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发表于 2009-5-13 17:01:00 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
人民教育出版社历史室 陈 其 编译

Civilizations, Past and Present (14)

The Middle ages

After the "fall" Of Rome, the great classical tradition was carried on for another thousand years without interruption in Constantinople, or "New Rome". Until it fell in 1453 the Byzantine Empire acted as a buffer for Western Europe, staving off attack after attack from the east and projecting its civilization throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.

《古今文明》 (14)



The culminating series of attacks, resulting in the collapse of the empire, was launched by the adherents of Islam--a dynamic way of life developed by the followers of Muhammad, an eloquent prophet who instilled in his people a vital sense of their destiny to rule in the name of Allah. With unbelievable swiftness the followers of the prophet became rulers of Near East, swept across North Africa and surged into Spain, and expanded eastward to the frontiers of China.


The Muslims, the great middlemen of medieval times, shuttled back and forth across vast expanses, trading the wares of East and West and acting as the conveyors of culture, including their own. Throughout most of the Middle Ages the East outshone the West even as Constantinople and Baghdad outdazzled in material magnificence and intellectual and artistic triumphs the capitals of Western Europe.


In Europe, after the decline of the Roman Empire, a painful search for stability began. Centuries of confusion followed until Charlemagne established a new "Roman" Empire.  This ambitious experiment was premature, however, and after its collapse a new system had to be created--one that would offer at least a minimum of security, political Organization and law enforcement. Under this system, called feudalism, the landed nobility acted as police force, judiciary, and army. Crude as it was ,feudalism served to mitigate the chaos that followed the fall of Charlemagne's empire.


Yet the feudalism was inherently rural and   rigid, and by the eleventh century new forces were at work.Shadowy outlines of new kingdom--Germany, England, France, and Spain--began to emerge under directions of vigorous monarchs.  Europe went on the offensive, ejecting the Muslims from the southern part of the Continent, breaking Muslim control of the Mediterranean, and launching crusades to capture Jerusalem from the "infidels". The closed economy of the feudal countryside gave way before the revival of trade and communications, the growth of towns, the increased use of money as a medium of exchange, and the rise of a new class in society—bourgeoisie.



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 楼主| 发表于 2009-5-13 17:01:00 | 显示全部楼层


人民教育出版社历史室 陈 其 编译

Civilizations: Past and Present (13)

Evolution of Roman law

Of the contribution made by the Romans in government, Roman law is one of the most significant. Two great legal systems, Roman law and English common law, still remain the foundation of legal systems in most modern Western nations. Roman law is the basis for the law codes of Italy, France, Scotland, the Latin American countries, and Louisiana. Where English common law is used as in the United States (except in Louisiana), there is also a basic heritage of great legal principles developed by ancient Roman jurists.




Roman law developed slowly over a period of about a thousand years. At first, as in all societies, the law was unwritten custom, handed down from a remote past, and harsh in its judgments. As noted earlier, in the fifth century B. C. E. this law was put in writing in the Law of the Twelve Tables, as the result of the plebeian demand.


During the remainder of the Republic the body of Roman Law (jus civile, “law of the citizen”) was enlarged by legislation passed by the Senate and the assembly and by judicial interpretation of existing law to meet new conditions. By the second century C.E. the emperor had become the sole source of law, a responsibility he entrusted to scholars “skilled in the law” (jusisprudentes). These scholars stuck fast to the principle of equity (“Follow the beneficial interpretation”; “Letter of law is height of injustice:”) and to Stoic philosophy with its concept of “law of nature” (jus naturale)common to all people and assessable by human reasons.

在共和国的最后时期,经过元老院和人民大会通过的立法和为适应新情况对现行法律进行的司法解释,罗马法(jus civile,“公民法”)的主体得到扩展。公元二世纪,皇帝通过把[制定法律]的职责委托给“精通法律的”(jusisprudentes)学者们,而成为法律的唯一来源。这些学者们坚定地恪守平等原则(“遵循有利解释”;“法律的严格字面意义是最大的不公正”),他们还坚守斯多葛哲学中的观念──“自然法”(jus naturale)对所有人是共同的、人类理性能够对其作出评估。

As a result, the power of the father over   the family was weakened, women gained control over their property, and the principle that an accused person was innocent until proven guilty was established. Finally, in the sixth century C.E. the enormous bulk of Roman law from all sources was codified and so preserved for the future.

结果, 父亲对家庭的权力受到削弱, 妇女获得对自己财产的控制权,并确立起证明有罪前被控人无罪的原则。最后,公元六世纪时,出自不同来源的庞大的罗马法内容得到编纂整理,因而为未来保存下来。


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