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How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic… (1995)

af Thomas Cahill

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5,362731,427 (3.69)101
The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe. Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.… (mere)
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» Se også 101 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 72 (næste | vis alle)
2013 (my review can be found on the LibraryThing page linked)
http://www.librarything.com/topic/160515#4377757
  dchaikin | Sep 26, 2020 |
I borrowed the book from the library to learn about St Patrick. By reading it I have a good idea of history from the fall of Roman empire. The little backwater Ireland and the scribes in the monasteries played a big part in saving much literature and historical bible texts. I now have a great admiration for St Patrick and the tenacity of the Irish people. He was the right influential leader and the right time. Turned them from fighting to loving Christians with a heart for God. A magic book, written in an easy style, teaching about history and illuminating historical influences and key people. ( )
  GeoffSC | Jul 25, 2020 |
This is one of my wife's favorite books (Carol Kendall). It tells of Patrick, who was kidnapped from England and was a hungry cold slave in Ireland for 6 years. He prayed a lot. Then he had a dream that his ship was waiting. He walked 200 miles and escaped back home to England.

But he could not rest. He had the urge to go back to Ireland to teach them about Jesus. They founded monasteries and devoured learning, copying classical books. Meanwhile, Europe was being overrun by barbarians as the Roman civilization collapsed.

Ireland sent missionaries back to England and the continent, taking their books with them. If it hadn't been for these books being copied and preserved in Ireland, we would have lost most of the Latin corpus. Hebrew and Greek would have largely survived, but it is because of the Irish missionaries that we have the Latin works.

Reading this book at the same time I am in the middle of reading [b:History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire|19200877|History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Annotated)|Edward Gibbon|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386229836s/19200877.jpg|47478742] was a little bit difficult because a large part of this book is background material, that is, the decline of the Roman civilization.

Table of Contents
Introduction: How Real is History
1: The End of the World: How Rome Fell - and Why
2: What was Lost: The Complexities of the Classical Tradition
3: A Shifting World of Darkness: Unholy Ireland
4: Good News from Far Off: The First Missionary
5: A Solid World of Light: Holy Ireland
6: What was Found: How the Irish Saved Civilization
7: Is There any Hope (Thoughts on our future)
Pronunciation Guide
Bibliographical Sources
Chronology
Acknowledgments
Index ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
A fascinating book about the preservation of most classical literature and even literacy during the Dark Ages between the fifth and tenth centuries. I especially liked how it was liberally sprinkled with period poetry that gave a great deal of insight into the attitudes of the Romans in late antiquity and the Irish of the Dark Ages.

I also discovered what is now one of my all-time favorite quotes at the beginning of the first chapter: "Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love." -- Reinhold Niebuhr

I also loved this poem by a scribe in medieval Ireland, which this book quoted in full:

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye,
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

I would recommend this to anyone wondering about how the Dark Ages became the Middle Ages, or to anyone with a love of books and the unlikely story of their survival. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
A fascinating book about the preservation of most classical literature and even literacy during the Dark Ages between the fifth and tenth centuries. I especially liked how it was liberally sprinkled with period poetry that gave a great deal of insight into the attitudes of the Romans in late antiquity and the Irish of the Dark Ages.

I also discovered what is now one of my all-time favorite quotes at the beginning of the first chapter: "Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love." -- Reinhold Niebuhr

I also loved this poem by a scribe in medieval Ireland, which this book quoted in full:

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye,
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

I would recommend this to anyone wondering about how the Dark Ages became the Middle Ages, or to anyone with a love of books and the unlikely story of their survival. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (6 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Cahill, Thomasprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Donnelly, DonalReadermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Graaf, Renée deOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however, virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. -- Reinhold Niebuhr
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On the last, cold day of December in the dying year we count as 406, the river Rhine froze solid, providing the natural bridge that hundreds of thousands of hungry men, women, and children had been waiting for.
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So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.
Wherever they went the Irish brought with them their books, many unseen in Europe for centuries and tied to their waists as signs of triumph, just as Irish heroes had once tied to their waists their enemies' head. Wherever they went they brought their love of learning and their skills in bookmaking. In the bays and valleys of their exile, they reestablished literacy and breathed new life into the exhausted literary culture of Europe.
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The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe. Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.

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