Mohammed and Charlemagne

By Henri Pirenne
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"Mohammed and Charlemagne" by Henri Pirenne is a groundbreaking historical study that challenges the prevailing narrative of European history. Pirenne argues that the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent rise of the Byzantine and Islamic empires were not the primary causes of the so-called Dark Ages, but instead proposes a radical theory.

According to Pirenne, the real catalyst of this historical transition was the disruption of Mediterranean trade routes due to Arab conquests in the seventh century. He asserts that these conquests resulted in the severing of economic ties between Europe and the East, leading to the fragmentation of Europe into smaller regional economies and the development of feudalism.

The author further suggests that it was not until the emergence of Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire in the eighth century that Europe began to recover from this fragmented state. Charlemagne's efforts to revive Mediterranean trade and establish a centralized authority played a significant role in revitalizing Europe and laying the foundations for the later medieval period.

Pirenne's meticulous research and persuasive arguments challenge conventional wisdom, offering a fresh perspective on the historical forces that shaped medieval Europe. "Mohammed and Charlemagne" is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the intricate dynamics of medieval history and the impact of economic factors on the formation of civilizations.
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