MIDBLS AGES 501 MIDDLE AGES
prisoned each day. On 20 June, 1920, the Arch- The term "Middle Ages" was used in this, its
diocese of Michoacaii ceded a large portion of its present sense, as early as 1639, by Rausin of Liege
territory for the formation of the Diocese of Tacam- in his "Leodium" (p. 103). Christopher Keller
bare, with Rt. Rev. Leopoldo Lara as its first bishop, followed in the footsteps of Rausin in "Historia
medii sevi a temporibus Constantini Magni ad Con- ' Middle Ages,— Meaning of Name.— ^By the stantinopolim a Turcis captam deducta/' published "Middle A^es" there is now commonly imderstood in Jena» 1688. Loescher mtroduced the word into the period mtervening between antiquity and mod- a German work published in the year 1725. Since em times, or between the Fall of the Roman Em- then, the expression has been in constant use in pire of the West in 476 and the capture of Con- pedasogical works, and gradually found its way stantinople by the Turks in 1453. Thus the Middle into literary productions. But not before the sec- Ages cover the period of about one thousand years ond half of tne eighteenth century does the term between the Ureco-Roman civilization and the appear in literary works, and the great writers wider diffusion of classical learning at the time of of that epoch in France as well as in Uermanv use the Renaissance. The very appellation Middle it seldom and with hesitancy. The French Academy, Ages seems to imply that they are an inter- the final authority in matters pertaining to the mediary period between two civilizations, a break French langua|;e, did not admit the term into the in the course of civilization, a time of darkness official repertoire of the language imtil the publi- separating the light of the Greco-Roman world cation of the sixth edition of its dictionary, in from the light of the modern world. A brief exami- 1835. It is not unlikely, as Kurth predicts, that nation into the origin of the term and a summary future lexicographers will discard the term "Middle statement of the nature and the achievements of Ages.
the Middle Ages will dispel this colossal error. Natxtrb and Achievements. — ^Not only was the
Our authority in this treatment will be Godfrey introduction of the philological term "Middle Ages"
Kurth, the eminent Belgian historian. into historiography imwarranted, but the implica-
Origin of the Term.— Originally, the term "Mid- tion that it is an appropriate name for an inter- dle Age was used philologically. In studying the mediary period is historically false. Far from development of the Latin tongue from its origin bein^ intermediary between the ancient and modern down to their own time, the pmlologists had noted civilizations, the Middle Ages are the beginning of its several epochs and had given each epoch a name, modern civilization, which began when the pagan The first epoch was that of the classical Latin, civilization of Rome collapsed. On the mms of which witnessed the birth of the masterpieces of pagan civilization new societies were built which Roman literature. It extended from the begin- were Christian in principle. These societies still ning of the Roman State down to the reign of stand on their original foundation, Christian Constantine the Great (312-337) . The second epoch morality. They were begun during the centuries was that of the barbarian Latin, when the Latin of the Middle Ages and continued to flourish dur- language was inherited and disfigured by the in- ixig subsequent centuries. We are the heirs of the vading Germanic tribes. It lasted down to the I^ddle Ages, not, as some would have it, the heirs reign of Charlemagne (742-814). The third period of Greece and Rome. Whatever of institutions and of Latinity began at the death of Charlema^e ideas is lasting in modern society has its roots deep and witnessed the birth of the Italian, Spanish, in the fertile soil of the first Christian centuries. French, and the other neo-Latin tongues. The The achievements of the Middle Ages are known three periods of Latinity were called respectively to students of history. The Middle Ages gradually the High, the Middle, and the Low Age. Later put an end to ancient slavery and called all men the Humanists extended the limits first assigned to freedom. Under the inspiration of the Church to the "Middle Age" of Latinity. They began to of the Middle Ages govemments and individuals look upon their own time as a fourth and new age emancipated their slaves, and the laws of Christian of Latinity. They loved to think that they had rulers encouraged and favored the suppression of restored the Latin tongue to its pristine purity, slavery. To loosen link by link the chain of slavery and they saw in the period beginriing with the was the work of centuries, which finally brought sixteenth century a new period of Latinity . Thence- about the complete and universal emancipation of forth they united the second and third periods, the slave. The Middle Ages rent the imperial unity both of which had marked the decline of the of the world and substituted the modern nation- Latin tongue, and called them the middle period, alities. The Middle Ages created the modern lan- Thus they extended the Middle Age of the Latin guages and thereby gradually eliminated the Latin, language to a period stretching from the decline These are the languages which we speak to-day and of the Roman Empire under Constantine the Great which hold imprecedented eminence in the world to the Renaissance. Thus the Middle Age of of thought. The Middle Ages accepted the Chris- Latinity became synonymous with declining tian Faith with love, and defended it vigorously Latinity. It was used in this sense by the and constantly, with word, pen, and sword. The Humaiiists, also by the French historian and Middle Ages made the papacy the most respected philologist Ducange (1610-1688) when he gave to institution of the world, and it was the papacy his celebrated dictionary the title of "Glossarium that saved civilization "by defending, in the name Medie et Infimse Latinitatis." of religion, the natural rights against the usurpa-
The historians borrowed the term "Middle Age" tions of the State, of the mlers, and even against from the philologists, and transferred it to the the people itself. It was the papacy that knew domain of nistoriography. They adopted both the how to conciliate the weak with the powerful by name and period which it covered, and designated recommending everywhere and always justice, peace, that histoncal and political period as the Middle respect for duty, and assumed obligations; and it Ages, and from the standpoint of civilization marked was in this way that the papacy laid the corner- as blank the period wnich the philologists had stone of international law, by standing forth as a marked blank from the standpoint of Latinity. bulwark against the pretensions and passions of The unfortunate exchange of terms brought about brutal force" (Guizot, "L'Eglise et la Soci^te," the exchange of viewpoints and confusion of ideas 1861). resulted from the coniusion of words. The Middle Ages enforced the distinction between