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The European dark age and the war against paganism

As said before, western Christian civilization got indeed a very poor starts. The lost of military capabilities in the Roman empire creates a situation  where incappable to fight against local brigands, pict scottish invader and german tribue. Despite their small numerical number, german warrior was accepted as King and the western world submit to their authorities. Anglo-saxon invades the Great Brittany and the celtic local Britain had to face an ethic cleaning as so we can not find any celtic genes in current British people. The briatin celtes immigrates to Scottland, Wales and French Brittany. The force of the fight is developped in the King Arthur legends under the background of (warrior) nordic paganism against christian (political) ideology. Pagan win the military war but Christian win the propaganda.

In the 500 AD France, the King Clovis Ier converts to catholicism and develops the most powerful catholic Kingdom. In 732 AD, Charles the martel stops the muslim invasion in 688 AD and by preventing the islamisation of Europe, the Frank Kingdom become the champion of the catholic Christian culture. His grandson, Charlemagne starts war against the saxons in Germany in 773 AD. The german invasion was followed by force conversion. During the Bloody Verdict of Verden, in 782, Charlemagne beheaded 4500 saxons to revert back to paganism. The war was long more than 30 years. It might have leaded to 1 million deathes like the Gaullic War of Jules Ceasar and the capitulation of the German world to the catholic belief. Then, Charlemagne fight the Slave, the Avar in Hungary and the Vicking Danes in Denmark.

The victory over german pagan did not stop the war. German invasion were followed by Viking invasion coming from as far than Scandinavia from the 8th to 10th. But, the Viking finally accepts the catholic faith and with the lost of their gods. They lost their habits of raiding.

Snorri Sturluson in the saga of St. Olafr chapter 73, describes the brutal process of Christianisation in Norway: “…those who did not give up paganism were banished, with others he (St. Olafr) cut off their hands or their feet or extirpated their eyes, others he ordered hanged or decapitated, but did not leave unpunished any of those who did not want to serve God (…) he afflicted them with great punishments (…) He gave them clerks and instituted some in the districts.”

 

The roman empire limits itself to the German border. The catholic Christian civilisation extends itself to all part of Europe. The catholic christian world was bordered by the pacific orthodoxe christian byzantin roman world developed from turkey and extend into the slave russian world. The only exception is Spain were Muslim dispareas in 1492 with the fail of Granada.

The medevial catholic Europe

The catholic culture enjoys the advantage of isolation and centralised itself under the pope in Rome. With the division of the empire of Charlemagne between his sons, the catholic world enjoys the benefit of a multiple state in a single cultural world. In XI century, European speaks many languages but the clerical and the educate noble speaks latine and later French which guarantees communication and diplomacy inter marriage inside King Families. This unity of the noble class face is in sharp contrast to the disunity of common people who are separated by languages and traditions.

Many case of European war came from unification by marriage followed by a rebellion of the people.  The western part of France and England got unified by marriage of the heirest Eleanor of Aquitaine with the King of England Henry II. And, it leads to 100 years of War between France and England. The war end up by the acquisition by the Kingdom of France, the part of France inherit by the English King. A similar situation took place in the XVI century when the Hasbourg emperor Charles Quint inherit Austria, Netherland, the French Burgondy and Spain. Charles Quint grows up in the low countries(Netherland) but in 1517, he inherits of the Kingdom of Spain. He decided to relocate itself in Spain. His son Philips II grows up as a Spanish catholic King during a time while the low countries move to calvinist christian beliefs

The States-General of the Dutch provinces, united in the 1579 Union of Utrecht, passed an Oath of Abjuration of their Spanish-based king, who was also Sovereign over the Netherlands, in 1581. The Netherlands at this time had been a personal union under King Philip since the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549; he was lord of each separate Dutch Province (e.g., Duke of Guelders and Count of Holland). Nevertheless, the Dutch forces continued to fight on, and increasingly used their substantial naval resources to plunder Spanish ships and blockade the Spanish-controlled southern provinces.

The outcome became the independence of the Netherland in a separate state.

Now, let looks more to the political situation of Europe. Europe did have many wars but most war was fight with mercenary and knight army of very low effective. In 1346, during the battle of Crecy considered to by the first major battle of Hundred Years War, the 10 000 men of the British defeats a French Army of 35000 men of the French army. The population of France was 20 millions and Great Britian 5 millions. In 1453, the battle of Castillon endep up by the battle of the 100 years war with 6000 Britishs against 10 000 mens. To put those effective in perspectives in 1219-21 AD, the mongol invades Persia with an army 250 000 cavaltry. Persia got an army of 400 000 mens. In 200 AD, during the second Punic war, the roman lost 200 000 mens against Hannibal. During 52 BC battle of Alesia, Jules Caesar defeat Vercingetory Gaullist army of 200 000 mens with an 40 000 army. In 1812 AD, the French emperor Napoleon Ier lost the invasion of Russia with an army of 850000 mens.

The European feudal order was based on a class of warrior knight which had enslaved peasons and force them to pay taxes. The numerous peasants frequently rebels against tax excess but never master fighting skills and so rebellion were always break down. In the classic world, Athena and Roma were defended by peasant/legionary eager to defend their rights and their lands and have the capacity to mobilize most of their men for the war. Medieval war could have generate in national war but it never happens. War was made by knight and then by professional standing army of mercenaries. It makes us consider the new organize of european social power. European Knight fight each other but were submitted to the authorities of the Church and the pope. Pope and high cardinal were also choosen between nobles famillies. The Church structure Europe under its diplomacy. The Church had the capacities to influence the people by the Sunday mass. Warrior noble wre challenged by the Church who hold most of the lands and integrate a large number of individuals. The Church was the real center of power and the factor to resolve most conflicts by diplomaticy and internal politics.

Inside the source, another kind of competition took place, this competition was not military but politics.

In Matthew 12.33-37 (Lc 6.44-45), Jesus fixes the new objectives in term of achievement:

33] Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
[34] O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
[35] A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
[36] But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
[37] For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

 

The gospel is cleared on the objectifs. The objectif are not to win war. They are not either to produce more. The “good fruits are words. What matters is to say the right words in a nice manner. In so on, most of the competition for power stops to be military but politics. Priest has the right to be listened and influence all european court. By the secret of the confession, the church could gather critical information about european matters and than had the capacity to set up diplomatic arrangement to solve major conflicts. The church also set up the morale and could excommuniate rebellious King. Then, it become clear that the Church was the right place to do a political carrier. In France, The Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu, became the Secretary of the State in 1616, and the real leader of France under the Reign of the passive King Louis XIII

 

In 1614, the clergymen of Poitou elected Richelieu as one of their representatives to the States-General. There, he was a vigorous advocate of the Church, arguing that it should be exempt from taxes and that bishops should have more political power. He was the most prominent clergyman to support the adoption of the decrees of the Council of Trent throughout France; the Third Estate (commoners) was his chief opponent in this endeavour. At the end of the assembly, the First Estate (the clergy) chose him to deliver the address enumerating its petitions and decisions. Soon after the dissolution of the States-General, Richelieu entered the service of King Louis XIII's wife, Anne of Austria, as her almoner.

Richelieu advanced politically by faithfully serving Concino Concini, the most powerful minister in the kingdom. In 1616, Richelieu was made Secretary of State, and was given responsibility for foreign affairs. Like Concini, the Bishop was one of the closest advisors of Louis XIII's mother, Marie de MÚdicis.

[…]

After the death of the King's favourite, the duc de Luynes, in 1621, Richelieu began to rise to power quickly. Next year, the King nominated Richelieu for a cardinalate, which Pope Gregory XV accordingly granted on 19 April 1622. Crises in France, including a rebellion of the Huguenots, rendered Richelieu a nearly indispensable advisor to the King. After he was appointed to the royal council of ministers in April 1624, he intrigued against the chief minister, Charles, duc de La Vieuville. In August of the same year, La Vieuville was arrested on charges of corruption, and Cardinal Richelieu took his place as the King's principal minister.

Richelieu alienate the pope by supporting the Swiss protestant Rebellion.In 1641, the pope nominate a new cardinale Jules Mazarin which succeed to Richeulieu in influencing the Kingdom of France.

So, it can be consider that the Catholic Church did achieve the nature of the power struggle to end up a world rule by military achievement, a world were city state produced warrior in order to destroy neighbor opposing city states. Power stops to be a matter of warfare but a question of politics. The ecclesiastic political network is underground hidden network where real decisions are taken with the highest secrecy to avoid the risk of lost of respectability. So, in a laic anti-church dominant European culture, the church are more often accused to nefaste deed like for example the destruction of Indian culture in South America. The church did have plan to Christianize Latin American Indian but it does not mean that they politically instrument the destruction of a culture. On the opposite on those days, the Church did rather work out on the cultural mixity to help a foreign culture to integrate Christian values and not its pure replacement by a catholic Hispanic culture. The culture destruction should be on account on the catholic belief itself and the less educated of the Catholics.  There are a lot of indices to make us believe that the top decision makers of the Church lost conviction and faith during the course of their carreer. I will develop this thesis in the study of the pope Leo X, the catholic pope who rules during the start of the protestant reform. Leo X has been called the pagan pope due principally by his large mecenat and drawing of the ST Pierre of Roma cathedral.  Leo X orders a large number of pagan inspired religious themes. He is said to have declared “ This myth of Jesus Christ has served us very well”. He is also the initiator of the indulgences: entrance ticket to reserve a place in the paradise. The right that the church grant itself in order to finance the large mecenate projects of the pope in Roma, creates a general hostile feeling against the pope and trigger the start of the largest revolt of the producing class: the protestant reformation.

 

Fiscal revolt and the rise of the producing class

In 1381, the peasant revolt against an increase of taxation needed to finance the hundred year war in France. The peasant larger in a large number and enter in London where they proceed with the execution of notable and tax collector. The chief rebellious obtain an audience with the King where he was arrested and executed.

The rebellion was broken down by the King army but ultimately lead to the constitution of a parliament and the participation of the commercants in the establishment of the Kingdom budget.

England was the first country to tolerate the participation and representation of business people in the political sphere. Parallely in the XI century, the King instore of a tribunal and establish a juridical system 700 years after its collapse with the western roman empire.

In