side stood Serbia and the
T ple =ntente - the loose coalition of France, the United Kingdom and Russia, which were
joined by Italy in 1915 and by the United States in 1917. Despite the defeat of Russia in 1917
and the collapse of the Eastern Front (the war was one of the major causes of the Russian
Revolution, leading to the formation of the communist Soviet Union), the =ntente finally
prevailed in the autumn of 1918.

In the Treaty of Versailles (1919) the winners imposed relatively hard conditions on Germany
and recognized the new states (such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Yugoslavia,
Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) created in central Europe out of the defunct German, Austro-
Hungarian and Russian empires, supposedly out of national self-determination. Most of those
countries engaged in local wars, the largest of them being the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921). In
the following decades, fear of communism and the Great Depression of 1929-1933 led to the rise
of extreme nationalist governments ± sometimes loosely grouped under the category of fascism ±
in Italy (1922), Germany (1933), Spain (after a civil war ending in 1939) and other countries
such as Hungary (1944).

"Peace, Bread and Land" was the revolutionary message Bolshevik party and Lenin's message to
a Russian people, ravaged by war

After allying with Mussolini's Italy in the "Pact of Steel" and signing a non-aggression pact with
the Soviet Union, the German dictator Adolf Hitler started World War II on 1 September 1939
attacking Poland and following a military build-up throughout the late 1930s. After initial
successes (mainly the conquest of western Poland, much of Scandinavia, France and the Balkans
before 1941) the Axis powers began to over-extend themselves in 1941. Hitler's ideological foes
were the Communists in Russia but because of the German failure to defeat the United Kingdom
and the Italian failures in North Africa and the Mediterranean the Axis forces were split between
garrisoning western Europe and Scandinavia and attacking Africa. Thus, the attack on the Soviet
Union (which together with Germany had partitioned central Europe in 1939-1940) was not
pressed with sufficient strength. Despite initial successes, the German army was stopped close to
Moscow in December 1941.

Over the next year the tide was turned and the Germans started to suffer a series of defeats, for
example in the siege of Stalingrad and at Kursk. Meanwhile, Japan (allied to Germany and Italy
since September 1940) attacked the British in Southeast Asia and the United States in Hawaii on
7 December 1941; Germany then completed its over-extension by declaring war on the United
States. War raged between the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and the Allied Forces
(British Empire, Soviet Union, and the United States). Allied Forces won in North Africa,
invaded Italy in 1943, and invaded occupied France in 1944. In the spring of 1945 Germany
itself was invaded from the east by the Soviet Union and from the west by the other Allies
respectively; Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrendered in early May ending the war in

This period was marked also by industrialized and planned genocide. The Nazis began the
systematic genocide of over 11 million people, including the majority of the Jews of Europe and
Gypsies as well as millions of Polish and Soviet Slavs. During and after the war millions of
civilians were affected by forced population transfers.
]edit] cold War

Main articles: Cold War, NATO, Marshall Plan, and European Economic Community

East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, 20 November 1961

World War I and especially World War II ended the pre-eminent position of western Europe.
The map of Europe was redrawn at the Yalta Conference and divided as it became the principal
zone of contention in the Cold War between the two power blocs, the Western countries and the
Eastern bloc. The United States and Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Italy,
Netherlands, West Germany, etc.) established the NATO alliance as a protection against a
possible Soviet invasion. Later, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia,
the GDR, Hungary, Poland, and Romania) established the Warsaw Pact as a protection against a
possible U.S. invasion.

Meanwhile, Western Europe slowly began a process of political and economic integration,
desiring to unite Europe and prevent another war. This process resulted eventually in the
development of organizations such as the European Union and the Council of Europe. The
Solidarność movement in the 1980s in weakened the Communist government in Poland. The
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev initiated perestroika and glasnost, which weakened Soviet
influence in Eastern Europe. Soviet-supported governments collapsed, and by 1990 the Federal
Republic of Germany had absorbed the GDR. In 1991 the Soviet Union itself collapsed, splitting
into fifteen states, with Russia taking the Soviet Union's seat on the United Nations Security
Council. The most violent breakup happened in Yugoslavia, in the Balkans. Four (Slovenia,
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia) out of six Yugoslav republics declared
independence and for most of them a violent war ensued, in some parts lasting until 1995. In
2006 Montenegro seceded and became an independent state. In the post-Cold War era, NATO
and the EU have been gradually admitting most of the former members of the Warsaw Pact.

]edit] Recent history

Further information: History of the European Union

Following the end of the Cold War, the European Economic Community pushed for closer
integration, cooperation in foreign and home affairs and started to increase its membership into
the neutral and former communist countries. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty established the
European Union, succeeding the EEC and furthering political cooperation. The neutral countries
of Austria, Finland and Sweden acceded to the EU and those that didn't join were tied into the
EU's economic market via the European Economic Area. These countries also entered the
Schengen Agreement which lifted border controls between member states.]29]

Another major innovation in the Maastricht Treaty was the creation of a single currency for most
EU members. The euro was created in 1999 and replaced all previous currencies in 2002. The
most notable exception to the currency union was the United Kingdom which also did not
participate in the Schengen Agreement.

However the EU's desire to work on foreign policy was undermined due to its failure to act
during the Yugoslav wars and its division over whether to support the United States in the Iraq
War. European NATO countries faced frequent criticism from the United States for not spending
enough on the military and for not sending enough troops to support the NATO war in
Afghanistan. Europe meanwhile decided to reap the benefits of its post-cold war peace dividend
and instead support the development of international law, for example through the International
Criminal Court.

In 2004 the enlarged to include 10 new countries, eight developing former-communist countries
(including three which were part of the Soviet Union itself along with Malta and the divided
island of Cyprus. These would be followed by another two communist countries in 2007. NATO
likewise expanded to include these countries, despite protestations from Russia which was
growing more assertive. Russia engaged in a number of bilateral disputes about gas supplies with
Belarus and Ukraine which endangered gas supplies to Europe. Russia also engaged in a minor
war with Georgia in 2008.

However, with the influx of new members in 2004 together with awarding Turkey candidate
status, public opinion in the EU turned against enlargement. This came out in part with the
rejection of the European Constitution in referenda in France and the Netherlands. The
constitution's replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon, was also voted down by the Irish before they
reversed their decision in 2009. This led to the period between up to 2009 being dominated by
"institutional navel gazing" by the EU and a rise in euroscepticism in some states. The Lisbon
Treaty did however enhance the EU's capacity for foreign policy action.

Opposition to Turkish membership of the EU developed parallel to an increasing unease as to

how Europe deals with Islam. Al Quaeda inspired attacks in London and Madrid, together with a
perception that Europe's large Muslim majority was not integrating, contributed to a backlash in
some countries. Belgium enacted a ban on the Burqa, also pursed by France while Swizerland
banned minarets. Danish publication of cartoons portraying the prophet Muhammad further
damaged relations with Europe's Muslim population and the Islamic world at-large.

In 2008 the EU's eurozone (those countries using the euro) entered its first recession and sparked
a debate about how the EU should respond to an economic collapse of a member. The eurozone
agreed to set up a bail out mechanism and study proposals for more fiscal integration in the EU.