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The fall of Rome did not, as many contemporaries had expected, preface the end of the world. Rather, it was the end of a world, of a way of life which had characterized the Mediterranean basin for centuries. Amid the ruins of Greco-Roman Civilization, three new civilizations arose in the old imperial territories and their borderlands. One of these new civilizations -- the Western - is our major interest and its first phase -- the medieval -- will here demand our closer attention. The other two -- the Byzantine and the Islamic -- were Eastern and influenced rather than fathered the Western World of today. Therefore, these Eastern civilizations need be treated here only briefly. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section II: Medieval, Political, and Economic Development: Feudalism and Manorialism. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.