He is also a classicist, scholar, philosopher, and fine teller of tales, and his delightful book is not as immodest as its title. Cahill focuses on the years between the collapse of Rome in the fifth century and the beginning of the Middle Ages, between the end of the ancient world and the beginning of the medieval. During this tumultuous period, the literature of classical Greece and Rome might well have been lost had it not been for the Irish. Because Cahill believes that histories have been written largely by Anglo-Saxon Protestants who have ignored the Celtic-Catholic contribution to Western civilization, this is the story he wishes to tell.
Pinterest Praise "Charming and poetic An entirely engaging, delectable voyage into the distant past, a small treasure.
For its portrait of St. Patrick alone, it will resonate in the memory. When we think of peoples as civilized or civilizing, the Egyptians and the Greeks, the Italians and the French, the Chinese and the Jews may all come to mind. The Irish are wild, feckless, and charming, or morose, repressed, and corrupt, but not especially civilized.
If we strain to think of "Irish civilization," no image appears, no Fertile Crescent or Indus Valley, no brooding bust of Beethoven.
The simplest Greek auto mechanic will name his establishment "Parthenon," thus linking himself to an imagined ancestral culture.
Ireland, a little island at the edge of Europe that has known neither Renaissance nor Enlightenment—in some ways, a Third World country with, as John Betjeman claimed, a Stone Age culture had one moment of unblemished glory. For, as the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe matted, unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of western literature—everything they could lay their hands on.
These scribes then served as conduits through which the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe, newly settled amid the rubble and ruined vineyards of the civilization they had overwhelmed. Without this Service of the Scribes, everything that happened subsequently would have been unthinkable.
Without the Mission of the Irish Monks, who single-handedly refounded European civilization throughout the continent in the bays and valleys of their exile, the world that came after them would have been an entirely different one—a world without books.
And our own world would never have come to be. Not for a thousand years—not since the Spartan Legion had perished at the Hot Gates of Thermopylae had western civilization been put to such a test or faced such odds, nor would it again face extinction till in this century it devised the means of extinguishing all life.
As our story opens at the beginning of the fifth century, no one could foresee the coming collapse. But to reasonable men in the second half of the century, surveying the situation of their time, the end was no longer in doubt: It never occurred to them that the building blocks of their world would be saved by outlandish oddities from a land so marginal that the Romans had not bothered to conquer it, by men so strange they lived in little huts on rocky outcrops and shaved half their heads and tortured themselves with fasts and chills and nettle baths.
As Kenneth Clark said, "Looking back from the great civilizations of twelfth-century France or seventeenth-century Rome, it is hard to believe that for quite a long time—almost a hundred years—western Christianity survived by clinging to places like Skellig Michael, a pinnacle of rock eighteen miles from the Irish coast, rising seven hundred feet out of the sea.
Many historians fail to mention it entirely, and few advert to the breathtaking drama of this cultural cliffhanger. This is probably because it is easier to describe stasis classical, then medieval than movement classical to medieval.
At all events, I know of no single book now in print that is devoted to the subject of the transition, nor even one in which this subject plays a substantial part. In looking to remedy this omission, we may as well ask ourselves the big question:"How the Irish Saved Civilization is a shamelessly engaging, effortlessly scholarly, utterly refreshing history of the origins of the Irish soul and its huge contribution to Western culture For its portrait of St.
Patrick alone, it will resonate in the memory.". How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe is a non-fiction historical book written by Thomas Cahill.
Cahill argues a case for the Irish people 's critical role in preserving Western Civilization from utter destruction by the Huns and the Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Author: Thomas Cahill.
How the Irish Saved Civilization Summary & Study Guide Thomas Cahill This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of How the Irish Saved Civilization.
HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION. THE UNTOLD STORY OF IRELAND'S HEROIC ROLE FROM THE FALL OF ROME TO TH RISE OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE By Thomas Cahill New York: Doubleday, ISBN # pages.
Comments by Bob Corbett November I chanced upon this book at a YMCA book fare a couple months ago. HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION. THE UNTOLD STORY OF IRELAND'S HEROIC ROLE FROM THE FALL OF ROME TO TH RISE OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE By Thomas Cahill New York: Doubleday, ISBN # pages.
Comments by Bob Corbett November I chanced upon this book at a YMCA book fare . How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe is a non-fiction historical book written by Thomas Cahill.
Cahill argues a case for the Irish people 's critical role in preserving Western Civilization from utter destruction by the Huns and the Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Franks, Angles, Saxons, Ostrogoths, etc.).Author: Thomas Cahill.