The transition from religion to the rationality contained in the mechanics of the reason of capital was more like the co-existence of religion with ever expanding attributes of the reason of capital. Priests and monks have been the most actively involved in the shaping of the new or giving birth anew to the old that had been lost for some 1000 years. The higher echelons of the clergy were nevertheless very closely intertwined and collaborating with the nobility to fill any gap that might have let any opposition dilute their power.
Five trends were at work, reinforcing each other, along the whole 500 years of Early-Modernity:
1.1. The discovery of luxuries
From the end of the 12th century till the end of the 14th century the crusades acted like a beam of light informing, the members of the Western aristocracy who took part in those military expeditions ordered by pope Urban II in 1095 in exchange of 'papal sin forgiving certificates' called 'indulgences', about the advanced level of civilization in Muslim lands. Having been bred into believing their indisputable moral superiority Western aristocrats discovered to their great astonishment that they were quite unpolished indeed compared to the sophistication of those infidel mid-easterners. So following an initial burst of violence when they pillaged, raped, killed and burnt all that was standing (1), during the first two crusades, once back home they felt drawn towards the luxuries and the knowledge that they had observed at the hands of those infidels. Later crusades were gradually less cruel and adventurers bit by bit established the marches of long distance trade between the Arab Middle-East and Western Europe.
1.2. From plunder to long distance trade
Knowing nothing else than a coarse way of life back home the European aristocracy felt impelled to possess the discovered Muslim luxuries. Initially they took possession of those through plunder. Their plunder kind of laid the groundwork for later long distance trade to satisfy that need of possession on a more regular basis. It all started on a very modest scale. Goods plundered or purchased from Arab merchants in the Middle-East were shipped by boat to Venice that at the time was a protectorate of Constantinople (2). Once unloaded in Venice these goods were transported on carts drawn by oxes to the seats of annual fairs in the Champagne region from where they would be sold to merchants from all over Europe. But this mechanism that I just described did not exist apriori. In reality it appeared more as the conclusion of one or two centuries of trading trials. One must try to imagine the true nature of the realities of feudalism to start to understand how complicated indeed it must have been to go to the Middle-East by foot to buy stuff, carry it back to Northern France, and finally find rich aristocratic buyers to whom to sell that stuff. The whole process was limited to the commerce of luxuries for a limited group of buyers composed by the aristocracy and the new rich merchants who were the only ones who had the means to pay for anything. This initial phase corresponds to early merchant or commercial capitalism. The production phase of early modernity would follow Later on, mostly concentrated in France, it was also focused on luxuries to be sold to the European aristocracy and the new rich merchants. It’s from that production phase of early modernity (manufactures) that France got to specialize in luxuries and because of that still largely controls the conception of fashion and its distribution around the world today.
Having suffered repetitive invasions from the North and the East, from the fall of the Roman Empire to medieval times, people had concentrated around the manor-forts of the local knights where they rushed to find protection when danger arose. In exchange for this protection they traded-in their freedom or part of it which explains how the knight could count on the free labor from the people living around his fort. Furthermore the exchanges with the Mediterranean following the rise of Islam had been cut off isolating Europe and driving it deeper into localism. This convinced the historian Henry Pirenne that "Without Islam, the Frankish Empire would probably never have existed, and Charlemagne, without Muhammad, would be inconceivable." (3)
Commerce in this environment was limited to the exchange of rare surpluses between the locals. Economic historians (4) explain that the jump from such a condition of localism to long distance trade has been the turning point leading to the emergence of capitalism and modernity. This jump was made possible because the emergence of cities and markets drove a chain of events that acted as the fertile ground upon which the crusades could then successfully integrate long distance trade.
It all started with an increase in population along the 11th century (short burst of warming climate?) that concluded with the emergence of cities that put in motion a dynamic including commerce, crafts, social groupings and demands by the burghers for more freedom from the aristocracy and the church.
The growth of population made life even more miserable than it already was for the serfs and slaves around the manors of the landlords. Those who fled found spaces of freedom at the edge of the domains or around ecclesiastic centers and to survive turned to gardening and crafting. Becoming more numerous in one settlement some of them started trading their surplus against the surpluses of neighboring settlements. The growth of this primitive trade gradually fostered coherent local geographical areas that themselves started to trade with other neighboring local areas. A local geographic area is a kind of geographical circle which center is within less than one day of walking distance (go and back) for all its inhabitants (radius of 15-25 km). The center is the market place of the local area where merchants purchased and sold goods:
Coherent regional exchange centers, based on exchanges between local area markets, developed into zones reaching over 100 km in diameter. Such regional centers started then to develop exchanges with their own neighboring regional centers allowing for the absorption of their surplus by others as well as satisfying unmet needs within their own borders. At this stage of development of 'super regional markets', exchanges jumped the long haul with annual trade fairs. Merchants now came from very far away. The famous Champagne fairs, in the 14th century, for example attracted merchants from the Italian city states of Venice, Genoa,... (over 1000 km away) who exchanged their own wares but also luxuries they had purchased from Arab merchants (including goods coming from China and India), others came from as far away as middle and Eastern Europe.
This pattern of exchanges, that gradually started to develop in the 11th centuries, gave Continental Western-Europe a coherent global exchange system over all its territory that was reaching maturity in the 15th -16th centuries. In the eyes of economic historians this kind of market network was the infrastructure upon which capitalism and Modernity developed and thrived. This kind of market network was unique to Europe and this is being invoked as the reason why capitalism emerged in Europe and not in China or India for example.
The crusades awakened the aristocracy to greed and want for the luxuries they discovered in the Middle-East. This is what gave rise to the emergence of a new economic demand for luxuries. Very primitive local productions could not satisfy those newly emerged needs and long distance trade appeared thus the only way to arrange an offer of goods that could satisfy that new demand. But roads were not safe and it was thus out of the question to travel with gold to pay the sellers. That’s why initially the goods were simply stolen or plundered and then shipped to Venice or to Sicily from where they were reshipped to Genoa. The Arabs who were trading with India and China were using financial instruments unknown about in Europe. They used Letters of Credit as payment to the seller and avoided thus the risk of carrying cash or gold on unsafe roads. The seller was satisfied because he could negotiate the payment of his goods against presentation of that piece of paper to the banker in his own locale. But for that local banker to issue a payment against reception of that Letter of Credit he needed to have absolute trust in the emitting bank. In practice those early bankers had offices in different locales. Only with an office or a representative in the locale of the buyer could his office or representative in the locale of the seller issue a payment without risk. That system of payment was thus based on an existing banking network.
Such a system was in-existent in Europe and the initial trials at setting it up provoked the ire of the church. The Christian church had basically the same attitude toward lending and money as Islam nowadays: no profits could be made from money. The sanction for a Christian was eventually to be burned at the stake if he was discovered practicing such a devilish act. This initiated the first round of conflicts between the church and the merchants. To solve the problem non-Christians were offered to take on this new banking activity.
The Jewish population was scattered all around Europe from the Middle-East, Italy, to the far reaches of Russia so their networks of parental relations extended to all those areas. In other words they were the 'people in the right place at the right time' to fulfill that new task without risking the wrath of the Christian church. Once procured through long distance trade those goods had to be distributed to their rich buyers around all of Europe. Here is where the emergence of cities came into play with its distribution of goods through markets.
Long distance trade could not possibly have been made possible without the borrowing of financial and exchange techniques from the Arabs, most important among them the bill of exchange and the tools to enact a double entry accountancy system. Seen on the scale of the European continent, feudalism was a very much lawless and insecure system. Traveling long distances with much gold to pay for long distance trade was indeed absolutely excluded. Merchants needed a working and trustworthy system of payment allowing them to trade by simple exchange of documents. The Arabs knew the Bill of Exchange since centuries and the crusades put Western Europe in contact with those instruments. The discipline and strictness imposed by the use of those instruments of commercial exchanges upon merchants, bankers and the others involved in long distance trade gradually fostered a more rational vision of the world, a vision that was dictated to them by the mechanics of the reason at the core of their invested capital. This is the determinant factor that would be leading the development of rationality along the following centuries. Descartes and the philosophers of the Enlightenment invented nothing new, they only put into words what had been evolving gradually into a practice that was already well established at the time of their debates.
But let's not forget that during feudalism, the church detained the only accepted truth and the church banned the practice of banks, loans and other financial techniques... In a first stage, merchants circumvented the interdict by hiding the working of their activities and finding subterfuges like hiring Templars. After the order of the Templars had been suspended by the French Kingdom they hired Jews. Judaism was indeed more pragmatic and did not forbid banking, interest rates, and commercial paper.
But with the growth of exchanges a conflict became inevitable. The resolution of this conflict was hastened by the fact that the clergy was utterly corrupt. As illustration of this corruption, by the end of the 17th century, the French church, for example, owned over 70% of all the land of the country that it had acquired through the sales of sin forgiving certificates that were called 'indulgences'; as in indulgence to the rules! Because of this corruption the clergy and its hierarchy became the target of the opposition of all social sectors and in the first decades of the 16th century reformed churches spread that emphasized a more personal relationship of the practitioners with the 'holy books'. The shaping of this more personal approach to the bible by reformed churches led gradually to more individualism and individualism is what ultimately shaped the entrepreneurial spirit that would dominate the whole of Modernity.
Reformation was not even. Calvinist Geneva was as brutally repressive as the church of Rome while reformist Holland was tolerant and very accommodating for merchants, artists, thinkers and in general all those having trouble with the authorities at home. This tolerance and greater acceptance of rationality allowed Flanders to attract the capital and knowledge that would help it dominate the capitalist world from the 15th to the end of the 16th century. But being under the rule of catholic Spain religious reform was brutally repressed. Cities like Antwerp were burned to the ground. Flemish merchants, early industrialists, and protestants had to flee north to Holland. This transfer of Flemish capital consecrated Holland as the center of the capitalist economy-world a position that it firmly held from the beginning of the 17th to late 18th century when economic power shifted to Britain.
As a general rule, the development of long distance commercial exchanges favored the emergence and growth of rational thinking in Europe and by the end of the 18th century, philosophers had made theirs the tenants of the mechanics at work in the reason of capital and rationality was made the functional philosophy of Modernity with science as its favorite tool-set.
1.3. The emergence of reason as the reason at work in capital
Individualism as the new cultural paradigm at work within the reason of capital and long distance trade was the determinant factor that initiated its practitioners, or more accurately, obliged its practitioners to submit to the necessities of its invested capital. Those investors discovered indeed that money, more particularly, invested money or money transformed into capital did not behave in the same fashion as common money. Money was available immediately for purchase while invested money or capital would only again become available eventually after the cycle of investment came to its end with the payment of all costs and the eventual profits attached to it. After repetition of the cycle of investment they observed that something peculiar seemed to happen to capital during the cycle of investment. Its mass could melt away or it could grow. Was it chance or was there something more at play?
Further repetitions of the cycle of investment taught them that it was definitely not a question of chance. The most curious and smart among the investors started to understand that there was a logic at play within invested capital. They understood that there was a risk involved and that the risk was fluctuating with the nature of the activity that was financed as well as with the level of seriousness and intelligence of its operators. Prudence was thus indispensable as well as some home work before the decision to invest. It was fast understood that investment was no lottery that there was a logic at play into capital and the winners at capital investment were thus considered to be bestowed with talent and hence worthy of their richness. Even for the holders of a Christianity that rejected profits made from money the idea that there were winners because of their talent amply justified the social differentiation that their capital gains projected on themselves and on society.
Multiplying one’s money had another definitive advantage for the winners over the losers. It allowed them to outspend the losers in donations to the church which gained them respect from all. It also gained them wider latitude from the church to push their own system of values. Everything was falling into place for individualism to thrive and the construction of manors and castles would follow which explains the growing demand for luxuries and non religious art.
1.4. Power or the coalescence of the clergy with the nobility.
New ideas matured slowly in the medieval mind and went largely undetected during their phase of maturation far away from the public sphere. It is only when ideas reached the public sphere that they encountered an eventual rejection by the powers of the day and the vested interests of the nobility and the church presented a firm front against deviations.
There was a sharp divide between each state or class, separating the privileged few from the unprivileged many, the rulers from the ruled. Below were the traders, artisans, and the farmers who were tilling the land; above were the landlords, the bureaucracy, and the clergy.
The idea of national unity, with all classes united to increase the well-being of the nation, was foreign to Medieval thought. The sole element of unity in public opinion was given by the Church that regarded Western Christendom as a single area. It demanded that respect be shown to the Christian creed and its moral code. Anyone who deviated from the accepted moral code was punished ...eventually by fire. Church and state were largely identical and there were no European nations in the modern sense of sovereign countries that determine their own economic, political, and social fates. The bureaucracy of the Christian empire was thus largely in command and its higher ranks were filed by the sons of the nobility. Both classes or states were indeed closely intertwined.
1.5. Rediscovery of the Greek classics
The collapse of the Western Roman Empire gave rise to localism. The roads disappeared under dirt, grass, and brush and the manuscripts lost their use soon to be forgotten. Nearly a thousand years later, as a consequence of long distance trade and the rediscovery of the Greek Classics in Muslim universities, collections of manuscripts saw the light anew. Their study by the monks and priests brought about a Renaissance of Classical studies in philosophy, in politics, in the sciences and in the arts that would turn the tide from medieval studies to a new reasoned and knowledge based age.
We have seen how reason was bolstered by the transformation of money into capital. Reason was simultaneously bolstered by the impact of the Greek Classics and Muslim science on the church. The first batch of translations came during the 12th century. It did not end there. It continued well into the 18th century with re-translations of old works and original translations of newly discovered works by Muslim scientists and philosophers.
As I wrote earlier: "The first European universities opened in the middle of the 12th century and by 1500 more than eighty had been established. Monks and priests officiated as professors. Soon the arts, medicine, mathematics, physics, chemistry,... were spreading the knowledge of Greece and the Muslims that would be branded as the Renaissance." Universities established themselves as centers of change but the Church remained the most important patron and repository of European scientific and scholarly thinking till after the Renaissance and the Reformation. The evolution of the Christian creed was now driven by the debates in the universities instead of the schools in cathedrals and seminaries.
The debates on the translated works opened the intellects to new horizons and the economic, cultural and intellectual paradigm was slowly moving away from a traditionally closed Augustinian view of Christianity toward a more open form of belief that gradually freed space for reason and science. Under the Augustinian creed the words in the Christian books transcended any principles of logic that figured in the works of Aristotle, Averroes, or others. But the debates in the universities slowly eroded the absoluteness of that Augustinian rule. St Thomas Aquinas appeared as the principal artisan of that change and the church gradually recognized his role in actualizing the creed to reason and societal evolution.
St Augustine held that the words of god as revealed by the books is what governs all creation. He called this the Eternal Law. "That Law which is the Supreme Reason cannot be understood to be otherwise than unchangeable and eternal."(5) St Thomas Aquinas added that in shaping reality the Eternal Law is augmented by human participation which acts like the Natural Law that completes the eternal law. Natural Law is discovered by reason and is based on 'first principles': "...that just as, in the speculative reason, from naturally known indemonstrable principles, we draw the conclusions of the various sciences, the knowledge of which is not imparted to us by nature, but acquired by the efforts of reason, so too it is from the precepts of the natural law, as from general and indemonstrable principles, that the human reason needs to proceed to the more particular determination of certain matters. These particular determinations, devised by human reason, are called human laws, provided the other essential conditions of law be observed...."(5). So natural law is derived from reason and applied by governments to societies.
St Thomas stipulated that human behavior, human reason, has to be directed by divine law as revealed in the Christian books and as such he posited that natural and human law can never be adequate by itself: "... for the knowledge of any truth whatsoever man needs divine help, that the intellect may be moved by God to its act."(5). St Thomas however believed that humans have the natural capacity to know many things without special divine revelation: "Now every form bestowed on created things by God has power for a determined actuality, which it can bring about in proportion to its own proper endowment; and beyond which it is powerless, except by a super added form, as water can only heat when heated by the fire. And thus the human understanding has a form, viz. intelligible light, which of itself is sufficient for knowing certain intelligible things, viz. those we can come to know through the senses."(5).
St Thomas Aquinas assimilated Aristotle into Catholic orthodoxy; integrating not only his metaphysics (dualism) as done by St Augustine but also his physics: "Synderesis is said to be the law of our mind, because it is a habit containing the precepts of the natural law, which are the first principles of human actions."(5).
The rediscovery of the Greek classics and their assimilation in Christianity was paralleled by the emergence of the reason of capital. In reality they fusioned and that fusion shaped the contours of Early-Modernity in economics, in culture and in the arts. The integration within the Christian Creed, by St Thomas during Early-Modernity, of the reason at work in capital as the natural law that complements the eternal law of god was really a master stroke. It allowed for the survival of Christianity while handicapping the formation of Modernity as the 'complete' worldview of the new emerging age of reason. Modernity has indeed always acted as if it were an 'incomplete' worldview.
Philosophers might have declared religion dead and its memory superfluous but, in my humble opinion, they were thinking along those lines because they had misunderstood and overstated the real nature of Modernity in the first place.
The reason at work in capital is merely a mechanical process of money transforming into invested capital and capital obeys the rules of that mechanical process. It does nothing more than that. The ones who follow the rules of that mechanical process succeed to accumulate financial means and they eventually transform those means into consumption or re-investment. This is where their actions are reflected in the societal mirror where they catch the eyes of other citizens. The result often is envy and the affirmation of greed in the minds of the viewers. Left free to proceed, after hundreds of years of practice, envy and greed unmistakably shaped unequal social relations. On one side one concludes that this state of affairs does not pertain a global vision of reality as in a worldview. On the other side one could rightly conclude that this social inequality does not bode well for the success of sharing a vision of reality by all. But in the end this makes no difference seen that no worldview had been developed in the first place.
Furthermore the formation of unequal social relations distracts the minds of thinkers which are captivated (captive) by the external signs taken by the financial means of those who successfully applied the mechanical process at work in the reason of capital. Not only do they have to obey the orders of their financiers their minds have also been hijacked by this captivation and so their minds come to abdicate their free will. Their minds are now prisoners of the reason at work in capital and will automatically integrate the thinking of their jailer into their own visions. That's how the reason at work in capital morphs into rationalism with science as its tool-set. As such rationalism does not offer an all encompassing narrative about what reality is all about. It is merely a functional appendage to the mechanical process at work in the reason of capital that has been fertilized with envy and greed and as a result takes over the working of the mind.
Having never attained the completeness of a worldview Modernity had to tolerate the perpetuation of Christianity. The people would simply not have accepted the elimination of religion without its replacement by another narrative about the working of the whole of reality. Modernity was not such a narrative and this explains why religion could survive as an answer to the individuals' need for meaning. I'll explore this subject more systematically later on because it is central to my thesis concerning the transition from Modernity to After-Modernity.
1.6. The sanctification of art
The artist as a commissioned agent of the new rich is what finally gave its 'aura' to the word art. In The Collins English Dictionary the word aura is given in a parapsychology context as “an invisible emanation produced by and surrounding a person or object: alleged to be discernible by individuals of supernatural sensibility”. It has gone something like that for the word art in history.
The “invisible emanation ... alleged to be discernible by individuals of supernatural sensibility” only established itself as the definition of art in later modern times. Initially the definition of the word art has followed the use assigned to it by those who ordered the work. To the agents of religions, such works were intended as instruments to advertise the religious creed. The visual renderings of religious narratives were imposed upon the populations as being sacred. It was, and still is, a sacrilege to steal or desecrate a religious work of art (6). The Collins English Dictionary gives the following definition of the word sacrilege: “the act or an instance of taking anything sacred for secular use” [ETYMOLOGY: 13th Century: from Old French sacrilège, from Latin sacrilegium, from sacrilegus temple-robber, from sacra sacred things + legere to take] ). This definition and the etymology of the word leave no place whatsoever for doubt on what was going on. The work of art had been infused, if I may say so, with the authority of the church that manifested itself in the last instance, let us never forget that, through its physical power to burn and to kill whomever did not follow or obey its intellectual power and its message. In other words the work had been sanctified.
This totalitarian reality has been impressed on the brains of Europeans for centuries (4th to 19th centuries). Our late discourse about human rights and the effects of totalitarianism upon the attitudes and behaviors of people who suffered for example under 30 years of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship give us a glimpse as to the reality of the damages that have been inflicted by Christianity upon European societies and individuals. It's in this totalitarian context that art has acquired for Westerners its character of absolutism. It was not so much the “invisible emanation ... alleged to be discernible by individuals of supernatural sensibility” that gained art the respect of all, it was the fear to be burned at the stake that gained that respect. No other society has to my knowledge bestowed such a sacred and absolutist character on art productions.
In contrast to the agents of religions, the aristocracy and the new rich acquired art works to decorate their walls. The subjects of such paintings distanced themselves from religious art and became closer to the lives of the new buyers. For sure, the decoration of their interiors was only the apparent motivation of their art purchases. Their real motivation was more in line with the absolute respect for the image of art that had been ingrained in their minds through fear of the authority of Christian totalitarianism that had gained for art such a reverence from all in Europe. Such a feeling or such an attitude of profound respect was usually reserved only for the sacred or divine.
Let us for a moment imagine what a prestige the new rich proud owners of paintings were gaining, or better, what a prestige they were feeling or thinking they were gaining through the decoration of their walls with art works of the sort that had been the exclusive privilege for centuries of that absolute and feared religious power. The art works, that were now entering the palaces, the castles and villas, were undoubtedly dressed in power clothes and were perceived as transmitting that power to their inhabitants .
Starting from this origin, the aristocracy and the new rich gradually imposed themselves as exclusive purchasers of art works. Along this process that took no more than two to three centuries and followed the inroads of rational enlightenment, visual art had relieved itself of most of the remnants of Christianity. Ironically this sanctification of art has not abated in the revolutionary years that demoted the church and the aristocracy from power. The nature of that respect gradually changed or to say it otherwise, the reasons why art was respected muted from the fear of Christian totalitarianism into the “invisible emanation... alleged to be discernible by individuals of supernatural sensibility”. But I fear that this 'invisible emanation' presented as the talent proper of the artist was only a stratagem for the logic of capital, for, it is indeed the market that has been instrumental in the success of this transformational process. Works that had been respected through fear now were respected for their market value. The invisible emanation, at the hands of artists, had succeeded to gain the fame of gold and artworks were now exchangeable on the market. In other words the gods of economic rationality had succeeded in displacing the gods of religion through a kind of alchemical manipulation.
A widespread idea would have it that those new gods of economic rationality have transformed such works of art into merchandises whose 'artistic' value has the gift to transform itself into gold when such work is put on the market. But the market is no more than the right environment for this alchemical reaction. To be successful, an alchemical transformation needs indeed the combination of a source to be transformed, a right environment and a right reagent. The source to be transformed is the work of art, the environment is the market, so what could be our reagent? The answer is quite straightforward, the reagent we look for is the reason of capital that cries for permanent increase of the capital base through profit generation. But the logic of capital is an abstract principle. It will thus guide its human practitioners to develop some sort of tools that will gradually impose the working of the alchemical reagent as being the way of nature. To put this bluntly the tools imposing the reagent as being the way of nature is the combination of PR techniques at the hands of the authoritative 'art world' that inscribes value to the works of its own choosing out of any necessity for artistic considerations.
1.7. The Early Modern visual art triad (15th-19th century)
The combination of individualism, the sanctification of art, the search for luxuries to decorate the walls of mansions and palaces and the search by capital holders for returns on their investments, all these, gave a new impetus to the image craft. Images to decorate walls started to relate to the individuality and the values of the new rich buyers:
With the Renaissance these 3 categories of images established the bourgeoisie (burghers) and its values as the obliged narrative of visual art. Individualism, materialism, private property, the glorification of material possessions were the obliged content of visual art works that had to justify in the eyes of all the differentiation between the winners at the capital game and the others. The form of that content was vastly influenced during the Renaissance by the rediscovery and reading of the Greek Classics. Perspective imposed itself in landscapes while numbers and the Golden Mean imposed themselves as the canons of portraiture. Amazingly all the talk in the artworld is exclusively about the Renaissance of Greek classical forms... but where is the talk about the change of the artwork's narrative? Could there be an ideological reason to hide this change of narrative?
The narrative and form of artworks will start to change again with the waning of early modernity and the emergence of high modernity in the 19th century.
1. Depictions of such violence and of cannibalism in Maara in 1098 were common in Western historic records until the 19th century but disappear in the 20th century when the West portrays its presence in other parts of the world as being an act of compassion and of justice. “In Maara our people boiled adult non-believers in buckets, fixed their children on sticks, and ate them roasted” were the words of chronicler Raoul de Caen. Muslim chroniclers had similar depictions and when Muslim schools teach such material it is but normal that antipathy for the west should be the norm. What is not normal is the Western camouflaging of the dark side of its own history that distorts Western populations present perception of the non-Western... in particular the Muslim in this case.
2. A very good presentation of the role of Venice is given in "Byzantium and Venice: A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations" by Donald M. Nicol (Cambridge University Press, 1988). Dimitri Obolensky gives a useful summary of the book.
3. Henry Pirenne in "Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade"
4. Among those who gave a systematic exposition of the process of emergence and growth of capitalism:
- Henri Pirenne. "Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade" and "A History of Europe: From the End of the Roman World in the West to the Beginnings of the Western States"
- Fernand Braudel built, upon Pirenne's work, the most exhaustive and compelling expose.
5. in the "Summa Theologica" by St. Thomas Aquinas.
6. In light of the definition of sacrilege it will be interesting to see what the Vatican finally decides to do with Iana Aleksandrovna Azhdanova.
Video of the week.
Happy People | Spring (part 1)