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This fascinating lecture focused on Italy as the bridge and dividing line, between the two Europes that emerged from the collapse of Roman power in the West in the Fifth Century AD. It illustrated the influences of the surviving Roman Empire centred at Constantinople (Istanbul) still visible in Italy, but examined the progressive alienation between the two Europes, in language, religion, politics, art and trade, and the creation of a rival concept of ‘Europe’ under Charlemagne; the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches; military attacks from the West against Eastern Christians; and the annexation of the Byzantine Eastern Mediterranean trade and territory by the Italian mercantile powers.

The talk asked, more widely, if a perception of the inferiority of eastern Christian culture still distorts modern attitudes to the countries of the Orthodox world. Can a relationship of mutual respect be established between East and West?

 

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