European Perceptions of Islam and America from Saladin to by Peter O’Brien (auth.)

By Peter O’Brien (auth.)

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Though unabashed emulators of the Greeks culturally, the Romans truly distinguished themselves in terms of military prowess and political integration by conquering and unifying the three smaller empires into which Alexander’s dissolved (and more). ”136 Thus along with the legendary Macedonian, Rome’s greatest emperors, Julius Caesar (ca. 100–44 BCE) and Augustus (63 BCE–14 CE) especially, have been celebrated by aspiring political universalists throughout Europe’s history. Dante famously enshrined the idea of universal empire and emperor in De Monarchia, likely written for the coronation of Henry VII (ca.

The former was highly personal, the latter impersonal. The Christian God cared about, listened to, and even interceded on behalf of man. Platonism’s divine intellect stood alone and aloof, unaffected by and uninterested in man. The Christian deity incarnated His Son so that fallen man could easily and personally identify with God and gain redemption. The divine for Platonists bordered on the ineffable and was accessible only through painstaking, abstract deliberation. Christianity obligated its followers to have faith in Scripture—one book.

Not untouched by all the calamities of this wretched age . . ”22 With time, however, the stranded Christians came to admire select attributes of the pagans and to make common cause with them. 23 The Church could take some solace in the extensive Christianization of encountered barbarians—something the venerated Catholic bishop, Augustine of Hippo, had predicted. But this offered only a jejune substitute for the shriveling influence of the Bishop of Rome. St. Peter’s successor had always professed greater ecclesiastical suzerainty over Christendom than he actually enjoyed.

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