A History of the Low Countries (Palgrave Essential by Paul Arblaster

By Paul Arblaster

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are 3 rather small nations whose contribution to Europe's fiscal, religious and inventive historical past has been vast. Their histories can't be written in isolation from each other, or from their neighbours.

In the 1st complete historic survey of the Benelux zone to be written in English, Paul Arblaster describes the entire sweep of the heritage of the Low nations, from Roman frontier provinces via to the institution of the 3 constitutional monarchies of the current day. during this revised and up to date re-creation, Arblaster:

? comprises the most recent scholarship and up to date occasions, bringing the tale correct as much as today
? presents clean insurance of immigration, multiculturalism, and the resurgence of nationalism within the Low Countries
? deals a quick dialogue of the increase of secularism in Western Europe and the way this has affected the Benelux region
? outlines the nations' contemporary fiscal successes and failures
? contains a new record of political events and governments on the grounds that 1918

A heritage of the Low Countries is perfect for these looking a concise and readable advent to the historical past of a area which, for hundreds of years, has been on the crossroads of Western Europe.

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THE EMPIRE OF THE WEST RENEWED, 800–1018 One of the most large-scale medieval renovations of Roman life was the reinstitution of the Western Empire as the Holy Roman Empire, first under the Frankish Charlemagne, and later under the Saxon Otto. In each case, the pope crowned the emperor in Rome, but the emperor claimed supreme authority over the whole Christian people, bishops and pope included. ’ Although in practice imperial power was often very limited, the Holy Roman Empire lasted for almost 1000 years, up to the French Revolution.

It is not clear what continuity, if any, there was between the Frisians of Roman times and those of the Middle Ages. They left no written records of their own and are mentioned only in foreign sources. The bias of the Frankish perspective 29 A HISTORY OF THE LOW COUNTRIES which provides most of the written record is indicated by consistent reference to the rulers of the Frisians as ‘counts’ or ‘dukes’, where the scantier English sources speak of ‘kings’. In the late seventh and early eighth centuries Utrecht was the main residence of the Frisian kings.

Caesar had seen the gods of the Gauls as recognizably similar to those of the Graeco-Roman pantheon, with Gaulish equivalents of Mercury, Apollo, Mars, Jupiter and Minerva. Particular groves or springs were seen as holy, but this was not an unfamiliar concept to the invaders. Once Roman rule was established, those who gained citizenship were encouraged to worship the gods of Rome. At certain times they might be required to sacrifice to deified emperors, and they were forbidden to take part in druidic rituals, but the Romans otherwise respected the gods of the locality.

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