Monday, May 09, 2005

History of Germany

History of Germany. This is a general overview to the history of Germany.

From the site:

From their first appearance in the history of the world the Germans represented the principle of unchecked individualism, as opposed to the Roman principle of an all-embracing authority. German history in the Middle Ages was strongly influenced by two opposing principles: universalism and individualism. After Arminius had fought for German freedom in the Teutoburg Forest the idea that the race was entitled to be independent gradually became a powerful factor in its historical development. This conception first took form when the Germanic states grew out of the Roman Empire. Even Theodoric the Great thought of uniting the discordant barbarian countries with the aid of the leges gentium into a great confederation of the Mediterranean. Although in these Mediterranean countries the Roman principle finally prevailed, being that of a more advanced civilization, still the individualistic forces which contributed to found these states were not wasted. By them the world-embracing empire of Rome was overthrown and the way prepared for the national principle. It was not until after the fall of the Western Empire that a great Frankish kingdom became possible and the Franks, no longer held in check by the Roman Empire, were able to draw together the tribes of the old Teutonic stock and to lay the foundation of a German empire. Before this the Germanic tribes had been continually at variance; no tie bound them together; even the common language failed to produce unity. On the other hand, the so-called Lautverschiebung, or shifting of the consonants, in German, separated the North and South Germans. Nor was German mythology a source of union, for the tribal centres of worship rather increased the already existing particularism. The Germans had not even a common name. Since the eighth century most probably the designations Franks and Frankish extended beyond the boundaries of the Frankish tribe. It was not, however, until the ninth century that the expression theodisk (later German Deutsch), signifying "popular," or "belonging to people" made its appearance and a great stretch of time divided this beginning from the use of the word as a name of the nation.

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