Ars Bellica


The spread of western european monasticism


Monasticism spread later in western Europe, after the middle of the fourth century. Some of the oldest centers sprang up in France, where the monastic life could spread due to the conversion of the Franks to Catholicism. The Benedictine monasteries corresponds to a "second moment" of the monastic life in the western Europe. Irish monasticism found unique conditions of development, both for traditional communal ownership of land, which had been preserved in the island, and even for the adventurous spirit of the irish people: it is not surprising, therefore, that the monasteries of Irish descent spread in almost all the western Europe (at Fiesole, in the ninth century, we noticed an Irish bishop, San Donato, and other bishoprics were governed by the Irish in Northern Italy, from the sixth century). The Anglo-Saxon monasticism, which arose in England after the conversion work undertaken by Gregory the Great, was widespread outside the island: so, from the extreme lands of the West, achieved as last by the Gospel, derived a renewed development of Christianity in Europe.

Byzantine and Langobards Italy at the end of the sixth century


The map shows, with various approximations, the fracture produced in Italy with the descent of the Lombards, and perpetuated, even with all the successive variations, until the nineteenth century. From the name of the invaders the Po valley took the name of Longobardia (Lombardy), while the presence of officials of the Eastern Roman Empire in the central regions, subjected to the Byzantine Empire, gave the name to another italian region called Romagna (Romagna). The contacts between Ravenna and Rome took place through a strip of territory at the turn of the Via Flaminia, exposed to constant attacks of the Lombards. This critical situation facilitated the administrative autonomy of the Roman pontiff. The arrow indicates the area of origin of the invaders. It 'should be noted that Liguria, here referred as Byzantine land, passed to the Lombards during the reign of Rothari. The duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, separated from the rest of Lombard rule, had independent life.

The expansion of Islam


The map illustrates the stages of the Arab advance: first at the death of Muhammad (632, in red); then during the age of the electives caliphs (632-661, in orange); and finally under the dynasties of the Umayyads and the Abbasids (in yellow ). The green line indicates the boundaries of the Eastern Roman Empire when Islam began to spread out of Arabia, the red line the limits of the Persian Empire, at that time ruled by the Sassanids. This map confirms that the Sassanid Empire was totally absorbed by Islam, while the central part of the Byzantine Empire, resisted at the initial Arab offensive. The two arrows to Poitiers and Constantinople, marks the moments (between 718 and 732) when the entire Christianity seemed to be almost overwhelmed. The large arrow on the right indicates the direction in which the world of Islam was spread with fresh impetus after the advent of the Turks, turning mostly to Asia (in 1193, founding of the Sultanate of Delhi by Muhammad, with the subsequent penetration in Indonesia, and the foundation of the sultanates of Sumatra and Malacca).

The Holy Roman Empire at the death of Charlemagne


Within the territory of Holy Roman Empire, are shown, in red, the limits of the Frankish kingdom at advent of Charles (768). The achievements of Charles, took place in three directions: for Sassonia, Longobardia and Spain. Beyond the limits controlled by Charles are shown the regions in which have been extended the imperial influence, namely Serbia, Croatia, Pannonia, Moravia, Bohemia and Sorabia in the east, the Duchy of Benevento in the south, Iberia at the south-west and Brittany at West. The autonomy of this region is sufficiently indicative of the relationship still thick with the Britons of Wales. The area marked by crosses in Central Italy, indicates the area in which the administration was left to the pope. The area around Venice is still nominally subject to the Byzantine Empire and is marked in brown.