Wednesday, January 5, 2011

European Unity - Europe from its origins

The multimedia podcast Europe from its Origins tells a history of Europe treating it as a cultural unity stemming from the Western part of the Roman Empire. It relates history from around the third century and aims to continue until today. This extraordinary project deserves much praise and attention. Although it can be listened to as an audio podcast, it pays to sit down and actually watch the multitude of slides and video that accompany the narration. (feed)

The maker Joseph Hogarty not only treats Europe as a unity, while chronologically going through its history, he also tries to make and argument for this idea as he goes along. Also in the latest issue (Episode 19: AD 1347 - 1396) the question of Europe's unity or division comes up. As he argued before that Christendom was the concept and culture that unified Europe, he argues here that states are not what divided Europe. States, he goes on to show, is an idea that was developed later and applied to Europe of the Middle Ages where neither the practice nor the concept existed.

If, in Hogarty's view, there was at all something of a state in the Europe of the 14th century, it was the pagan Lithuania, that over the 14th century got incorporated into Christendom, which makes Europe as large as the EU today. The Plague sets in to give that Europe a unified experience of disaster.  Meanwhile, this unity succeeds in keeping the Muslim Arabs at bay, however not the Ottoman Turks. This enmity is to continue for many more centuries. This is where Hogarty -apparently- will continue the 15th century into the next installment. I cannot wait.

More Europe from its origins:
A history of Europe (3),
Cultural shift in the High Middle Ages,
A history of Europe (2),
Podcast with pictures - Europe from its origins,
A history of Europe (1).
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