Mitteleuropa: The Making of Europe Between Byzantium and the Latin West, CA. 800–1025

  • Charles R. Bowlus
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Shortly before his death in 1935 Henri Pirenne wrote, “It is therefore strictly correct to say that without Mohammed Charlemagne would have been inconceivable.”1 According to him, an expanding Islamic empire cut the symbiotic between the Greek East and the Latin West, bringing what had been a slow death of classical civilization to an abrupt end, and ushered in the Middle Ages. Almost thirty years later Francis Dvornik agreed both that outside forces had separated the Latin West from the Greek East, and that this separation was decisive in extinguishing classical civilization. Calling attention to Mitteleuropa (central Europe: the Carpathian Basin and the Balkans), he insisted that the migration of Avars and Slavs into the Roman province of Illyricum (ca. 550–600) had divided the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire well before the rise and expansion of Islam. “Illyricum,” he asserted, “instead of being a bridge between West and East, became the battle field on which the two forces of Christendom waged the first great struggles which led to that complete separation so fateful for the whole of Christendom and all of mankind.”2


Military Force Carpathian Basin Seventh Century Classical Civilization Late Antiquity 
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© Celia Chazelle and Felice Lifshitz 2007

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  • Charles R. Bowlus

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